Raiders

Raiders snap count: Foster Moreau shines in statement win vs. Bears

Raiders snap count: Foster Moreau shines in statement win vs. Bears

Early on this season, Raiders coach Jon Gruden continually has praised his tight ends group, and for good reason. They've had to play more than was expected with the offense being reshaped on the fly and have performed admirably both in the run and pass game.

With Antonio Brown's unexpected departure before the season began, Gruden has changed the Raiders' plan of attack to feature a heavy run game out of two and three-tight end sets to make up for Oakland's lack of talent on the outside. Darren Waller has been the breakout star of the season for the Silver and Black, but rookie tight end Foster Moreau has starred in the last two weeks. 

The fourth-round draft pick caught a massive touchdown in the Raiders' Week 4 win over the Colts, and he was quarterback Derek Carr's favored weapon in Week 5, catching four passes for 46 yards on five targets, including two catches for 39 yards on the Raiders' 97-yard game-winning drive to beat the Bears 24-21.

With 2:09 remaining and the Raiders trailing 21-17, Carr hit Moreau for 16 yards down to the Bears' 2-yard line, and fellow rookie Josh Jacobs did the rest, capping the drive with a touchdown leap to give the Oakland a win in London.

Moreau, Jacobs and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow each made huge plays on the Raiders' statement drive to beat the Bears, showing all the preseason talk about the rookie class' talent and maturity wasn't unsubstantiated smoke. 

"I think we've been talking about our young players since they've been here," Gruden said after the win. "The kind of effort that they provide and the smartness that they play with  -- these are smart guys that are doing a lot of different things, playing tough positions. You know, Foster Moreau at the point of attack, pass protecting, catching balls down the field. I can't say enough about the rookies."

[RELATED: Raiders earn respect in 'statement wins' vs. Colts, Bears]

On the other side of the ball, linebacker Nicholas Morrow filled in for the suspended Vontaze Burfict and performed well. Rookie edge rusher Maxx Crosby saw his playing time increase due to Clelin Ferrell's concussion, and he notched his first career sack in the win over the Bears.

Offense

Total offensive snaps: 73

Quarterback – Derek Carr 73

Running back – Josh Jacobs 50, Alec Ingold 16, DeAndre Washington 13, Jalen Richard 11

Wide receiver – Trevor Davis 55, Hunter Renfrow 42, Keelan Doss 40, Marcell Ateman 28

Tight end – Darren Waller 57, Foster Moreau 45, Derek Carrier 5

Offensive line – Richie Incognito 73, Kolton Miller 73, Rodney Hudson 73, Trent Brown 73, Denzelle Good 73, David Sharpe 3

Defense

Total defensive snaps: 58

Defensive line – Maxx Crosby 57, Benson Mayowa 32, Johnathan Hankins 30, Maurice Hurst 29, Josh Mauro 26, P.J. Hall 25, Arden Key 22, Corey Liuget 8

Linebacker – Tahir Whitehead 58, Nicholas Morrow 56

Defensive back – Erik Harris 58, Karl Joseph 58, Gareon Conley 88, Lamarcus Joyner 58, Daryl Worley 56, Trayvon Mullen 7

Special teams

Kyle Wilber 24, Derek Carrier 22, Keisean Nixon 21, Harris 19, Moreau 17, Curtis Riley 17, Crosby 15, Dallin Leavitt 14, Morrow 13, Ingold 13, Trent Sieg 10, A.J. Cole 10, Daniel Carlson 9, Jason Phillips 9, Dakota Allen 8, Joseph 8, Worley 8, Davis 7, Whitehead 6, Hurst 6, Key 6, Mullen 6, Andre James 4, Sharpe 4, Washington 4, Brown 4, Miller 4, Good 4, Incognito 4, Renfrow 3, Conley 3, Mayowa 3, Hankins 3

Foster Moreau defends Raiders' 2019 rookie class, claps back on Twitter

Foster Moreau defends Raiders' 2019 rookie class, claps back on Twitter

Oh, the disrespect. 

