Raiders

New Raiders cornerback supremely confident, 'here to dominate the league'

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USATSI

New Raiders cornerback supremely confident, 'here to dominate the league'

Rashaan Melvin has the supreme confidence of a No. 1 cornerback, with none of the pedigree. Top cover men are often drafted high, paid well or both, with a steady ascent to elite status.

This undrafted talent bounced around the league without job security, trying and often failing to find NFL footing.

Melvin spent time with Tampa Bay, Miami, Baltimore, New England and Miami again before establishing himself in Indianapolis. The Colts gave him a real shot and he took advantage, evolving into the team’s top cornerback. Last year was Melvin’s best, but it didn’t provide a long-term contract despite a bull market for cover men.

Melvin signed a one-year, $6.5 million deal with the Raiders on Friday, the type of prove-it deal that could establish a big payday down this time next year. The 28-year old doesn’t consider that pressure. Melvin knowns another big year's on the way, one that proves he's an elite cornerback

"I’m here to dominate the league," Melvin said Friday in a conference call. "It might be time for some new faces at the cornerback position. That’s my take on that. I’m excited for it.”

Melvin wouldn’t trade his long road for a conventional path, and believes experience both good and bad has prepared him for a pivotal season.

“I’ve been cut four times,” Melvin said. “I’ve been in four different locker rooms, and I was able to gain my teammates’ trust, my coaches’ trust and the organization’s trust as well. My confidence just grows over time. There are not a lot of players that can say they’ve been cut four times and end up in a situation where I’m at today. Like I said, it’s perfect timing. My work ethic, my style of play and the way I approach the game and the way I approach my job, my business, it speaks for itself.”

Melvin’s work ethic is unquestioned. His reputation as a grinder is well documented, especially after establishing himself in Indianapolis. Commitment to a craft has created a player with consistent coverage and ball skills.

Melvin was excellent last year. According to Pro Football Focus, Melvin created an incomplete pass (combining passes defensed and interceptions) on 23.6 percent of his targets.

Passers had a 60.3 passer rating against him in 2017, with just 29 completions for 328 yards on 55 targets. The passer rating was 86.6 in 2016, his only other season as a regular starter.

The Raiders need that type of player on the outside. They’ve had inconsistent cornerback play (that’s being kind) in recent seasons, and are hoping Melvin provides stability at a key position. The Northern Illinois alum has loftier aspirations, individually and as the leader of a young position group.

“The goal is to be the best player I can be, first-team All-Pro,” Melvin said. “I’m going to show my leadership, help these young guys out this year. They have tons of potential to be successful in their own careers. For me coming in here and being the leader and showing that, hey, this is what it takes to be successful in this football league, that’s what I’m willing to do. That’s what I’m willing to bring to the table. On the football field, but outside as well.”

Paying $6.5 million for all that would be a bargain. Melvin’s the key acquisition in a secondary built around 2016 first-round safety Karl Joseph and 2017 first-round cornerback Gareon Conley. This secondary can be solid if those guys can realize potential and Melvin’s a true No. 1 cornerback.

He considers that title appropriate, and is ready to show he’s more that a one-year wonder. The Raiders have great confidence in Melvin, something clear after targeting him early in the free-agent process. Financing’s always a big factor, but Friday’s meeting with head coach Jon Gruden, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther and secondary coach Derrick Ansley convinced Melvin that Oakland’s a proper fit.

“I can relate to these guys,” Melvin said. “They have big plans for me, big plans for the organization. I was born to be a part of something special; that’s happening in Oakland. It was a good thing. We were able to get everything done, a deal done. I’m just excited to be here and I’m excited to see what the future holds for us as a team and me as a player.”

Raiders could draft present, future help at offensive tackle this week

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AP

Raiders could draft present, future help at offensive tackle this week

Offensive tackles aren’t cheap, especially those featured on the left. The Raiders have paid Donald Penn decent sums in recent seasons to play at a Pro Bowl level, but he won’t be around much longer.

