Sharpe's size, on-field attitude mesh well with Raiders offensive line

Sharpe's size, on-field attitude mesh well with Raiders offensive line

David Sharpe is a massive individual, yet his 6-foot-6, 343-pound frame fits right into a hulking Raiders offensive line. This year’s fourth-round pick has the size to join one of the NFL’s best fronts. Does he have the nastiness position coach Mike Tice demands?

“Oh, definitely,” Sharpe said last week.

That’s a positive sign for the future. The Raiders don’t really need him right away. The line features Pro Bowlers Donald Penn, Kelechi Osemele, Rodney Hudson and top talent Gabe Jackson. There’s an open competition at right tackle Sharpe could enter, though it’s possible he remains the backup left tackle while Marshall Newhouse, Austin Howard and Vadal Alexander duke it out for that starting spot.

Sharpe must continue development to be NFL ready. Tice and Sharpe’s peer group are great resources to aid that mission. Penn reached out to the Florida alum shortly after he was drafted to offer encouragement. Sharpe, after all, could be his heir apparent. Penn is entering a contract year uncertain how much longer he wants to play despite excellent production the last few years.

Sharpe finds himself in a great spot to learn and plans to take advantage of the advice aimed his way.

“Definitely ready to (work) under Donald Penn and try to learn a lot of things from him and those guys,” Sharpe said. “It’s a great room and a great coach and I’m definitely looking forward to getting started and getting to work.”

Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio had a head start on Sharpe entering the draft. The young lineman is from Jacksonville – Del Rio coached there from 2003-11 – and met Sharpe and his family during that time.

“I’m very familiar with him as a young man. We look forward to working with him,” Del Rio said. “He’s a big, talented guy. We think he can play either side. Again, much like we’re doing with all of these guys, they’re going to get a chance to come in and compete and earn their way. We’re looking forward to getting started with him. He’s a big man. He has really good feet. We think his best football is in front of him.”

Del Rio said reports of blurry vision in his right eye aren’t of concern, and that Sharpe can play both tackle spots despite playing almost exclusively on the left as an amateur. Sharpe believes a transition to the right is doable without much difficulty.

“It’s not very hard,” Sharpe said. “I played a little bit of both at Florida in practice and things like that so I’m used to it. Just switch up the feet a little bit, different movements. It’s not that bad.”

Raiders retain E.J. Manuel, now have four QBs on the roster


Raiders retain E.J. Manuel, now have four QBs on the roster

The Raiders have a lot of quarterbacks under contract, certainly more than they’ll have come September.

That means the battle to be Derek Carr’s backup should be fierce. EJ Manuel had that title last year, with a shot to retain it after re-signing with the club on Thursday afternoon.

Veteran Josh Johnson signed up Monday, and those two will join third-year man Connor Cook behind Carr on the depth chart.

New head coach Jon Gruden loved Cook coming out of the draft, but the Michigan State alum failed to earn the backup job last season and must make a move up the depth chart to kickstart his career.

Manuel has a strong arm and starting experience, making him a steady and solid backup option. He completed 24-of-43 passes for 265 yards, a touchdown and an interception in two games when Carr was hurt.

Johnson might be a camp arm at this point, though he’ll be given a chance to compete this spring and summer.

Carr has been hurt for at least a small stretch in each of the last two seasons. Having Manuel in that spot might offer stability.

Gruden addressed last year’s backup quarterbacks last month at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Gruden on Manuel: “I think EJ is a young, talented guy,” Gruden said. “He’s been in the facility working out on his own every day. There is a bright upside to him, too, as a young quarterback to keep working with. He’s a free agent, but the Philadelphia Eagles proved that’s a pretty damn important position, isn’t it? Right? So we have to address that and see where we are.”

Gruden on Cook: “I am kind of surprised Connor hasn’t played in two years, other than the playoff game he got in as a rookie. After Derek got hurt last year, they turned the ball to EJ. I don’t know where Connor Cook is. I am frustrated right now that I can’t spend any time with him, but, April 9th (when the Raiders offeseason program starts) will be an exciting day for me and Connor Cook.”

Raiders sign tackle Breno Giacomini


Raiders sign tackle Breno Giacomini

The Raiders need help at right tackle, the lone vacancy along their offensive line. They signed a veteran presence on Thursday afternoon, adding 32-year old Breno Giacomini as the frontrunner to join the starting five.

He has 86 starts in 94 career games, and has been a full-time starter three of the last four years. Giacomini spent 2017 in Houston and the previous three seasons with the New York Jets.

He was a Seattle Seahawk before that, working with Raiders offensive line coach Tom Cable for three of his four years there. Cable gave Giacomini his first chance to start in the second half of 2011, and held the post through 2012.

The bond between the two is clearly strong, considering what Giacomini tweeted shortly after Cable got fired in Seattle.

Coach and player will reunite, hoping to provide steadiness on the right side of the Raiders offensive line.

He’ll compete for a starting spot with Vadal Alexander, second-year pros David Sharpe and Jylan Ware and possibly a drafted player. Giacomini should be considered the favorite unless the Raiders use an early pick on an offensive lineman.

Giacomini has plenty of starts, but his Pro Football Focus numbers aren’t pretty. The analytics says he allowed nine sacks, eight quarterback hits and 64 pressures with Houston last year. He had some decent years under Cable, and a return to that form might push him into the starting lineup for good. Time will tell on that front.