Woodson: Crabtree deal a sign ‘things are starting to change’


Woodson: Crabtree deal a sign ‘things are starting to change’

ALAMEDA – The four-year, big-money contract extension receiver Michael Crabtree signed this week is good for player and team.

Crabtree gets a bunch of money up front in exchange for being a key piece to an explosive offense.

That’s the basics. Charles Woodson believes the Crabtree deal has an ripple effect. It sends a signal throughout the Raiders locker room: Work hard, fit in, play well and, when the time comes, you’ll get rewarded.

“With Michael, the desire to reach an agreement was mutual,” Woodson said Wednesday. “He really, really wanted to be here, and they made it happen and got it done.

“That says a lot to other guys. When they get in that position, the team will take care of them.”

[BAIR: Crabtree on Raiders extension: 'Neat to know you're wanted']

Crabtree was producing well on a one-year prove-it deal, and certainly would’ve had suitors on the open market. The Raiders offered a competitive deal – they have cash to do that several times over – and Crabtree decided to stay put.

That’s a sign the Raiders are becoming a more attractive place to play. Bringing in top veterans has been a real struggle. The Raiders were losing at a rapid rate. They had a terrible practice facility, a carousel of anonymous coaches and no real hope for the future.

The Raiders now have some things working in their favor. They have a respected coach in Jack Del Rio, a franchise-type quarterback in Derek Carr and a young foundation. They poured money into the practice facility and the fields, making it a far better place to work.

Woodson believes Crabtree’s decision to stay and the Raiders decision to pay will provide proof this isn’t the same old Raiders.

[RELATED: One year gamble with Raiders pays off for Crabtree]

“That’s great, because you hear that people don’t want to come to Oakland, that they don’t want to play here,” Woodson said. “Things are starting to change. With Crabtree signing his deal, other free agents will take notice once that time comes around. They’ll want to know why he wanted to stick around and play in Oakland. He’ll be a great ambassador for guys who are undecided. It says a lot. It’s a positive thing.”

Players universally lauded the Crabtree deal as a good thing. It’s also a sign the Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie is following the Packers mantra: draft, develop and reward your own players.

They have several chances to do so, most notably with left tackle Donald Penn and punter Marquette King heading toward free agency. Those are players the Raiders hope to retain at proper value. Justin Tuck is also an option to bring back, and the team hopes to retain edge rusher Aldon Smith if he’s reinstated following his calendar-year suspension. Safety Charles Woodson will surely be welcomed back if he chooses to play in 2016.

Mel Kiper NFL mock draft 2020: Raiders pick two Oklahoma prospects


Mel Kiper NFL mock draft 2020: Raiders pick two Oklahoma prospects

For the second consecutive season, the Oakland Las Vegas Raiders will have multiple first-round selections in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft. It'll happen right in the team’s new backyard along the famous Strip.

After a strong start, the Raiders faded in the second half of the 2019 season, finishing with a dismal 7-9 record. Where will general manager Mike Mayock allocate his precious draft picks come April?

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. released his first mock draft Friday and has the Raiders addressing both sides of the ball in the first round.

No. 12: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

As arguably the top receiver in this year’s draft class, this would be an absolute steal. Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams were expected to form a dynamic receiving duo for the Raiders in 2019, but Brown’s brief and bizarre tenure combined with Williams’ injury struggles left the team with few consistent targets on the outside.

Kiper wrote: 

Lamb is a big-time playmaker with great hands who will step in, catch a bunch of passes and score touchdowns.

Whether the Raiders have Derek Carr or another veteran quarterback under center next season, Lamb would provide an immediate No. 1 option to bring some much-needed balance to coach Jon Gruden’s offense.

After a dominant, three-touchdown performance against Texas this season, Lamb even shouted out a Raiders legend with his postgame 'fit.

[RELATED: Raiders should pay attention to these 10 Senior Bowl stars]

No. 19: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

With one of the picks from the bounty acquired in the Khalil Mack trade with the Chicago Bears, Kiper has Las Vegas shoring up its linebacking corps with another Sooner.

