Raiders offer rookies help adjusting to NFL life


Raiders offer rookies help adjusting to NFL life

ALAMEDA – Most Raiders are on summer vacation. Last week’s mandatory minicamp capped the offseason program, giving veteran players freedom to rest, relax or go find a white-sand beach.

Raiders rookies haven’t left Alameda yet. They spent the last few months learning about new coaches, teammates and schemes. This is week is all about everything else involved with being an NFL player.

The Raiders Rookie Academy started Monday and continues through the week, giving players a foundation of knowledge about everything from to financial planning to social media strategy.

Raiders player engagement director LaMonte Winston and manager Annelie Schmittel run a show designed to ease the transition from college life to real-world responsibilities that come with this unique, highly paid profession.

The league used to run these seminars as part of a rookie symposium available only to draft picks. Teams assumed responsibility a few years back, offering vital education to draft picks and pros who never heard their name called.

“I think the most efficient and effective way for every single club is to do it at your place, because you can design and tailor a program specific to your market,” Winston said Wednesday afternoon, following a seminar on dealing with media. “We can get more in depth about the Raiders history and where we live. We can also build camaraderie as a group. They’re all going through the same thing right now, and they can get through it more efficiently this way. You can focus more on your specific working environment, and that helps (players) absorb it much faster.”

This week is all encompassing. They spent Monday focused on Raiders life and tradition, with Derek Carr, Greg Townsend, Darren McFadden and Lincoln Kennedy, among others, as guest speakers. Tuesday focused on league policy. The NFLPA also stopped by. Wednesday was about financial planning and media strategies. Thursday will focus on positive habits, substances of abuse and mental health. Friday will include more financial discussion, leadership training and a trip to Facebook.

“It helps us understand what’s going on behind the scenes,” fifth-round defensive tackle Maurice Hurst said. “We’ve never had freedom like this, and we know there are responsibilities you have to take care of. You never had to worry about balancing a checkbook or anything like that. Having these meetings, and hearing from people who have done it before, helps you figure out what your future’s going to look like in the NFL.”

The Raiders added a new wrinkle to this year’s rookie training. They brought parents into the mix. The team flew 35 family members to Alameda for a bootcamp style seminar, offering a glimpse of NFL schedules and meetings, what is involved with life in the league and the outside pressures that come with it.

“We’re trying to help players transition to the NFL and this business as well as possible. You’re not coming into this league alone. Your family is a part of it. Your significant other is a part of it. Your friends are part of it.

“Players don’t relay all the messages to those close to them, and this is a way to include them in what’s happening with a player in the NFL.”

This week’s crash course is the beginning of the player engagement department’s involvement with rookies learning how to handle all that comes with being an NFL player.

“It is a holistic approach to life outside football,” Winston said. “It’s no different that working with new coaches and new systems. We have to lay it out for them, and then it’s extended into the season, when it becomes the Raiders Rookie Success program. … This is our preseason, so to speak. When everything cranks up (with training camp later this summer), it goes live. The education part of it is critical, and Reggie McKenzie and Jon Gruden really value it, or they wouldn’t support it.”

Raiders seven-round NFL mock draft: Paul Guenther given defensive line help


Raiders seven-round NFL mock draft: Paul Guenther given defensive line help

The Raiders are scheduled to make eight selections in this NFL draft. Half of them are expected to come in the first 35 overall. That will likely change during the annual selection process, which begins Thursday night in Nashville.

Raiders trades are expected either in the first round or beyond to acquire more Day 2 picks believed to be particularly valuable in this class. However, we won’t be making trades in the world where this seven-round Raiders mock draft resides.

We’re going to pick them as scheduled here, and try to address needs where we’re able. Just as a warning: I ran The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator a thousand times and wasn’t able to land Nick Bosa (No. 4 overall), Quinnen Williams (No. 24 overall) and Josh Allen (No. 27 overall) all in the first round, so prepare yourself for disappointment.

These seven-round mocks are always idealized to some degree because every pick isn’t being made. Look below, where the draft’s best prospect is still around at No. 4, for proof of that. So let’s have fun with this thing. Check out what I’ve got, and then dub me a certified genius or certifiably insane. There is no middle ground.

With that, here’s a Raiders seven-round mock draft, just days before Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock start playing for keeps.


NFL draft rumors: Raiders' Jon Gruden loves Kyler Murray, not Derek Carr

NFL draft rumors: Raiders' Jon Gruden loves Kyler Murray, not Derek Carr

We're a little more than 48 hours away from the start of the 2019 NFL Draft, and it sounds like almost no one knows how things will shake out. 

The Arizona Cardinals own the No. 1 overall pick, and many expect them to draft Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray to pair with new coach Kliff Kingsbury.

However, a report leaked over the weekend that the Cardinals were planning to pass on Murray, leaving many to wonder how far the Heisman Trophy winner would fall should Arizona go in a different direction.

As it turns out, Murray might not have an Aaron Rodgers-type wait in the green room if the Cardinals pass on him, as many see the Raiders as a potential suitor at No. 4 overall. Coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock have publicly supported current quarterback Derek Carr, but it sounds like Gruden isn't all that high on his signal-caller. He is, however, quite high on Murray, according to ESPN's Todd McShay.

"Jon Gruden loves Kyler Murray, I'm told. And does not necessarily love Derek Carr, I'm told, which is going to be the interesting thing to see," McShay said on Monday's episode of "Get Up!," via Bleacher Report. "It may not play out in this draft, but I think at some point, it's going to come to an end between Carr and Jon Gruden, from what I hear."

Last Friday, Gruden and Mayock reportedly closed ranks, sending all of their scouts home so they could finish their draft prep surrounded only by a few trusted members of the organization.

With a number of leaks coming out over the past few weeks, it's possible the decision to close ranks came out of the Raiders' desire to try and find a way to move up and take Murray while maintaining plausible deniability should the talks fall through. Oakland has four picks in the top 35, so the Silver and Black undoubtedly have the trade ammunition needed to move up to the top spot if they so desired.

[RELATED: Why Raiders might be looking to trade up for Kyler Murray]

But the Raiders have a number of holes to address in the draft. With game-changers like Quinnen Williams possibly being available at No. 4, the Silver and Black might want to restock their defense and worry about quarterback at a later date.

But if Gruden really does "love" Murray, all bets are off.