Raiders

NFL Draft 2020: Could Raiders draft, develop Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts?

NFL Draft 2020: Could Raiders draft, develop Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts?

As we wait for the NFL free-agent quarterback dominoes to fall *cough* Tom Brady *cough* -- NFL teams are gathered in Indianapolis to meet with, critique and study the next crop of signal-callers. 

This current group of quarterbacks is top-heavy, with Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow, Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa and Oregon's Justin Herbert all slated to go in the top 10. After that, it's a who's who of hit-and-miss prospects with intriguing skills and huge question marks.

The Raiders aren't viable for the top three. Burrow is bound for the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Raiders shouldn't make the move up for Tagovailoa or Herbert, as talented as they might be. 

That leaves the middle tier of quarterbacks: Polarizing prospects like Utah State's Jordan Love, Georgia's Jake Fromm, Washington's Jacob Eason and Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts.

The Raiders have spoken with Fromm -- who I discussed here -- Love and Hurts.

The Athletic's Vic Tafur reported Wednesday that Hurts had a good meeting with the Raiders and the team is "intrigued by his upside."

Should the Raiders draft Hurts on Day 2 -- when they have three third-round picks -- the selection would be one with an eye on the future, hoping Jon Gruden can develop and mold the Alabama/Oklahoma product into a quarterback who can dominate the new age of the NFL.

During his time in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Norman, Okla., Hurts went 38-4 as a starter. He won the 2016 SEC Offensive Player of the Year award when he led the Crimson Tide to the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Hurts eventually lost his starting job to Tagovailoa at halftime of the 2018 title game.

His only losses were to Deshaun Watson, Burrow, No. 6 Auburn and an upset loss to Kansas State last season. He steadily has improved as a quarterback during his four seasons.

Hurts is the ideal QB for the modern NFL. He has great mobility and will kill teams with his legs if he isn't contained. He's light on his feet, has a strong arm and really improved his deep-ball touch during this last season at Oklahoma under noted quarterback guru Lincoln Riley.

One of Hurts' best traits is his pocket awareness. As if he has eyes in the back of his head, Hurts constantly escapes danger by doing the unthinkable. He's very poised and his ability to extend plays and make something out of nothing is a skill that should be valued. He has all the traits to be a perfect weapon in an RPO-style attack.

He's great on the move as a roll-out passer.

As discussed, the deep-ball was much better at Oklahoma.

The improvisation is a plus.

His legs can be a big weapon.

So, what's not to like?

Hurts still has some growing to do as a passer who can move the ball effectively on NFL defenses. His anticipation at times was lacking and he seemed to have some issues moving off his first read when going through his progressions. While not inaccurate, Hurts sometimes has issues with ball-placement and will need to work on being more precise at the next level.

He also has a tendency to lose his accuracy when facing pressure.

Hurts finished the season throwing for 38 touchdowns, 3,851 yards and eight interceptions.

Some wondered if Hurts would try and switch positions at the next level, but his answer was clear at the combine.

“Yeah you know, I’ve always been a team-first guy,” Hurts said Tuesday. “But I think I’m a quarterback. I think that’s that.”

[RELATED: Raiders should do whatever it takes to draft Isaiah Simmons]

If the Raiders do go into the 2020 season with Derek Carr as their starting quarterback, Hurts could be a nice developmental QB to sit for year or two in order to sharpen his skills.

Some polishing is needed, but Hurts has tremendous upside in today's NFL. The Raiders clearly see that, and a third-round pick would be worth the gamble.

Raiders' Tyrell Williams shares story about racism he faced growing up

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Raiders' Tyrell Williams shares story about racism he faced growing up

Tyrell Williams poured his heart out in an Instagram post Friday.

In a powerful message, the Raiders wide receiver opened up about the racism he dealt with as a mixed-race child growing up in Oregon.

View this post on Instagram

My Mom is white my Dad is black. I grew up in Turner, Oregon which is 95% white. Early in school I remember learning about slavery and civil rights and kids making jokes and saying crazy stuff about me. The school’s solution was to have my dad come and take me on a walk. In middle school I was told I shouldn’t be alive because my parents should have never been together. In middle school kids were either so excited to read the books on civil rights and segregation because they got to say the N word, or they were turning and staring at me when it was my turn to read. In high school I remember being called the N word during multiple football games. Never basketball or track because you’d be able see and hear who said it. In high school I remember white kids telling me I’m not “actually” black anytime black cultural topics are brought up. For me, I felt racism weekly. Walking out of high-school one day to see KKK flyers on all the windshields of the cars. These were just a few of the thousands of incidents of racism early in my life that stuck out. I had an identity crisis growing up not knowing with who or how to fit in. Fortunately I also had great friends who would stick up and stand for the cause. I want to and am going to be an outlet for these kids going thru what I went thru. Im going to have a louder voice in bringing light to the hate. I love my mixed family and friends. I’m thankful for my friends and family who have had the black community’s back, and my friends who had my back growing up and still do today. My Dads life matters My Brothers life matters My Sisters life matters My Niece and Nephew life matters My Cousins and Aunties life matters My Granny and Papas life matters Proverb 6:16-19

A post shared by Tyrell Williams (@tyrellwilliams_) on

"In high school I remember being called the N word during multiple football games," Williams wrote. "Never basketball or track because you’d be able see and hear who said it.

"For me, I felt racism weekly. Walking out of high-school one day to see KKK flyers on all the windshields of the cars."

[RAIDERS TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

In light of George Floyd's death while in police custody in Minnesota nearly two weeks ago, protests have been taking place all over the country.

The call for racial justice has been loud. Athletes aren't remaining quiet. They are sharing their stories with the hope that it will open eyes and change minds.

"I had an identity crisis growing up not knowing with who or how to fit in," Williams wrote. "Fortunately I also had great friends who would stick up and stand for the cause."

[RELATED: Williams confident after 'frustrating' season]

As hard as it might have been for Williams to write his post, the public needed to read it. They need to understand what people in the black community have to go through.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

 

Raiders coaches play waiting game while NFL peers return to facilities

Raiders coaches play waiting game while NFL peers return to facilities

NFL coaches will be allowed to move back into their team facilities beginning Friday, but just when the Raiders’ staff checks into its Henderson headquarters remains to be seen.

Construction of the 335,000-square-foot facility is still being completed, though team officials hope to move into the building this month. Like coaches around the league, the Raiders’ staff has been working remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Moving trucks arrived on Monday to the Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center, the new headquarters, from the previous facility in Alameda, Calif.

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