Murray is a chiseled, gifted talent with great athleticism for his size (6-foot-2, 240). He needs to improve in coverage, but he has the speed to match tight ends in space and is so fun to watch on tape as a tackler and penetrator.

With five linebackers set to hit free agency, this is a major position of need for the Raiders. Murray had 102 tackles and four sacks for Oklahoma in his final collegiate season.

2020 Senior Bowl: Ten risers who Raiders should target in NFL draft

2020 Senior Bowl: Ten risers who Raiders should target in NFL draft

Like 27 other teams, some members of the Raiders have spent the week in Mobile trying to get a feel for a talented crop of NFL draft prospects at the Reese's Senior Bowl.

The Senior Bowl was vital to the Raiders' draft success last year, and there are a number of participants this year who can help the Raiders fill their litany of holes.

With three days of practice in the books, a handful of prospects stood out from the rest and it's a group the Raiders should have high on their draft board come April.

Here are 10 risers from the week of practice.

Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

I've written extensively about Herbert and why I believe he should be the Raiders quarterback of the future if Jon Gruden wishes to move on from Derek Carr.

Herbert has all the physical tools. He's mobile and has a rocket arm, but was inconsistent at Oregon, but showed scouts exactly what they wanted to see in Mobile.

He was accurate and on time in 1-on-1s, 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s, being named the Practice Player of the Week. NFL scouts have questions about his leadership which he can help put to rest Saturday by commanding the huddle in the game. 

Van Jefferson, WR, Florida

In a talented group of wide receivers, Jefferson stood at the top of the class.

The 6-foot-2, 196-pound receiver is a polished route-runner with good hands and burst off the line. 

He made a number of impressive catches and showed good footwork throughout the week.

Jason Strowbridge, DL, North Carolina

He entered the week as a Day 3 guy, but Strowbridge might have moved up to Day 2 with his showing in Mobile. 

The North Carolina product showed great quickness and hand usage during drills. He can play inside and outside and could be a nice addition to the Raiders' pass rush rotation. 

K.J. Hill, WR, Ohio State

I mentioned Hill earlier in the week as a guy the Raiders should target, and he didn't disappoint.

The Ohio State product had a down senior season but he's a good route-runner who creates separation well and has great hands. He'd fit nicely as Gruden looks to "let it fly" more.

Troy Pride Jr., CB, Notre Dame

Pride came into the week needing to impress after a subpar final season in South Bend.

The 5-foot-11 cornerback locked down everyone that went against him this week. He has incredible speed and should be a Day 2 pick.

Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor

Have I mentioned this wide receiver class is deep? It's silly.

The Baylor product caught just about everything in his zip code this week. He high-pointed the ball well, was quick out of his breaks and showed impressive catch radius.

For a team that needs at least three receivers, the Raiders have to be loving this draft.

Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio State

Harrison is more of a run-stopping linebacker, but he showed he can cover as well this week.

He was constantly around the ball and made plays like this:

If the Raiders don't go LB with one of their first-round picks, Harrison is a guy they should grab on Day 2.

Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton

Yes, I know the Raiders already have Darren Waller, who is a budding star and Foster Moreau was a touchdown magnet during his rookie season.

But in the offensive age of football where the more weapons you have the better, Trautman is an intriguing piece.

He's 6-foot-5 and fit right in with Division I talent despite being from an FCS program, showing great skill as both a receiver and a blocker.

Davon Hamilton, DL, Ohio State

A fringe Day 2 prospect entering the week, Hamilton showed great power and quickness against his peers. He showed some secondary moves and was able to re-establish the line of scrimmage.

Certainly, a guy who could help the Raiders upfront.

[RELATED: Raiders should follow NFL draft blueprint, raid LSU-Clemson]

Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne

I've done so much talking about the versatility of Clemson star Isaiah Simmons that it would be negligent for me not to bring up Dugger to close this risers piece.

He was one of the most dominant players on the practice field in Mobile, showing good body control, footwork and play-making ability.

Dugger could have a hybrid LB/S role in the NFL much like Simmons, and would be a big help to a Raiders defense that is lacking play makers.