Delaware's Nasir Adderley improved draft stock under Raiders' tutelage


Delaware's Nasir Adderley improved draft stock under Raiders' tutelage

Raiders coaches recognized excellent Senior Bowl efforts by sticking their team’s logo on a player’s helmet. Most were earned with excellent play on the Jon Gruden-led North squad.

Three were given before Saturday’s game, and former Delaware safety Nasir Adderley got one. It subbed for a captain’s “C,” acknowledging great leadership and play during Senior Bowl practices.

It was proof Adderley had an impressive week in Mobile, Ala. during this annual NFL draft showcase. He entered the game with one Raiders sticker. He left with three.

A late interception helped increase his total following a strong game that capped a solid week and surely increased his draft stock.

“He can play safety, nickel and maybe even some cornerback out there,” Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther said. “He has good feet. He’s smart. He attacks the ball well. He has done a good job for us.”

Adderley could do a good job for Guenther’s defense full-time, though the Raiders might have to use a late first-round pick or an early second-rounder to secure his services.

“It would be incredible,” Adderley said. “Anybody drafting me would be a blessing, after all the hard work over the years. It would be nice to see it manifest.

“I want to be someone they can trust, someone who is reliable. I want to be someone who can move around, and isn’t limited by anything. I’m looking to go out there and be the best me.”

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Adderley was awesome at Delaware. He played cornerback his first two years, rotated between free safety and slot corner as a junior and played deep full-time as a senior.

He had nine interceptions and a forced fumble his last two years at Delaware, and hasn’t been weighed down by a small-school stigma to this point in the pre-draft process.

“Coming from where I went to school, there’s a frequent question I’m getting: ‘Do I have a chip on my shoulder?’” Adderley said. “I’m confident in my ability. If I do all the little things I’m supposed to do and focus on my coaching and my technique, I’m going to be just fine.”

Adderley was a big-school talent coming out of Great Valley High near Philadelphia, but created some roadblocks going to a major college program.

“That was on me,” Adderley said. “I had an interesting recruiting process. I struggled academically. I was young and immature. I didn’t understand the importance of academics, and then I got a rude wake up call. I had a good junior season (in high school), and I had dream FBS schools come to talk to me. Day after day, I was told those schools would love to have me but they couldn’t offer me because they didn’t know I was going to clear (academic standards).

“I just had to grind. Then, come senior year, I ended up on honor roll and FCS schools started to realize that. FBS schools started to realize that after I committed to Delaware, they started coming back.”

Wake Forest made a scholarship offer late. Syracuse invited him on a recruiting visit. Adderley stood by his Delaware commitment, and it hasn’t hurt him at all.

He should be one of the top safeties selected in this year’s NFL draft, and brings the versatility the Raiders covet. They also need someone who can play free safety and be a ball hawk in the back, something Adderley’s role model Earl Thomas does as well as anyone.

He won’t rest on laurels after a strong Senior Bowl, and will continue to push and prove himself at every stage of the NFL’s pre-draft process.

“I never take my foot off the gas,” Adderley said. “Someone’s always working. I want to be one of the best to ever do it, so I’m not going to settle. I’m moving on to the next chapter. I’m thankful to have had a good college career, but I’m ready to make a difference.”

Raiders, 49ers less affected by Jaylon Ferguson's NFL Scouting Combine ban


Raiders, 49ers less affected by Jaylon Ferguson's NFL Scouting Combine ban

The Raiders and 49ers have already spent significant time with Jaylon Ferguson during the pre-NFL-draft process.

The Senior Bowl provided both teams an opportunity to evaluate him up close during an intense practice week and the college all-star game itself. The Louisiana Tech edge rusher worked with the 49ers-led South squad, which spent part of one day with North coaches from the Raiders.

“(The Senior Bowl) is a great opportunity because both teams coaching here are looking for pass rushers,” Ferguson said early in the Senior Bowl week. “I feel like I’m one of the top pass rushers in this class, and I get my chance to show that I’m coachable and that I can rush the passer.”

Ferguson’s right. The Raiders and 49ers need help off the edge, and the NCAA’s all-time sack leader can certainly rush the passer. Ferguson also had a chance to showcase that quality, his work ethic and character working with the Bay Area teams at the Senior Bowl, something that will prove harder to do with others after getting his NFL Scouting Combine invite revoked.

