Raiders

Barring something insanely unforeseen, the Raiders are moving to Vegas

Barring something insanely unforeseen, the Raiders are moving to Vegas

The danger in assuming that Mark Davis has finally won Las Vegas for himself and his creditors is that a lot of people assumed that he had won Los Angeles for himself and his erstwhile partner Dean Spanos a year ago, and we saw what happened there.

Namely, that Davis had to hustle up a new deal a year later.

But the danger in assuming that one piece of treachery aimed at Davis in 2016 automatically means the likelihood of a second is far greater, because there is now something that trumps all other considerations and voting blocs.

There is simply no good reason for any owner to vote no, save a personal or financial animus toward Davis by the league establishment that will never be eradicated. In short, all the ducks have been aligned, all the money has been pronounced clean, Interstates 5 and 15 have been cleared for a 2019 takeoff, and the internal shouting is over.

Allowing for what is about a one percent chance of last-second failure (Davis/market size/sunspots), the Raiders will belong to Las Vegas in three years.

Raider fans may now commence their outrage – if they have enough left to give after such a protracted process and in the face of an owner so determined to go that he’s been working the angle for a minimum of three years. At some point, righteous anger can no longer withstand the might of inevitability.

And amazingly, Mark Davis doing a deal that would pass the muster of 31 much richer men who hold him in barely tolerable esteem is some feat.

There were always lots of reasons to think Vegas couldn’t happen, starting with Davis’ richly merited reputation for amiable inertia, then proceeding through his relatively low regard among his fellow owners, minimal wealth by NFL standards, Las Vegas’ principal industry, not to mention Oakland’s tradition and superior market size.

Well, to his credit (or blame, depending on your point of view), he has ticked off all those boxes. Having been slapped down so aggressively by the league when he wanted to split Los Angeles with Spanos and the Chargers, he was told to make a better deal, and did. Every time he erected an obstacle to his own success, he somehow cleared it, or knew the right people to remove it for him. He even managed to cut off his own avenue of retreat with the help of the City of Oakland, and he can now present to the owners the following proposal.

- I got the money to move.
- I got the right kind of money to satisfy you all, as in no obvious traceable casino money.
- I can’t stay in Oakland because you repeatedly told Oakland its deal was dead on the ground.
- In short, I have to leave because I can’t stay, and I have answered every one of your objections to leaving.

And because of all that, there is no longer a forseeably viable way to get nine votes to stop him.

Oh, there is still a case to be made that the Raiders will be giving up half of the sixth-largest television market for the 40th, but that’s a microscopic rebuttal to $1.4 billion in state and bank money for a stadium that quite possibly will cost less that the sticker of $1.9 billion.

And whether you believe that Davis orchestrated this brilliant slalom from failure in Los Angeles through the landmine of Sheldon Adelson’s involvement and Nevada state politics, the noisy but necessary divorce from Adelson and the reassembly of the deal through the graces of Bank of America, or whether partners, friends and fortune just smiled on him throughout, it must still be acknowledged that he took the humiliation of a year ago and turned it into what seems to be for him a triumph in slightly more than a year.

But to be thorough, let’s line up the help he got.

- Oakland’s decision not to present a stadium plan to the league that the league could use to hammer the city in perpetuity. Dealing with the NFL is typically a perilous move for cities, and Oakland’s unwillingness to knuckle under to its demands is a statement about fiscal prudence most cities cannot make.
- Adelson’s work in helping drive the process by which the $750 million hotel tax passed through the Nevada state house in Carson City.
- Bank of America, which stepped forward, almost certainly with some league prodding, to replace Adelson, who was a deal-breaker in the minds of the owners who did not want him as a part of the league.
- The NFL’s horrendous misplay of the Los Angeles market by picking the Rams as the only franchise and then being forced to accept the Chargers a year later even as the softness of the market was being exposed.
- The NFL ownership finance committee, which saw no obvious holes in the financing as well as an avenue toward making their own shares of the perceived Vegas windfall.
- Las Vegas’ ability to recast itself to the owners as a lucrative financial center as well as a gateway to foreign money that few other open cities can claim.

All those factors aligned to make the Raiders and Vegas make sense to the 31 men who decide what cities get to have pro football and what cities do not. Barring something genuinely and insanely unforeseen between now and the day of the vote, Mark Davis has won the approval of those who have always viewed him with the greatest skepticism.

And Oakland loses the Raiders for a second time, a year after they seemed they would be Oakland’s for decades to come.

NFL mock draft 2019: Raiders can rebuild with three first-round picks

NFL mock draft 2019: Raiders can rebuild with three first-round picks

The Raiders can take their first steps into the future beginning Thursday.

That's because they'll have three selections in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The Silver and Black finished 4-12 a season ago, and have plenty of holes to fill on their roster.

They'll have the opportunity to do so early in Mike Mayock's first draft as Raiders general manager, as they currently have more first-round picks than any other team in the league. That's the upside of trading former first-round picks Khalil Mack (Chicago Bears) and Amari Cooper (Dallas Cowboys), making the bitter pill of seeing both play instrumental roles as in their new teams' respective playoff pushes.

[RELATED: Top draft prospects enjoyed meeting Raiders staff on visits]

The Raiders need plenty of help on both sides of the ball, but where do they begin in the second draft of the second Jon Gruden era? Here's what experts from around the country are projecting in their mock drafts, starting with our own Scott Bair and Matt Maiocco.

Scott Bair and Matt Maiocco, NBC Sports Bay Area
No. 4: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
No. 24: Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
No. 27: Rock Ya-sin, CB, Temple

What Bair said on Oliver: "This likely becomes a trade-down scenario for the Silver and Black, but they should be content to take a versatile, dynamic defensive lineman with interior pass-rush ability that teams covet. Oliver has drawn Aaron Donald comparisons, and the Raiders would be thrilled to add a talent who can create havoc from several different techniques up front even if he doesn’t reach Donald-like heights."