The Raiders' 2019 draft class was one of the best in recent seasons, in all of the NFL. Running back Josh Jacobs was an Offensive Rookie of the Year finalist, and defensive end Maxx Crosby was up for Defensive Rookie of the Year. Apparently that doesn't mean much to NFL.com's Gennaro Filice and Nick Shook. 

The duo of writers gave the Silver and Black's rookie class an A- grade, but ranked them as just the seventh-best in the NFL. That didn't sit well with Raiders rookie tight end Foster Moreau. 

As Moreau's tweet shows, the Raiders' rookie class finished first in rushing yards, first in receptions, first in yards from scrimmage, first in scrimmage TDs and first in sacks. Case closed. 

Moreau himself had 21 receptions for 174 yards and caught five TDs in 13 games. The fourth-round draft pick's rookie year was cut short with a knee injury. Before his injury, he impressed coaches as a run blocker, pass protector and receiver.

On offense, Jacobs led the way. Many believe he was snubbed as Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray was voted as Offensive Rookie of the Year. Jacobs broke almost every Raiders rookie rushing record, most of which were previously held by Marcus Allen. The Alabama product averaged 4.8 yards per carry and had 1,1150 rushing yards despite missing three of the last four games with a fractured shoulder.

Hunter Renfrow, selected in the fifth round of the draft, had the second-most receiving yards by a Raiders receiver this season, despite also missing three games to injury. Renfrow finished the 2019 season with 49 receptions for 605 yards and four touchdowns. 

Crosby, a steal out of the fourth round, totaled 10 sacks -- the second-most by any rookie throughout the league. He led the Raiders in sacks and tackles for loss (19), 9.5 more than fellow rookie teammate Clelin Ferrell. 

[RELATED: How Raiders' 2019 rookies are laying bedrock for success]

Ferrell, the No. 4 pick in last year's draft, vowed to return a completely different player. Safety Johnathan Abram, the No. 27 pick from last year, will be back and healthy in 2020.

The Raiders had a three-win improvement this past season. With a great rookie season behind them, the 2019 draft class can take the Raiders to new heights as they move to Las Vegas.

Why reported Darius Slay trade from Lions makes sense for Raiders

Why reported Darius Slay trade from Lions makes sense for Raiders

The Raiders were on the verge of the playoffs this past season, but their passing game took yet another step back. Besides the emergence of rookie Trayvon Mullen, the Silver and Black have plenty of question marks at cornerback as they move to Las Vegas. 

There could be help available, though. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Monday that the Detroit Lions have talked to multiple teams regarding a trade for their Pro Bowl cornerback, Darius Slay. 

Between need, their slew of draft picks and available cap space, the Raiders could be a perfect fit for a trade with the Lions. Let's start with how Slay would fit in the defense. 

Mullen is expected to man one side of the defensive backfield at cornerback, while the other side is a bit of a mystery. Daryl Worley is a free agent this offseason, but Nevin Lawson, Nick Nelson, Keisean Nixon and Isaiah Johnson all are options. None are Slay, though. Not even close. 

Slay, 29, made his third straight Pro Bowl this last season. He also was a First Team All-Pro in 2017 when he led the NFL with eight interceptions and 26 passes defensed. Since 2014, Slay has recorded at least two interceptions and 13 passes defensed every season. 

Per advanced analytics site Pro Football Focus, Slay has been the fifth-best cornerback in the game since 2014. 

The Raiders also have the draft picks to get a deal done. They own two first-round picks -- Nos. 12 and 19 -- this April, as well as three in the third round, one in the fourth and one in the seventh. They have plenty of leverage to make a move. 

Las Vegas also lands right in the middle of current available salary-cap space going into next season. According to Spotrac, the Raiders have slightly over $51.5 million in salary-cap space. Slay, who has a $13.4 million cap hit in 2020, wants a new contract as he's set to hit free agency after this upcoming season. 

[RELATED: Ex-Raider Nnamdi Asomugha talks about his life on Broadway]

He likely would cost more than a few extra pennies, but it's clear Slay still can be a solid corner in a division where everyone is chasing QB Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. 

The Raiders could target a cornerback early in the draft. That's not out of the question at all. If the Lions are taking calls on Slay like Schefter reported, Raiders general manager Mike Mayock would be wise to listen.