Raiders

Source: Rookie QB Cook expected to start for Raiders in Houston

Source: Rookie QB Cook expected to start for Raiders in Houston

UPDATE (Wednesday morning at 10:35am PT) -- Connor Cook will start against the Texans on Saturday, the Raiders announced.

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ALAMEDA – The Raiders haven’t formally announced their starting quarterback for Saturday’s playoff opener against the Houston Texans.

Their intentions aren’t a well-kept secret. Connor Cook is expected to make his first NFL start in the playoffs, something no player in league history has done.

Raiders players discussed that fact on Tuesday, and a league source confirmed it later in the afternoon.

NFL Network first reported Tuesday morning that the Raiders were operating with the expectation Cook would start.

The fourth-round pick out of Michigan State was thrust into action midway through Sunday’s 24-6 loss at Denver after Matt McGloin injured his neck/shoulder.

Having Cook start isn’t just based upon health. Cook fared better that McGloin against Denver, something clear to Raiders coaches after analyzing the game tape.

It’s also uncertain how much McGloin will be able to practice, and the Raiders need to get a quarterback ready to play an important game on a short week.

The Raiders believe Cook is the healthier and better option, one who can get the job done against the Texans. While most haven’t worked with Cook much this regular season, they believe he can execute under the bright lights.

“(Cook) has really worked hard, all the way from training camp,” running back Jalen Richard said. “I would say he’s one of the hardest working rookies on the team. He was working on his craft every day after practice, not knowing when his moment would come.

“Look at him now. His moment is here. I feel like he’s ready for it, and we have all the confidence in him.”

Cook was 14-for-21 for 150 yards passing, one touchdown and an interception. He also fumbled twice and lost one. He also orchestrated the Raiders’ only touchdown drive since Derek Carr broke his right fibula in Week 16. Cook has arm talent and poist in the pocket, which he flashed at times against Denver. 

“I think he did a pretty good job, especially coming in after having not played all year,” receiver Amari Cooper said. “He did a nice job going through his reads and stepping up in the pocket and making some good throws.

“He was really good out there. He was talking us up and making sure we stayed encouraged out there. I really like him.”

The Raiders are expected to start a third different quarterback in as many weeks. Cook faces a difficult task. He will lead the team into the playoffs and the Raiders have to find a way to establish chemistry and a game plan that works for a player who hasn’t seen many practice reps during the regular season. He hadn’t worked with the starting lineup before last week, and ran some plays against Denver he had never practiced.

The Raiders have to make the best of the situation, especially those employed to work in cohesion with the quarterback.

“We have to rally around him,” Cooper said, “and make him confident in us by getting open and things like that.”

NFL mock draft 2019: Raiders can rebuild with three first-round picks

NFL mock draft 2019: Raiders can rebuild with three first-round picks

The Raiders can take their first steps into the future beginning Thursday.

That's because they'll have three selections in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The Silver and Black finished 4-12 a season ago, and have plenty of holes to fill on their roster.

They'll have the opportunity to do so early in Mike Mayock's first draft as Raiders general manager, as they currently have more first-round picks than any other team in the league. That's the upside of trading former first-round picks Khalil Mack (Chicago Bears) and Amari Cooper (Dallas Cowboys), making the bitter pill of seeing both play instrumental roles as in their new teams' respective playoff pushes.

[RELATED: Top draft prospects enjoyed meeting Raiders staff on visits]

The Raiders need plenty of help on both sides of the ball, but where do they begin in the second draft of the second Jon Gruden era? Here's what experts from around the country are projecting in their mock drafts, starting with our own Scott Bair and Matt Maiocco.

Scott Bair and Matt Maiocco, NBC Sports Bay Area
No. 4: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
No. 24: Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
No. 27: Rock Ya-sin, CB, Temple

What Bair said on Oliver: "This likely becomes a trade-down scenario for the Silver and Black, but they should be content to take a versatile, dynamic defensive lineman with interior pass-rush ability that teams covet. Oliver has drawn Aaron Donald comparisons, and the Raiders would be thrilled to add a talent who can create havoc from several different techniques up front even if he doesn’t reach Donald-like heights."

What Bair said on Jacobs: "Jacobs is the best running back in this draft, a do-it-all talent who should fit well in Jon Gruden’s offense. He’s a solid interior runner and receiver, with a willingness to protect the passer."

What Bair said on Ya-sin: "He’s physical, competitive as heck and makes plays on the ball. That’s a fit for what the Raiders want in the secondary."

Peter King, NBC Sports
No. 4 overall: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
No. 21 overall (Oakland trades Nos. 24 and 106 to Seattle): Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
No. 27 overall: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

What King said on Williams: "Since the Raiders have a crying need at tackle—their top-rated DT was not in the top 50 of the 2018 Pro Football Focus DT rankings—Jon Gruden, who has ultimate say in Oakland, will greenlight this pick, and GM Mike Mayock gladly will take Williams here as the first pick of his NFL GM career."