What Bair said on Jacobs: "Jacobs is the best running back in this draft, a do-it-all talent who should fit well in Jon Gruden’s offense. He’s a solid interior runner and receiver, with a willingness to protect the passer."

What Bair said on Ya-sin: "He’s physical, competitive as heck and makes plays on the ball. That’s a fit for what the Raiders want in the secondary."

Peter King, NBC Sports
No. 4 overall: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
No. 21 overall (Oakland trades Nos. 24 and 106 to Seattle): Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
No. 27 overall: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

What King said on Williams: "Since the Raiders have a crying need at tackle—their top-rated DT was not in the top 50 of the 2018 Pro Football Focus DT rankings—Jon Gruden, who has ultimate say in Oakland, will greenlight this pick, and GM Mike Mayock gladly will take Williams here as the first pick of his NFL GM career."

What King said on Jacobs: "The Raiders would have to move only three spots ahead to make it happen, and probably wouldn’t have to denude its mid-round picks to do so. ... I met with Jacobs last week, by the way. Delightful fellow. Hungry to be a great NFL player, and he’s a versatile back too. Jon Gruden could turn him into a 1,700-total-yard back as a rookie."

What King said on Baker: "Touchdowns allowed in coverage over his last two college seasons: zero. He might drive defensive coordinator Paul Guenther crazy with his practice habits, but his game production, at least in college, made up for that."

The Washington Post
No. 4: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
No. 24: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
No. 27: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

What they said on Oliver: "The Raiders could opt to take Josh Allen to improve their edge rush, but Oliver is too intriguing as an Aaron Donald-like disruptive force in the middle of their defensive line."

What they said on: "Jon Gruden would be able to allow Haskins some time to adjust to the NFL, given the presence of incumbent starter Derek Carr."

What they said on Fant: "They need a tight end to replace Pro Bowl selection Jared Cook, and the combination of Ed Oliver, Dwayne Haskins and Fant would represent an A-plus first round for Oakland."

NFL.com
No. 4: Ed Oliver, Houston, DT
No. 24: Josh Jacobs, Alabama, RB
No. 27: Darryl Savage, Maryland, S

What they're saying on Oliver: "It wouldn't shock me if [Ohio State quarterback] Dwayne Haskins is the pick, but the Raiders are desperate for pass-rush help and Oliver can help them in that area."

What they're saying on Jacobs: "The question is, do they take Jacobs here or do they wait and find a back in the middle rounds, where there's still value?"

What they're saying on Savage: "There are a bunch of teams picking late in the first round that are looking at safeties, and I think Savage will find his home in this range."

Miami Herald
No. 4: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
No. 24: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
No. 27: Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State

What they're saying on Quinnen Williams: "Jon Gruden’s D produced a meager 13 sacks last season (next lowest team total was 30), and in Williams they get a guy who could be the next Aaron Donald."

What they're saying on Greedy Williams: "The one knock on Williams is he likes to avoid contact. But you know Jon “Chucky” Gruden thinks he can coach toughness into somebody, right?"


Read more here:https://www.miamiherald.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/greg-cote/article229536799.html#storylink=cpy
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What they're saying on Campbell: "Oakland’s third first-round pick was gotten from Dallas in the Amari Cooper trade. Fittingly, they target that same position here with a guy whose sprinter’s speed, big-play potential and return ability make him a sleeper prize."

NFL Draft: Josh Jacobs could replace Marshawn Lynch on Raiders

NFL Draft: Josh Jacobs could replace Marshawn Lynch on Raiders

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Marshawn Lynch's reported retirement was something that caught the attention of the top running back in the NFL draft.

“That’s crazy,” Alabama running back Josh Jacobs said on Wednesday. “He’s a legend. He's someone I definitely look up to, on and off the field.”

If the Raiders running back steps away for good, his career will end with 10,379 yards and 84 touchdowns rushing. He added another 2,214 yards of total offense with his receiving numbers, which includes nine touchdowns during his 11-season career.

“I like the effort he put into the game,” Jacobs said. “He runs like it means more than just football. He’s not complacent with just being in the league. He wants to go down as one of the greatest ever, and he brings that attitude to the game. Also, he keeps it fun.”

It is not out of the question the Raiders could tab Jacobs to replace Lynch. In addition to the No. 4 overall pick, the Raiders also have first-round selections at Nos. 24 and 27 – a fact with which Jacobs was already familiar.

“I don’t really think about it too much, I just let it play out," Jacobs said of the possibility of the Raiders selecting him on Thursday in the first round.

Jacobs (5-foot-10, 220 pounds) averaged 5.9 yards per rushing attempt during his three seasons at Alabama while sharing the duties with a talented group of backs during his time in college. Last season, Jacobs rushed for 640 yards and 11 touchdowns while adding 20 receptions for 247 yards and three touchdowns.

Although he did not make a pre-draft visit to Alameda, Jacobs said he had a lot of contact over the past couple months with coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock. He met with them at the NFL Scouting Combine, and has been in regular contact via phone.

[RELATED: Raiders watch Jacobs at Alabama Pro Day]

Jacobs said he can envision himself fitting into the Raiders’ offense, going along with quarterback Derek Carr and an improved group of wide receivers, which now includes Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams.

“They already have a great quarterback and, obviously, they’ve added some great additions at receiver,” Jacobs said. “So it’s about putting those little pieces together. It’s about fine-tuning things at this point. I feel like they’re a couple of games away from being great. They’re definitely going to make that step this year.”