Raiders select OL David Sharpe in fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft

Raiders select OL David Sharpe in fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft

Position: Offensive tackle
College: Florida
Height: 6-foot-6
Weight: 343 pounds
Selection: Fourth round, No. 129 overall

ALAMEDA – Donald Penn’s career is winding down. Their right tackle position is unset long-term, meaning the Raiders must look toward the future when it comes to the position.

Florida’s David Sharpe will get a chance to earn a starting tackle spot in time. He’s a massive individual, something offensive line coach Mike Tice prefers in his players. His long arms help keep rushers at bay, and he can block well on the move in the run game.

Analysts says he isn’t flexible or as agile as other lineman, and is better on his own off the edge than working on combination blocks.

The Raiders have great insight on Sharpe, considering head coach Jack Del Rio’s son Luke is Florida’s quarterback.

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said Sharpe is legally blind in his right eye, a claim Sharpe disputed leading up to the NFL Draft. He called it an unfounded rumor at Florida’s pro day, saying that his vision is fine.

Sharpe won’t be counted on to start this season, with Pro Bowler Donald Penn anchoring the left side and a trio of Marshall Newhouse, Austin Howard and Vadal Alexander compete to start at right tackle.

The Raiders have one of the best offensive lines in football, status they’d like to retain by bringing in young blood to fill vacancies when they come.

Will Jared Cook return to Raiders? Jon Gruden addresses tight end's future


Will Jared Cook return to Raiders? Jon Gruden addresses tight end's future

MOBILE, Ala. — Raiders coach Jon Gruden offered a positive view on the status of tight end Jared Cook who is now a free agent.

“I had a good meeting with Jared before he left,” Gruden said, “and we'll do the best we can to get him back. It will be competitive. I'm sure there are a lot of teams who look at the tape and put him on their wish list.”  

Cook caught a career-high 68 of his 101 targets for 896 yards and six touchdowns. His 67.6 catch percentage was also a career-high. 

Cook recorded four 100-yard games in his 10th season in the league. His 180-yard performance against the Rams in Week 1 broke the franchise record for yards by a tight end in a single game that was previously held by Todd Christensen, who caught 11 passes for 173 yards against the Chargers on Nov. 20, 1986.

Gruden was pleased that Cook will be in playing in the Pro Bowl. He will participate as Travis Kelce’s replacement. 

“Jared made the Pro Bowl, which is great for him,” Gruden said. “We’re really happy about that. I thought he should have gotten in to start with.”  

Former Ravens sixth-round pick Darren Waller could be a possible replacement for Cook. He was signed late in the season off of Baltimore's practice squad and played in the final four games. He caught all six passes thrown his way for 75 yards. 

The Raiders will need to focus on adding a tight end during the offseason through free agency or the draft. The staff’s involvement at the Senior Bowl is one of the opportunities they will need to take advantage of.

Jon Gruden knows firsthand why Saints NFC title loss 'will sting forever'


Jon Gruden knows firsthand why Saints NFC title loss 'will sting forever'

MOBILE, Ala. – Jon Gruden reached out to New Orleans head coach Sean Payton after the Saints lost the NFC championship on Sunday, largely due to a blown no-call on an obvious pass interference violation.

The Raiders head coach knows all too well both Payton and the pain felt after losing a chance to advance in the playoffs due to an officiating mistake.

Gruden was, after all, victimized by the Tuck Rule. The New England Patriots beat the Raiders back in the 2001 AFC divisional round largely because of a call that negated Tom Brady’s lost fumble, which would have essentially secured a Raiders victory.

“That’s one of the reasons Sean and I have talked,” Gruden said Monday during Senior Bowl week. “What do you say to your team? It’s tough. You lose a game like that, it’s tough. It’s tough to lose a game, period. It’s tough that it came down to that.”

Gruden has strong feelings on instant replay, but didn’t want to comment on whether pass interference calls should be reviewable. By rule, the egregious non-call in the L.A. Rams’ victory over the Saints wasn’t allowed to undergo a review.

Payton was despondent after the overtime loss to Los Angeles, saying the NFL told him shortly after the game that pass interference should have been called.

While the Tuck Rule Game happened 17 years ago, Gruden and several Raiders involved in that game are still bothered by the end result. That’s why Gruden believes the Saints might not ever get over such a loss.

“No. I don’t think so,” Gruden said. “If you really want to dwell on it, you won’t ever get over it. It’s the last time that team will ever be together. It will never be the same. Those guys fought long and as hard as they could. It will sting forever.”

Gruden and Payton have discussed the Saints’ situation already, and will again down the road.

“Sean and I worked together a long time ago (in Philadelphia), and I was involved in a playoff game that ended in quite dramatic fashion,” Gruden said. “So is he, now. He and I will have a couple of hot dogs and a couple Cokes and talk about it at some point in the future, I’m sure.”

Gruden isn't the only Raiders still sore over the Tuck Rule Game. Charles Woodson caused the fumble that was negated, and it still bothers him greatly. The Raiders were awesome that year, and had a real chance to win the Super Bowl if his big play had stood as a fumble.