Raiders

Raiders coaches slap stickers on standouts during Senior Bowl victory

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AP

Raiders coaches slap stickers on standouts during Senior Bowl victory

Daniel Jones extended his arm for a handoff, but pulled it back at the last moment. The Duke quarterback was going right but rolled back left, fooling enough defenders to forge an easy path to the end zone.

It capped a 10-play, 84-yard drive and scored the North squad’s first touchdown during Saturday afternoon’s Senior Bowl.

Raiders head coach Jon Gruden was waiting for Jones near the sideline, ready to slap the iconic silver and black shield on his helmet.

Jones wasn’t the only one with a Raiders sticker after a 34-24 victory in the annual college all-star game at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala.

Several NFL draft prospects earned one from the Raiders coaching staff, which led the North squad all week. Some guys -- including Delaware safety Nasir Adderley, UC Davis receiver Keelan Doss, UMass receiver Andy Isabella and Texas edge rusher Charles Omenihu -- got two.

That was an easy way to see which players left a good impression on Raiders coaches in this game, typically deemed less important than the practices leading up to it.

Gruden still thinks the game holds value. Here’s why:

“It will weigh in because it’s full-speed live,” Gruden said Thursday, the last full practice of the week. “When you’re live, that’s the only evaluation that we’re lacking. You can run all the controlled environments you want, but the best evaluation comes in games.”

That’s especially true for running backs, who have easier paths through practice without going to the ground. Notre Dame’s Dexter Williams followed up an excellent week with a solid game effort that included a touchdown run, which is what scouts want to see.

The aforementioned players were solid. South defensive lineman Kingsley Keke of Texas A&M was all over the place early on, and end Jaylon Ferguson got to the quarterback a few times. Mississippi State end Montez Sweat flashed his athleticism on occasion. Both offensive lines had solid moments as well.

[RELATED: Raiders keeping close eye on edge rushers at Senior Bowl]

Jones was the best North squad quarterback, and Adderley had an excellent game including an interception late. 

Scouts will break down Senior Bowl practice and game tape time and again in the coming weeks and months leading up to the NFL draft, trying to find players who can help after turning pro.

That includes the Raiders, who leave with great knowledge of every prospect who played in this game.

“Everybody will tell you they look at the Senior Bowl practice tape, the Senior Bowl game film over and over and over,” Gruden said earlier this week. “You watch the matchups over and over and over.

“I remember doing it with [late Raiders owner/GM Al Davis]. He would put the Senior Bowl on for the 44th time and I would say, ‘how many more times are we going to watch that game?’ There’s tremendous value in it. It’s a great tool, and provides great matchups you would never see if you didn’t come here.”

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

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USATSI

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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USATSI

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.