He could call it a career after his contract expires in 2019. The Raiders also need a shorter-term solution at right tackle after trial-and-error in recent years.

That puts offensive tackle firmly in play in the early rounds of this NFL draft. While the Raiders have more pressing needs in 2018, it makes sense to add a right tackle of the present and left tackle of the future right now.

Going young and cheap on the outside seems vital, considering how much center Rodney Hudson and guards Kelechi Osemele and Gabe Jackson are set to make.

Going for a tackle at No. 10 overall shouldn’t be eliminated as a prospect, but it makes more sense to trade down some if targeting an offensive tackle in the first round. Here are some options early, and a smidge later, with the pedigree and talent to be a front-line starter.

Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
-- He’s the consensus top offensive tackle in this NFL draft, and some even have him going to the Raiders at No. 10. Projections have him going all over the first round, but should be available with a trade down from 10. He’s technically sound, with great work ethic and an ability to play on the right and left. Some consider McGlinchey unspectacular, but he’s reliable and fits most any blocking scheme.
Projected round (per NFL.com): 1

Kolton Miller, UCLA
-- Miller’s one of a surprising few expected to go in the first round, and is considered a player with boom-or-bust potential. He has excellent size and power, fully able to pass protect and run block into the second level. He identifies blitzers and surprise rushers quickly and adjusts, analysts say. He doesn’t have great bend and can be vulnerable against power rushers. Opinions vary on Miller’s NFL prospects, but he could be the second tackle off the board.
Projected rounds (per NFL.com): 1-2

Orlando Brown, Oklahoma
-- Brown is an All-American and Outland Trophy finalist with some great college tape, but had a terrible combine that hurt his draft prospects. His athleticism and strength were called into question, and analysts say his quickness is below average. He has great size at 6-foot-8, 360 pounds, but doesn’t have proportional strength. He could be coached up well, and may be a bargain later on Day 2.
Projected rounds (per NFL.com): 2-3

Joseph Noteboom, Texas Christian
The former Horned Frog has solid size (6-5, 319) and strength, with the ability to add more muscle. Analysts say he’s inconsistent, but flashed great talent and athleticism during the combine and the Senior Bowl. He plays well in space, but needs to remain technically sound under pressure. He has all the tools to excel in the pros, especially if paired with a good coach who can develop him quickly.
Projected rounds (per NFL.com): 2-3

Raiders sign talented but troubled ex-Panthers cornerback

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AP

Raiders sign talented but troubled ex-Panthers cornerback

The Raiders signed cornerback Daryl Worley on Monday afternoon, in a move that adds talent and starting experience to the position group.

Worley also comes with baggage. The Philadelphia Eagles released him on April 15 following an incident near the team facility where he was reportedly arrested on suspicion of DUI and was tased by police after becoming confrontational. He was arrested after being found passed out in a vehicle blocking a highway.

He has been charged with six offenses, including DUI, resisting arrest and weapons charges. He has a preliminary hearing scheduled for May 1.

The Eagles let Worley go just weeks after acquiring him in trade from Carolina for receiver Torrey Smith. 

The 23-year old has been a solid player in two seasons since being selected in the third round of the 2016 NFL draft. He has 25 starts to his credit, with 152 tackles, three interceptions and 19 passes defensed in 31 games played.

The West Virginia alum – he played with Karl Joseph in the Mountaineers secondary – could feature prominently among the Raiders top three cornerbacks alongside Gareon Conley and Rashaan Melvin.

Leon Hall and Shareece Wright highlight the team’s backup options.

Worley’s regular-season availability could be in jeopardy. He could face punishment from the NFL in addition to criminal charges. The league could suspend him if found in violation of the league’s substance abuse or personal conduct policies. Time will tell if the league levies punitive action.

This signing should not eliminate the prospect of taking a defensive back high in this NFL draft. Denzel Ward and Minkah Fitzpatrick are considered options at No. 10 overall.