Jon Gruden, Raiders will coach intriguing wide receivers at Senior Bowl


Jon Gruden, Raiders will coach intriguing wide receivers at Senior Bowl

The Raiders need new receivers, maybe more than one from the 2019 NFL draft class. A positional overhaul is expected and, when looking at a shallow free-agent class at the position, selecting an amateur early and again later on could provide the raw talent needed to improve the Raiders passing game.

Head coach Jon Gruden and staff will work with several up close while coaching the North Team at the Senior Bowl. Here’s a look at who the Raiders will be coaching up during the practice week leading up to the Jan. 26 all-star game in Mobile, Ala.:

Keelan Doss, UC Davis, 6-3, 206
Gruden likes big receivers with solid hands, and this small-school product will be trying to impress a team in his own backyard. The Alameda native had an excellent career with the Aggies, totalling 321 recpetios for 4,069 yards and 28 touchdowns during his four college seasons.

If he impresses the Raiders enough to warrant a selection, Doss could ride a bike to work. Until the Raiders move to Las Vegas, anyway.
Projected: Late-rounds

Emanuel Hall, Missouri, 6-3, 200
The Raider need a vertical threat, and Hall could be one found in the middle rounds. He was a burner with athleticism to spare and a producer over his last two seasons at Missouri, recording 70 receptions for 1,645 yards and 14 touchdowns in that span. He’ll have to show reliable hands and catching ability, even on deep passes, during Senior Bowl week to warrant strong consideration.
Projected: Mid-rounds

Andy Isabella, Massachusetts, 5-10, 195
Isabella isn’t a big guy or terribly physical at the line of scrimmage, but has solid change of direction, grit and finds ways to plays. He could be the shifty, productive slot receiver the Raiders haven’t had recently, so he’s someone to keep an eye. This is another small-school looking to show well on a bigger stage, proving that solid production wasn’t just a product of lesser competition. Analysts say he’s a good route runner who is adept at creating separation.
Projected: Late-rounds

Anthony Johnson, Buffalo, 6-2, 210
Johnson caught 133 passes for 2,367 yards and 25 touchdowns during his two seasons at Buffalo, with a knack for significant yards after the catch. Analysts say he has reliable hands and could be a solid possession receiver. He can play outside and in the slot.
Projected: Late-rounds

Terry McLaurin, Ohio State, 6-1, 205
McLaurin’s a big-school receiver who didn’t break out until his senior year, largely due to a talent logjam at his position. He had 35 catches for 701 yards with 11 touchdowns, averaging 20 yards per catch. Analysts say he’s an NFL-caliber route runner, something Gruden will like if that pans out during the Senior Bowl. He’s an athlete with room to improve, which could make him a developmental prospect.
Projected: Mid-rounds

Jakobi Meyers, N.C. State, 6-2, 203
North Carolina State a prep quarterback to receiver, and the position switch worked out well. He set a school record in 2018 with 92 catches for 1,047 yards in 2018, and has chose to turn pro after that. He can go up and get the ball and has solid hands, which could negate some struggled to create separation.
Projected: Late-rounds

Alex Wesley, Northern Colorado, 6-0, 184
Wesley was simply better than the smaller-school cornerbacks he was facing, and had 112 catches for 2,060 yards and 10 touchdowns over his last two years and North Colorado. He has a track background, and can stretch the field well. Match that will solid ball skills and you have an intriguing prospect worth watching during Senior Bowl week.
Projected: Late-rounds

Derek Carr, relief pitcher? Fresno Grizzlies tweet offer to Raiders QB


Derek Carr, relief pitcher? Fresno Grizzlies tweet offer to Raiders QB

Derek Carr was tied for the NFL's fifth-most accurate quarterback in 2018, finishing the season with a career-high 68.9 percent completion percentage. But can he hit the strike zone?

We might learn the answer to that question as soon as next season.

After a Twitter exchange with the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies on Wednesday night, the Fresno State alum could be in line to come out of the bullpen for the Washington Nationals affiliate.