What King said on Jacobs: "The Raiders would have to move only three spots ahead to make it happen, and probably wouldn’t have to denude its mid-round picks to do so. ... I met with Jacobs last week, by the way. Delightful fellow. Hungry to be a great NFL player, and he’s a versatile back too. Jon Gruden could turn him into a 1,700-total-yard back as a rookie."

What King said on Baker: "Touchdowns allowed in coverage over his last two college seasons: zero. He might drive defensive coordinator Paul Guenther crazy with his practice habits, but his game production, at least in college, made up for that."

The Washington Post
No. 4: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
No. 24: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
No. 27: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

What they said on Oliver: "The Raiders could opt to take Josh Allen to improve their edge rush, but Oliver is too intriguing as an Aaron Donald-like disruptive force in the middle of their defensive line."

What they said on: "Jon Gruden would be able to allow Haskins some time to adjust to the NFL, given the presence of incumbent starter Derek Carr."

What they said on Fant: "They need a tight end to replace Pro Bowl selection Jared Cook, and the combination of Ed Oliver, Dwayne Haskins and Fant would represent an A-plus first round for Oakland."

NFL.com
No. 4: Ed Oliver, Houston, DT
No. 24: Josh Jacobs, Alabama, RB
No. 27: Darryl Savage, Maryland, S

What they're saying on Oliver: "It wouldn't shock me if [Ohio State quarterback] Dwayne Haskins is the pick, but the Raiders are desperate for pass-rush help and Oliver can help them in that area."

What they're saying on Jacobs: "The question is, do they take Jacobs here or do they wait and find a back in the middle rounds, where there's still value?"

What they're saying on Savage: "There are a bunch of teams picking late in the first round that are looking at safeties, and I think Savage will find his home in this range."

Miami Herald
No. 4: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
No. 24: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
No. 27: Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State

What they're saying on Quinnen Williams: "Jon Gruden’s D produced a meager 13 sacks last season (next lowest team total was 30), and in Williams they get a guy who could be the next Aaron Donald."

What they're saying on Greedy Williams: "The one knock on Williams is he likes to avoid contact. But you know Jon “Chucky” Gruden thinks he can coach toughness into somebody, right?"


Read more here:https://www.miamiherald.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/greg-cote/article229536799.html#storylink=cpy
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What they're saying on Campbell: "Oakland’s third first-round pick was gotten from Dallas in the Amari Cooper trade. Fittingly, they target that same position here with a guy whose sprinter’s speed, big-play potential and return ability make him a sleeper prize."

NFL Draft: Josh Jacobs could replace Marshawn Lynch on Raiders

NFL Draft: Josh Jacobs could replace Marshawn Lynch on Raiders

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Marshawn Lynch's reported retirement was something that caught the attention of the top running back in the NFL draft.

“That’s crazy,” Alabama running back Josh Jacobs said on Wednesday. “He’s a legend. He's someone I definitely look up to, on and off the field.”

If the Raiders running back steps away for good, his career will end with 10,379 yards and 84 touchdowns rushing. He added another 2,214 yards of total offense with his receiving numbers, which includes nine touchdowns during his 11-season career.

“I like the effort he put into the game,” Jacobs said. “He runs like it means more than just football. He’s not complacent with just being in the league. He wants to go down as one of the greatest ever, and he brings that attitude to the game. Also, he keeps it fun.”

It is not out of the question the Raiders could tab Jacobs to replace Lynch. In addition to the No. 4 overall pick, the Raiders also have first-round selections at Nos. 24 and 27 – a fact with which Jacobs was already familiar.

“I don’t really think about it too much, I just let it play out," Jacobs said of the possibility of the Raiders selecting him on Thursday in the first round.

Jacobs (5-foot-10, 220 pounds) averaged 5.9 yards per rushing attempt during his three seasons at Alabama while sharing the duties with a talented group of backs during his time in college. Last season, Jacobs rushed for 640 yards and 11 touchdowns while adding 20 receptions for 247 yards and three touchdowns.

Although he did not make a pre-draft visit to Alameda, Jacobs said he had a lot of contact over the past couple months with coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock. He met with them at the NFL Scouting Combine, and has been in regular contact via phone.

[RELATED: Raiders watch Jacobs at Alabama Pro Day]

Jacobs said he can envision himself fitting into the Raiders’ offense, going along with quarterback Derek Carr and an improved group of wide receivers, which now includes Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams.

“They already have a great quarterback and, obviously, they’ve added some great additions at receiver,” Jacobs said. “So it’s about putting those little pieces together. It’s about fine-tuning things at this point. I feel like they’re a couple of games away from being great. They’re definitely going to make that step this year.”