Raiders

Raiders undrafted WR drawing rave reviews from Jon Gruden, Derek Carr

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Raiders undrafted WR drawing rave reviews from Jon Gruden, Derek Carr

The Raiders revamped their wide receiving corps this offseason, bringing in Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, J.J. Nelson, Ryan Grant and fifth-round draft pick Hunter Renfrow to help quarterback Derek Carr. 

Brown, Williams and Renfrow will get a lot of attention during organized team activities and minicamp, but there's another receiver who has impressed both head coach Jon Gruden and Carr early on in his NFL career.

Keelan Doss signed with the Raiders after going undrafted out of the University of California-Davis and has the size, ball skills and awareness to make it as a receiver in the NFL.

Gruden likes what he has seen from Doss so far.

"Yeah, we coached Doss in the Senior Bowl and really liked him," Gruden said Tuesday after the first day of OTAs. "I think he's smart. He's athletic and he's got size and I think he's going to be able to compete on special teams, as well. Plus he's from Alameda, so we had to get Doss."

It's a long road for an undrafted rookie to make it to the NFL and stick in the league, but Carr believes Doss is different than a lot of the undrafted rookies he's seen come through Oakland.

"Yeah, I think Keelan is going to be a good player," Carr said. "Obviously, he's a rookie, right? He's got a long way to go. But just watching him you can tell -- he works his tail off and it means something to him. We've had other guys come in here, I've seen undrafted free agents come in here and they are just like, 'Man, I'm in the NFL.' And they are posting pictures of them jogging in a jersey, but they don't really like football. You know? They don't really care. They are just trying to, I guess, show that they have a little influence, that they are a professional football player, when really they haven't made the team yet, so their not, you know? He is not that at all. He is someone, man he doesn't want this to just be a one-time stop. He wants to make a career out of this. And hopefully man, he works his tail off and he does make a career out of it. 

"But that's just the initial reaction I've gotten from him is that it means something to him. And you can win with that."

Doss had a productive career at UC-Davis, finishing his collegiate run with 321 catches for 4,069 yards and 28 touchdowns.

He was expected to be a fourth- or fifth-round draft pick, but a pectoral injury at the combine hurt his training for the 40-yard dash.

Doss impressed during his time at the Senior Bowl, drawing comparisons to a star AFC West receiver.

"The player he reminds of is Keenan Allen," Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy told NBC Sports Bay Area's Scott Bair. "That’s really high praise. You don’t just throw player comparisons out there. It’s rare with NFL teams. Everything has to line up, and I really feel like he’s a good comp for Keenan Allen. How he went undrafted, it really surprised me. We’re not privy to medical info, and he has some injuries dating back to high school, so I don’t know it that scared teams off. Outside of that, the Raiders got a steal.

The 6-foot-2, 211-pound receiver knows how to get open, can win in the red zone and is a polished route-runner. Perhaps the Keenan Allen comparison checks out.

[RELATED: New Raiders receiver Williams 'a technician' downfield]

While Doss has a long road ahead of him to make the 53-man roster, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him make the team over some of the other receivers the club brought in this offseason and possibly contribute in 2019.

Raiders Daniel Carlson wants to build on Raiders success, not replicate it

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Raiders Daniel Carlson wants to build on Raiders success, not replicate it

The Minnesota Vikings took the first kicker in last year’s NFL draft, but that didn’t stop them from cutting Daniel Carlson at the first sign of trouble. The Auburn alum was off the roster following a rough go against Green Bay, suddenly on the street despite great power, accuracy and pedigree.

That transaction raised Rich Bisaccia’s eyebrow. The Raiders special teams coach considered a top talent, someone who could solve his in-season kicker issues with Giorgio Tavecchio cut in camp and Eddy Piñeiro and Mike Nugent on injured reserve. Bisaccia had an in with Carlson after helping recruit him to Auburn. That, the Raiders thought, would separate them from the competition when bringing him in for a workout.

Carlson still said no.

This wasn’t about the Raiders. He declined offers from everybody, as a matter of fact, choosing to work out kinks away from massive crowds and quick-to-judge head coaches with nothing invested in him.

“My agent and I obviously talked about it a good bit,” Carlson said. “We just felt like at that time I could take a break, work on some things that I wanted to work on. Once you get into the season, you’re just getting ready for Sunday. You’re getting ready for Sunday, so it was nice to be able to step back, be able to work on a couple little things and then be able to… I knew an opportunity would come. Obviously, I didn’t know where from, but I just wanted to make sure when that came I was ready and would be ready for the rest of the season.”

He made some tweaks and was eventually able to double back to the Raiders when he was ready. Patience proved a virtue for player and team.

Carlson was awesome after joining the Raiders, with a franchise-record 94.1-percent conversion rate. He hit 16 of 17 field goals in silver and black, including a game-winner as time expired on one of their four wins.

Carlson wants to match that effort in 2019 and for years to come as the Raiders kicker. He won’t compete for a gig this season but is still pushing for improvement and consistency through near-constant self-evaluation even now, when sailing on the calm.

“I think he’s working on getting a master’s in himself,” Bisaccia said. “I think he knows faster than anybody else what’s good about what he does and when it’s not the hit that he’s expecting to make. I think he can self-correct quickly and just our professional opinions we thought he was really a good player coming out. He was certainly a draft-able kicker and then when he became available we couldn’t get him for the first workout, he wanted to go work on a few things on his own and when he was ready for a workout we got him in. He did a tremendous job and now he’s ours.”

Carlson doesn’t subscribe to the ain’t-broke-down-fix-it model. He wants to build on last season’s success over simply replicating it. That more than anything else remains his drive heading toward the 2019 season.

“I wouldn’t say you ever maintain,” Carlson said. “I think you’re always getting worse or better. I think yes, I learned some things that worked last year and I want to keep those things going. But at the same time, I always want to improve. I’ve been working really hard this offseason. Obviously, I took a little break after the season ended and kind of got back to it. I want to continue to build off of what I had last year and the things that were going well. Still continuing to improve every day. I think for the most part I’ve been able to do that.”

Carlson’s able to get nit-picky these days, even looking at attempts that earned three points. He grades each one, and despite the pass-fail nature of his profession, he doesn’t view it as a zero-sum game. He also understands every kick won’t be perfect but needs even the subpar efforts to fly straight and true.

[RELATED: Simms ranked as Chris Simms' No. 18 overall QB]

Carlson is always working on an ironclad mental approach and consistent form that can be more challenging for someone standing 6-foot-5.

“Being taller you have to be very, very exact,” Carlson said. “Continuing to be able to do that nine out of 10 times, but now hopefully I’m going to be able to do it 99 out of 100 times. Just trying to get better each and every day.”

Watch Antonio Brown mic'd up at Raiders mandatory minicamp practice

Watch Antonio Brown mic'd up at Raiders mandatory minicamp practice

"Let's put a show on today."

Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown was chatting with quarterback Derek Carr during a recent mandatory minicamp and we were able to hear it all during an installment of "Mic'd Up."

The two went out on to the practice field and it was apparent Brown hasn't slowed down since being acquired by the Silver and Black.

He makes it look effortless as he grabs everything within reach all while receiving compliments from his quarterback.

As the team stood around on the sidelines, coach Jon Gruden added to the nice words saying AB was "killing it." And Brown responded in the most Brown-like way by saying he's going to kill it every day for Gruden.

[RELATED: AB sets a new standard during Raiders offseason]

AB has been truly dominating in his role being called the hardest worker Gruden has ever seen. The receiver came into his new digs fully prepared, and is not afraid to shy away on giving the team feedback while receiving advice from others as well.

This season will be an interesting one.