Raiders

Raiders Day 3 2018 NFL Draft Tracker

Raiders Day 3 2018 NFL Draft Tracker

Day 3 of the NFL Draft is fast furious. Keep track of who the Raiders add to their roster right here.

NICK NELSON
College: Wisconsin
Height: 5-foot-11
Weight: 200 pounds
Selection: Fourth round (No. 110 overall)
Scouting report: Nelson is regarded as a solid cover man, despite the fact he didn’t have an interception in college. He had more than 40 passes defensed -- he had 21 last year -- so his ball skills are pretty good. Analysts say he’s a hard worker who works well as a press corner. He can be grabby, but that tendency can be coached out of him. Nelson is dealing with an injury suffered in a private workout. He required surgery on his meniscus, per NFL Network, but didn’t have a full repair and will miss six weeks. Nelson has experience ss a punt returner, including score in that role. 
Projected role: His knee issue could keep him out most of the offseason program, which will hinder his early development but certainly shouldn’t count as a major deal. He should compete for snaps with a host of other cornerbacks, though the Raiders don’t need him to step in and play right away if Gareon Conley is healthy, Rashaan Melvin lives up to his billing and Daryl Worley is in good standing with the league. Others will be fighting for time as well, including Shareece Wright, Leon Hall, Dexter McDonald and Antonio Hamilton.
Quotable: “I feel like I would have been a late first, early second if not for the injuries based on my talent."
-- Nelson, on how injuries impacted his draft status
Quotable: “It was only a six-week process. This is my second one so about four more weeks. I'll be good to go in the summer. By fall camp, I'll be 100 percent."
-- Nelson, on his rehab timetable

MAURICE HURST
College: Michigan
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 292 pounds
Selection: Fifth round (No. 140 overall)
Scouting report: Hurst is this draft’s best interior pass rusher. Period. You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone arguing that point. This first-round talent plummeted down the draft board due to a heart condition that got him sent home from the NFL scouting combine. He was cleared to participate in his pro day, and flashed tremendous skill supported by excellent game tape. Hurst visited the Raiders a few weeks ago, and their doctors must’ve cleared him medically to keep him on the draft board. If he proves healthy, this is a straight steal in the fifth round.
Projected role: Hurst should compete to be the team’s starting three technique remains healthy and able to play. He hasn’t missed a game due to his illness, and will be a frontrunner to start and play significant snaps at a vital spot along the defensive line. Paul Guenther’s defense thrives with a solid interior pass rush. Hurst could provide that, and could help divert attention from Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin off the edge.
Quotable: “It’s tough going into this thinking you’re one of the top players in the draft and just having to wait. You think you’re better than people that go ahead of you, and that’s tough. But I’m happy to be in a good fit, with the right organization." 
-- Hurst, on dropping in the draft due to a heart issue he doesn’t believe will impact his career

JOHNNY TOWNSEND
College: Florida
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 210 pounds
Selection: Fifth round (No. 173 overall)
Scouting report: Analysts say Townsend has a powerful leg and sending booming punts downfield with ease. He had the highest gross punt average in the nation last year, with could serve well when combined with solid coverage. That has been an emphasis for the Raiders in free agency. He gets the ball out quick, making him tough to block. His power and accuracy is there but his hang time is often lacking, meaning he has a tendency to outpunt his coverage.
Projected role: The Raiders needed a punter after cutting Marquette King. Townsend will fill that vacancy unless his offseason goes horribly wrong, though that’s certainly unexpected. Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie said Townsend was the Raiders target, and they were not bothered when JK Scott was taken the pick before by Green Bay. Special teams coach Rich Bisaccia conducted a private work out with Townsend, and clearly feels comfortable Townsend can be an NFL punter.
Quotable: “It’s an unbelievable opportunity. I’m going to have to come in and compete and I’m going to have to bring my ‘A’ game throughout this whole process. Just having the opportunity presented to me is just unbelievable. I’m just going to take it and run with it.”
-- Townsend on being drafted by a team desperately needing a punter

Azeem Victor
College: Washington
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 230 pounds
Selection: Sixth round (No. 216 overall)
Scouting report: Victor was used as a quality NFL prospect before he suffered a leg injury during the 2016 season. He reportedly put together lackluster game film and gained some weight. He was suspended twice last year, once for a failed drug test and again following his DUI arrest in Nov. 2017. There’s a talented football player in there, someone who plays with power and aggression. He’s quick to diagnose plays, an important trait for inside linebackers. He also offers value on special teams. Victor is said to struggle in man coverage and can get stuck on blocks.
Projected role: The Raiders need immediate help at middle linebacker, but it’s hard to imagine a sixth-round pick stepping right into that role. He should help on special teams right away, and will certainly be allowed to compete for snaps. He’ll also have to stay on the proper path to contribute, which is a question mark after his issues while at Washington.
Quotable: “I want to show everybody that I have no off-the-field issues, I’m a great character guy, and that I can play some damn good football. I think that’s about it.”
-- Victor, on making a good first impression with Raiders

MARCELL ATEMAN
College: Oklahoma State
Height: 6-foot-5
Weight: 216 pounds
Selection: Seventh round (No. 228 overall)
Scouting report: Ateman doesn’t separate with speed. He ran a 4.62-second 40-yard dash at the combine. He uses a big frame to make plays down the field. He finished 2017 with 59 catches for 1,156 yards and eight touchdowns. He missed all of 2016 with a foot injury, but is healthy again. He’s excellent high pointing passes, with sure hands in all situations. He’s a good improviser, and can run any route. Critics knock his speed and overall athleticism and his ability to free himself from press coverage.
Projected role: The Raiders have a strong receiver set with Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant. Seth Roberts remains on the roster, and is slotted as the fourth receiver. Ateman must cover well on special teams and fight for time on offense. He has the skills to be a contributor in time.
Quotable: ““Just play big, get separation, working on my routes, just been working on getting separation. Just been working on coming in out of my breaks. Using different releases at the line to get separation. I’ve been working, I’ve been putting in and will continue to put in and just compensating for that like you said and just playing up to my size and making plays.”
-- Ateman, on making plays despite less-than-ideal speed

Five new Raiders with something to prove in 2018 season

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Five new Raiders with something to prove in 2018 season

The Raiders are taking some time off during the dead period of the NFL offseason. Even early bird Jon Gruden is slapping the snooze button these days, spending some quality time with family before training camp cranks up later this month.

