Raiders

Vontaze Burfict wants Antonio Brown beef behind him with both on Raiders now

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AP

Vontaze Burfict wants Antonio Brown beef behind him with both on Raiders now

Things might get awkward at the start of Raiders OTAs in May.

That's when new teammates Vontaze Burfict and Antonio Brown will share a locker room for the first time.

Burfict (Cincinnati Bengals) and Brown (Pittsburgh Steelers) played on opposite sides of one of the AFC North's fiercest rivalries, and things came to a head in the 2015 postseason. That's when Burfict knocked Brown out of the playoffs with a dirty, illegal hit to the head, and received a three-game NFL suspension. 

But Burfict, who signed a one-year contract with the Raiders on Tuesday, told reporters in a conference call he isn't concerned about any lingering tension between himself and the talented wide receiver.

"We're on the same team, with one goal. It's all positive, man," Burfict said. "He's a great player, he's gonna be a Hall of Famer one day, and honestly I'm gonna approach him just like I do all my other teammates. I'll introduce myself, all that good stuff. ... There's nothing negative over here, man. We're on the same team, everything's [about] trying to win a championship over here."

The Raiders traded for Brown earlier this month, and he tweeted Tuesday that he had already reached out to Burfict.

That's a marked departure from the ex-Steelers star. When former Pittsburgh teammate Juju Smith-Schuster crushed Burfict with a vicious block, "no one enjoyed [it] more than Brown," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Ron Cook wrote Tuesday. In the aftermath of Burfict's hit, Brown made his displeasure with the play clear to Cook.

“I feel like guys don’t want to stop me no more,” Brown told Cook in early 2016. “They want to take me out. They want to kill me. They want to steal my dreams. They want to ruin me. They want to end me.”

[RELATED: Why Quinnen Williams remains so humble before NFL draft]

Burfict, for his part, sounded more than ready to bury the hatchet Tuesday. He said he'll keep an open mind when he meets Brown, as well as the rest of his new teammates.

"Honestly, we might [end up being] the closest friends on the team, you know what I mean," Burfict said. "So, just gotta go along with it, and I can't wait to meet him."

If Brown's tweet is any indication, he feels the same way. 

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.”