Raiders

Justin Herbert has 'Al Davis arm,' but does he have Raiders' attention?

Justin Herbert has 'Al Davis arm,' but does he have Raiders' attention?

Any questions evaluators might have had about Justin Herbert were put to bed during last week's NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

The Oregon Ducks star showed off his overall athleticism with a 4.68 40-yard dash, 35.5 inch vertical and a 4.46 20-yard shuffle. He then dazzled with his arm talent, dropping dimes and throwing BBs all over Lucas Oil Stadium.

I've discussed Herbert's fit with the Raiders. While I don't think it's worth it for the Raiders to move up and take him, he does have the arm talent to take Jon Gruden's offense to the next level and "let it fly."

Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Dallas Cowboys vice president of player personnel Gil Brandt thinks Herbert is a guy late Raiders owner Al Davis would have been head over heels for.

“Huge upside. He’s got an Al Davis arm. Al would love him," Brandt told NBC Sports' Peter King.

Herbert does have a massive arm and showed he can make all the throws on time at the combine while working with receivers he had little chemistry with. The 6-foot-6 gunslinger's detractors will look at his inconsistent play during his time in Eugene, Ore., as proof that he's a risky pick in the top 10.

Herbert came to the Ducks as an unheralded local recruit. He took over as starter midway through his freshman season, which was Oregon's worst season in two decades. After coach Mark Helfrich and the entire staff were fired, Herbert thrived in Willie Taggart's Gulf Coast Offense during his sophomore season when he was allowed to utilize his legs as well as his arm.

Taggart then left after one season for Florida State, leaving Herbert with his third head coach, third offensive coordinator and third scheme in three seasons. Transitioning from Taggart's Gulf Coast Offense to Mario Cristobal's power-run and pistol-centric attack certainly hampered Herbert's development as a quarterback. The offense became predicated on quick-hitting passes and didn't allow Herbert to showcase his arm strength down the field often. The Ducks also lacked dynamic playmakers on the outside, putting the onus on Herbert to fit the ball into tight windows over and over again.

When the Ducks did open it up, Herbert shined, as was evident in their thrashing of USC. Check out some of these throws highlights below.

And 50 yards on a rope.

Herbert was put at a disadvantage by the amount of turnover during his developmental years, but he still managed to make jaw-dropping plays and lead the Ducks to a Rose Bowl championship in his senior season.

He has a bazooka for an arm, can beat you with his legs (see: Rose Bowl) and has the ability to make all the throws. He'll need to get better making throws under pressure and show he lead an NFL locker room, but the pros far outweigh the cons.

There's no doubt Davis would love Herbert's arm and upside.

It's also hard to imagine Gruden watching the tape and the workout and not imagining what he could do with Herbert's skill set.

[RELATED: Simmons, Hurts lead combine winners Raiders should target]

The Raiders have plenty of needs outside of quarterback. They need to address their wide receivers and their linebackers and are positioned to do so with two first-round picks. But Herbert put a lot of questions to bed with back-to-back eye-opening performances at the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine.

Trading up for Herbert isn't the Raiders' Plan A or probably even their Plan B. But don't be surprised if Gruden's plans change.

To win in the NFL, you need a dynamic quarterback who can win games with his arm and his legs. Herbert can do that.

He should have Gruden and the Raiders' attention now.

Why versatile rookie Lynn Bowden could be Raiders’ secret weapon

Why versatile rookie Lynn Bowden could be Raiders’ secret weapon

Word of warning to anyone wondering how the Raiders are preparing to utilize rookie Lynn Bowden this season: Don’t bother asking him. He isn’t at liberty to say.

“I’m really not permitted to speak about that right now,” Bowden said while taking a break from the Raiders virtual OTA’s.

The mum’s the word response wasn’t relayed out of anger or deceit. The outgoing Bowden can’t wait to get on the field in his first NFL season and is beyond excited to help the Raiders anyway he can. He’s open and frank about all that and doesn’t mind expressing it one bit.

Read more on Las Vegas Review-Journal

Trayvon Mullen has Drew Brees, Saints on bulletin board after comments

Trayvon Mullen has Drew Brees, Saints on bulletin board after comments

The New Orleans Saints' visit to Las Vegas on September 21 already was set to be a marquee game in the NFL with the Raiders set to debut Allegiant Stadium for the first time on "Monday Night Football."

The matchup with Drew Brees got another layer Wednesday after the Saints quarterback said he still saw players who kneel during the national anthem to protest police violence as "disrespecting the flag." Brees' comments came while millions of citizens across the country protest police brutality in the wake of George Floyd's death in police custody. Brees posted a photo on Instagram supporting the Black Lives Matter movement Tuesday and then promptly showed he still didn't understand why former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started taking a knee during the national anthem back in 2016.

As Brees' comments circulated, Raiders cornerback Trayvon Mullen made it known he's looking forward to facing Brees now more than ever with offensive tackle Trent Brown echoing the feeling.

Brees offered an apology for his "insensitive" comments Thursday saying he "missed the mark." While some have accepted Brees' apology, many around the NFL and sports world saw it as an apology for being dragged mercilessly on Twitter and television and not for his actual statement.

The conversation around Kaepernick's protest and taking a knee during the anthem has been reignited after Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, died in police custody after Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes. A video showed Floyd telling Chauvin and three other officers who were watching that he couldn't breathe and asking for Chauvin to let up. It was later announced Floyd had died in police custody. Chauvin was arrested and has been charged with second-degree murder, third-degree muder and second-degree manslaughter. The three other officers were arrested Wednesday and have been charged with aiding and abetting in both cases.

Kaepernick started taking a knee during the national anthem in 2016 as a way to protest police brutality and systemic racism. He chose to take a knee in protest after a discussion with Nate Boyer, a former Green Beret, because he wanted to make sure he was protesting in a respectful manner. Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since 2016.

Citizens have marched in protests in cities across American since Floyd's death, looking to put an end to police brutality and systemic racism. A number of NFL players have spoken out since Floyd's death, with Raiders quarterback Derek Carr vowing to no longer stick to sports as he tries to unite people.

[RELATED: Littleton, Kwiatkoski vital to Raiders' defensive renaissance]

Brees' comments drew warranted criticism from across the sports world, with fans, peers and teammates all chiming in to tell Brees how wrong he was on the issue of kneeling in protest during the national anthem.

The Raiders need to get off to a fast start in order to breathe life into a push for the playoffs. Brees has owned the Raiders in his career, but the Silver and Black added a lot of talent to a defense that ranked 31st in DVOA last year. A defense that will be led by a rising star corner in Mullen, who has this game circled.

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