Coaches and players are still finding time for work, sometimes while they’re on vacation. The Raiders want to hit the ground running this preseason, with many motivated to show well in silver and black. That’s especially true for a large class of new Raiders, many of whom hope to silence detractors.

Here are five newcomers with plenty to prove in 2018:

5. CB Rashaan Melvin

Lists like this are normally reserved for guys coming off injuries or down years. Melvin doesn’t fit that mold. The 28-year old had his best year in 2017, often shutting down top receivers as Indy’s top cornerback. He allowed a paltry 60.3 passer rating when targeted, with three picks, 10 passes defensed and just two touchdowns allowed.

Those stats didn’t produce a robust free-agent market. Melvin ended up signing a one-year, $5.5 million deal with Oakland, and is now working to show he’s not a one-year wonder and can stay healthy for 16 games. An ovation-worthy encore would surely earn a long-term, bigger-money deal.

Melvin made his motivation clear on Twitter a few weeks back.

4. WR Jordy Nelson

Nelson had a down year in 2017. It started well, with six touchdowns in the first four games he played. Then all-world Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers went down, and things hit the skids. He averaged just 9.1 yards per reception, and didn’t score after that early flurry.

That led some to say Nelson lost a step at age 32 he would not recover. The Packers asked him to take a massive pay cut, and ended up releasing him in March. The Raiders swooped in quickly with a two-year deal and plenty of guaranteed money.

Nelson has been praised for his attention to detail and position-group leadership, and will fit into the starting lineup with Amari Cooper and Martavis Bryant. He had four straight 1,000-yard seasons prior to last year. His worth won’t be defined by a monster statistical year. Reliability, leadership and red-zone performance will show if Nelson’s still got it.

3. RB Doug Martin

The veteran rusher has had an uneven career. Excellent production has come in spurts, with dominance in 2012 and 2015. The last 1,400-plus yard season was followed by two seasons of 2.9 yards per carry, which led Tampa Bay to cut his this winter.

He met Gruden for lunch at a Florida golf course, and the exchange convinced Gruden the 29-year old was ready to work and prove he had plenty left in the tank. His work was praised during the offseason program, though practice in pads and preseason play will offer stronger evidence of 2018 effectiveness. Showing well in camp could lead to an increased role behind starter Marshawn Lynch. Gruden likes using multiple backs in his offense, and could make steady contributions in the run game.

2. MLB Derrick Johnson

The longtime Kansas City Chief was let go by the team that drafted him in 2005, but it was not the end of his NFL journey. Some thought he’d call it a career at age 35, especially after suffering an Achilles’ tendon tear in Dec. 2016, but he found a new home in Oakland and a strong bond with Gruden. The Raiders need stability in the middle, and Johnson will provide on-field leadership. There’s no doubt about that.

Johnson must prove capable of being a three-down linebacker effective against the run and pass. Marquel Lee is available should the Raiders require a platoon, but Johnson doesn’t want that. The Raiders need his expertise inside at all times.

1. Head coach Jon Gruden

Gruden isn’t a newcomer, but it’s been nearly two decades since he roamed the silver and black sidelines. He hasn’t coached since 2008, but returned to the Raiders in January after nine years in the broadcast booth.

Gruden has said several times he has something to prove to his critics. That might be a self-motivational tool. There aren’t many in the East Bay, where the fan base as rallied behind him and players have loved the intensity and passion he brings to practice and meetings.

Some assume his old school tendencies and his “bringing it back to 1998” comment this offseason implies he is resistant to change or offensive innovation. That’s not the case, not by a long shot. We’ll see lots modern offense Gruden studied as an ESPN broadcaster and in his downtime at his Tampa offices, with new wrinkles unveiled as game plans dictate.

Gruden has made a solid impression in his return to coaching but, as it always is in his line of work, effectiveness will be determined by wins and losses. He won’t be graded off one-year alone, especially without solid roster depth, but Gruden wants to start fast and re-establish Raiders winning ways.

Raiders CB Gareon Conley files countersuit against woman who accused him of rape

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Raiders CB Gareon Conley files countersuit against woman who accused him of rape

Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley has filed a lawsuit against the woman who accused him of rape in April 2017.

A Cuyahoga County grand jury declined to indict him on criminal charges stemming from an incident in Cleveland less than a month before the 2017 NFL Draft.

Conley deemed the allegations false at the time, and maintained his innocence throughout the process.

His accuser filed a civil suit against Conley on April 6, 2017, seeking $25,000 in damages.

Conley has chosen to file a counter lawsuit, seeking compensation for damage to his reputation, draft stock and endorsement opportunities.

According to court documents obtained by TMZ, he lost an endorsement deal with Nike because of the accusation. He reiterated his innocence in court filings, saying he turned down his accusers advances.

The Ohio State product was considered a top 15 talent heading into the draft, but was ultimately selected No. 24 overall by the Raiders despite the rape accusation.

He missed most of his rookie season with a shin injury that required surgery. He was cleared for full football activity this spring.