Ferguson was disinvited after a background check turned up a simple battery conviction that disqualified him from combine participation, per NFL rules. According to NFL Network, the league told clubs that players wouldn’t be invited if they had prior convictions involving violence.

Ferguson's incident was not news to those working with him at the Senior Bowl.

Missing the combine is a major blow to Ferguson, a smaller-school talent hoping to show he has the tools to compete with top competition. He also planned to use the combine to show he has grown from past mistakes.

The NFL’s decision was unpopular around the league and with Ferguson’s agency, STL Sports Group, which issued this statement Thursday morning:

“We disagree with the NFL’s position with regards to Jaylon Ferguson. Jaylon is a great person who made a mistake 4 years ago before he started playing college football. He was involved in a scuffle that resulted in him being charged with misdemeanor simple battery. He received a deferred judgment and $189.00 fine, A Proper punishment for a fight between two teenagers. Since that day Jaylon has been a fine and upstanding student-athlete that personifies the things we are trying to teach our young people today. The past four years at Louisiana Tech Jaylon has been a team leader who has led on and off the field clearly learning from the lessons of his past. As opposed to penalizing and vilifying the future players of the league, we would hope the league would allow Jaylon and other similarly situated players the opportunity to prove to potential employers that they are remorseful, and have learned from their mistakes, accepted responsibility, want to be good role models and are better people now for it. No person is perfect, and people are entitled to second chances and opportunities and one would hope the NFL as an open-minded Industry Leader, Diverse League and Business would want to see the best in their players, educate them and help them mature, learn and be better people.”

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Ferguson will still have opportunities to speak with teams during private facility visits and show physical skill at Louisiana Tech’s pro day.

That will be important after missing combine drills, so he can prove similar to a role model the Raiders drafted and the 49ers tried to acquire via trade.

“I model my game after Khalil Mack,” Ferguson said at the Senior Bowl. “He’s an aggressive guy who can transfer speed to power and is a big, strong man. That’s my game right there.”

Raiders, Oakland Coliseum re-engaged in lease discussions for 2019


Raiders, Oakland Coliseum re-engaged in lease discussions for 2019

OAKLAND – The Raiders have re-engaged in talks to play the 2019 season at the Oakland Coliseum. The Silver and Black abandoned them back in December, when the city of Oakland sued the Raiders and the NFL for antitrust violations and breach of contract.

The Raiders took a $7.5 million lease extension offer off the table after the lawsuit was filed, and began exploring other venues to play one final season before relocating to Las Vegas in 2020.

The Silver and Black returned to the table late last week, Coliseum Authority executive chairman Scott McKibben told NBC Sports Bay Area on Tuesday afternoon. McKibben characterized talks as meaningful and productive, and he is set to address the Coliseum Authority's board of commissioners in a closed session on Friday at 8:30 a.m.

A Raiders official did not immediately return a text seeking comment.

The Raiders were previously engaged in discussions with the San Francisco Giants to play next season at Oracle Park. Those talks produced an agreement in principle that was never executed.

The 49ers would not waive their territorial rights to the city of San Francisco, given to them specifically in the NFL’s bylaws. The NFL had some say in the matter, though a source told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco that unanimous vote of NFL owners would have been required to allow the Raiders to play there.

The Raiders have long said they were exploring options in the Bay Area and other markets, but the team seemed to prefer a local choice while continuing to practice at their Alameda training facility.

Oakland Coliseum wasn’t preferable due to the legal action, and owner Mark Davis voiced dislike for Levi’s Stadium – an NFL venue built to house two teams – even before the Raiders’ relationship with the 49ers grew cold.

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While the Raiders still don’t have a home venue, a decision could come soon. The team’s 2018 lease with Oakland Coliseum ends on Wednesday, so the Coliseum Authority hoped to have some clarity on the Raiders' intentions.

A return to the table is a significant move, especially considering the sides had previously discussed a lease extension. That said, it doesn’t necessarily lock down a pact. There’s work yet to be done in that regard.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said during Super Bowl week that he hopes a resolution on the Raiders home venue will come in February, so the league can schedule the 2019 season.