Raiders

Quinnen Williams ready to compete for No. 1 pick in 2019 NFL Draft

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Quinnen Williams ready to compete for No. 1 pick in 2019 NFL Draft

Quinnen Williams could be a real asset for the Raiders defense if they select him No. 4 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft. The Alabama defensive lineman wowed at the University of Alabama, and showed great athleticism and elusiveness for someone so big.

There’s real doubt Williams (6-foot-4, 289 pounds) will make it to the fourth pick. He could go as high as No. 1 overall if he supports a dominant 2018 season with excellent work in the pre-draft process.

The Arizona Cardinals, 49ers and New York Jets all sit above the Raiders and could use a defensive lineman or pass rusher, and Williams could well be that guy. In fact, most mock draft have him going in the top 3.

Williams, however, believes he should be the first player taken, even with fellow elite defensive linemen Ohio State’s Nick Bosa, Kentucky’s Josh Allen and Michigan’s Rashan Gary in the field.

“I’m a humble kid, so I never thought about going No. 1 or No. 2 overall in the draft.” Williams said during a Wednesday appearance on NFL Network. “I’m just blessed to be in the draft in general, and I’m blessed to be mentioned with those guys. I was with Josh Allen at some awards shows, and I’ve seen Bosa highlights and he’s a great player.

"I’m a great player also, and I’m a very hard worker. My IQ level for football is through the roof, and I believe I can compete for that position and become the No. 1 pick if I crush the combine and do what I have to do.”

[RELATED: How Jon Gruden, Mike Mayock could use Raiders' picks]

Williams was awesome for Alabama last season in his only year as a starter, recording 71 tackles, including 19.5 for a loss, eight sacks and a pass defensed.

The Birmingham, Ala. native is training in Los Angeles right now, prepping for the NFL Pro Scouting Combine at the next of this month. He’ll have a pro day at Alabama after that, likely the final showcase before the NFL draft.

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

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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.”

[RELATED: Flacco trade could impact Raiders, 49ers in NFL draft]

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

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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.

[RELATED: Should Raiders pursue Antonio Brown trade with Steelers?]

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.