If it was any sport other than minor-league baseball, we'd be skeptical of the chances. But no promotion is too outlandish during the dog days of summer -- shy of a team pulling an Air Bud. 

Or, the Grizzlies thought they were speaking with Ohio University pitcher Derek Carr.

Perhaps Carr would just want to get ahead of the curve, if a pair of online sportsbooks are to be believed. If the Raiders truly are the favorites to select Kyler Murray in the draft, chasing two-sport stardom is a novel approach from Carr. 

The 27-year-old also was a good sport about rumors surrounding his future in Silver and Black. 

With three first-round picks in this year's draft, maybe Gruden and new general manager Mike Mayock can consult the aspiring GM in their own locker room. 

Senior Bowl: Raiders to coach quality edge rushers, team's biggest need


Senior Bowl: Raiders to coach quality edge rushers, team's biggest need

The Senior Bowl rosters were announced on Wednesday morning, providing a complete look at the North squad the Raiders coaching staff will guide through a practice week and the Jan. 26 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

Prized Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen isn’t on either roster despite a previous commitment to play the Senior Bowl -- he was expected to be on the South squad coached by the 49ers -- a bummer for all sides to be sure.

There are plenty of quality edge rushers on both sides, which will help Jon Gruden, Raiders scouts, and coaches get a close look at their biggest position of need.

Boston College pass rusher Zach Allen headlines the North Squad’s defensive ends and is someone commonly projected to go later in the first round or early in the second.

The Raiders, as a matter of fact, have three draft picks in that window. Their first pick sits at No. 4 overall, followed by 24, 27 and 35.

Mississippi State’s Montez Sweat was assigned to the North team, but the Raiders will still get to scout him in 49ers' run practices and see him play up close.

Most of the coaches’ time will be spent with the North side.

Let’s take a look at edge rusher on that team, which the Raiders will get a long look at this week:

Zach Allen, Boston College, 6-5, 285
Widely considered the top edge prospect on the North squad, Allen has burst and bend to get around tackles and to the quarterback. Analysts say he has a high ceiling and is a scheme-versatile defender. He’s solid against the run who can generate steady pressure. Impressing Raiders coaches could help him end up in silver and black with one of the team’s high picks.
Projected: Early rounds

Charles Omenihu, Texas, 6-6, 275
This big, agile defensive lineman is considered by many to be a top 50 pick, and a solid Senior Bowl week could secure such draft status. He was the best pass rusher in a Big XII not known for defense, but had a breakout senior year with 9.5 sacks. He can be a complete player impactful against the run and pass, without significant weaknesses. He hustles, plays with violence and is explosive. Keep an eye on him all week.
Projected: Early rounds

Jalen Jelks, Oregon, 6-6, 245
Jelks is super fast off the edge, and can use speed to create havoc off the edge. He also has great length, which helps him as a run defender. He isn’t the biggest pass rusher at 245 pounds, and while he’s a powerful player, he has a long way to go in terms of technique. He might be better suited for a 3-4 defense, but the Raiders can determine working with him whether he can fit into their system.
Projected: Early to middle rounds

L.J. Collier, TCU, 6-4, 276
Collier finished his senior season with six sacks and 11.5 tackles for a loss, but is considered a later-round selection due to a lack of explosiveness and lackluster bend and flexibility. Analysts say he’s good taking advantage of poor blocking technique, but that won’t happen much at the NFL level. He should be considered a developmental prospect, though he has the competitive streak to push for continued improvement.
Projected: Late rounds

Byron Cowart, Maryland, 6-4, 293
This top prep recruit bounced around in college, from Auburn to a junior college and finally to Maryland. He has great size and athleticism, but should still be considered a project with a high upside. He must flash during the Senior Bowl to rise up draft boards
Projected: Late rounds

John Cominsky, Charleson 6-5, 275
The Senior Bowl offers small-school projects a chance to shine, and Cominsky must use the practice week to prove he can compete against the big boys. He had 39.5 tackles for a loss in the past two years.
Projected: Late rounds

[RELATED: 49ers, Raiders staffs to coach Senior Bowl]

Here’s the full North roster: