Jordy Nelson

Jordy Nelson's presence felt in Raiders receiver corps

jordyap.jpg
AP

Jordy Nelson's presence felt in Raiders receiver corps

ALAMEDA – Jordy Nelson was the biggest name to join the Raiders this offseason. A two-year contract brought the veteran receiver to Oakland days after Green Bay released him, and he’s already made a major impact on his position group.

Quarterback Derek Carr has lauded Nelson’s leadership, and his involvement with younger players in an overhauled position group. That has been clear during a productive offseason program that has just a three-day minicamp remaining.

“We’ve put in a few good months here in the meeting rooms and on the practice field,” Nelson said Thursday, after helping coach a prep passing league tournament at Raiders HQ. “We have another week to go, but we’ve done well.”

Nelson may be the biggest name among the new guys, but he isn't the only established receiver to join the Silver and Black. Martavis Bryant was acquired from Pittsburgh for a third-round pick during the NFL Draft, and has impressed Nelson in a few short weeks. 

“He’s very talented,” Nelson said. “Everyone has seen what Martavis has done in Pittsburgh. He’s another threat to put out there in the passing game. He’s another big threat as well. We have a few big guys to line up and hopefully create some mismatches. We’re looking forward to him playing with us. We’re excited to see him get on the field and get after it.”

Nelson has helped Bryant and other receivers hit the ground running this offseason. He’s involved in meetings and game plans, trying to be as quarterback friendly as possible.

“Nothing is just being left under the rug,” Carr said last week. “Nothing is just being thrown out the window and not thought about. Jordy is very detailed. He wants to do everything exactly how you want it done. I see why Aaron (Rodgers) loved throwing him the ball. He knows if you’re comfortable, you’ll throw it to them. I think all the guys are taking note of that.”

The Raiders hoped to add production and leadership with Nelson’s acquisition. The 32-year old has a long track record of success in the NFL, save a down period save a stretch last year after Rodgers got hurt.

Nelson won’t be a motivational speaker, but his professionalism could set an example for an otherwise young receiver corps.

“When you add a guy like that, it just trickles down throughout the whole room of guys just their study habits,” Carr said. “You see Jordy off to the side when another group is in, if you just look over there, he is probably just telling somebody something about a route or a technique or a coverage. He’s very smart. He can read coverage like a quarterback.”

Gruden has dramatically changed Raiders receiver corps

Gruden has dramatically changed Raiders receiver corps

The Raiders receiver corps has undergone an overhaul. It started back in mid-March, when the Silver and Black acquired Jordy Nelson and cut Michael Crabtree the same day.

Head coach Jon Gruden didn’t stop there. He sought upgrades throughout the depth chart in a relentless pursuit -- Eric Decker and Ryan Grant made Alameda free-agent visits -- that continued through the NFL draft.

That's when he shipped a third-round pick to Pittsburgh for Martavis Bryant. Then he drafted Oklahoma State’s Marcel Ateman in the seventh. Ryan Switzer came west from Dallas just after that pick, acquired for defensive tackle Jihad Ward.

And, just like that, Gruden shook up the entire position group. It’s possible only Amari Cooper will be the only member of last year’s crew to survive this twister. A few more incumbents could make the cut, but nothing’s given now.

“We’ve got a competitive situation here at wide receiver,” Gruden said. “So I like that.”

Gruden loves the newest front-line addition. Bryant brings a new dimension to the Raiders offense, with raw speed to scare opposing defenses. He’s a big target who can be effective at all depths, and should draw attention that creates space for Cooper and Nelson.

Gruden knew that after covering Bryant in Pittsburgh many times as a broadcaster. Those facts are being reinforced over the last week working directly with him.

“Let me tell you, he brings a different dynamic,’ Gruden said.” He’s 6-foot-4 and he plays it. He’s 4.4- (second 40-yard dash) fast and he plays it. We just have to get him wired into the offense and Jordy Nelson’s experience and versatility has really been impressive that it’s allowed us to do some things in just a few days that is pretty cool. We like our receivers, and we think Martavis will make you think twice about doing some things.”

Barring injury, Cooper, Nelson and Bryant will be primary targets. That pushes Seth Roberts into a different role, and he’ll be challenged there, too. Switzer was an impactful college slot receiver, a major reason why Dallas used a fourth round pick on him last year. He was primarily a returner as a rookie, and never fit into Dallas’ offensive plans.

He’ll get a chance to earn an offensive role while working for a return job.

“I liked Switzer a lot at North Carolina,” Gruden said. “He’s a fourth-round draft choice. He was Mitch Trubisky’s go-to guy. (Washington head coach Jay Gruden) doesn’t like Switzer. He took an 83-yard punt home against him last year. That’s what he can do. We want a lot of competition for the punt returner job. Dwayne Harris is very good at it. Jalen Richard has done it before. Switzer is outstanding and can also return kickoffs. I think he’s got some nasty quickness in the slot.”

Harris should be part of the receiver corps, though primary focus will be on special teams. Ateman will battle for an offensive role with Roberts, Johnny Holton and Isaac Whitney, guys who played some last year. No spots are certain beyond the top three, and guys must be sure-handed, disciplined route runners to earn a remaining spot on this team.

Admitted 'cheap guy' Jordy Nelson makes good on claim, picks new number

jordynelson-cook-usatsi.jpg
USATSI

Admitted 'cheap guy' Jordy Nelson makes good on claim, picks new number

Nearly one month ago, new Raiders wide receiver Jordy Nelson was asked about whether he'd make a deal with tight end Jared Cook for No. 87.

"If he charges $1 for it, I don’t think I’ll pay. I’m a pretty cheap guy. I’ll have to work on my negotiating skills and see what we can do and what not. We’ll see. I haven’t looked at any of that. Never even thought about that coming in to this team or any other team that I was possibly going to go to. So, I’m not a big guy to worry about that stuff. I’ll figure out some number and we’ll go play football," Nelson said on March 15.

On Monday, Nelson made good on that claim that he wouldn't pay up as the Raiders announced that he will wear No. 82 this upcoming season.

The last player to wear No. 82 for the Raiders was tight end Gabe Holmes in 2016.

The other notable number change is 2017 first-round pick Gareon Conley, who is changing from No. 22 to No. 21.

Here's the full list of the new jersey numbers from the Raiders:
Defensive end Armonty Bryant – 98
Defensive lineman Tank Carradine – 96
Tight end Derek Carrier – 85
Long snapper Andrew DePaola – 48
Tackle Breno Giacomini – 68
Safety Marcus Gilchrist – 31
Cornerback Senquez Golson – 40
Cornerback Leon Hall – 29
Wide receiver/Return specialist Dwayne Harris – 17
Quarterback Josh Johnson – 8
Linebacker Emmanuel Lamur – 54
Running back Doug Martin – 28
Cornerback Rashaan Melvin – 22
Wide receiver Jordy Nelson – 82
Defensive back Shaquille Richardson – 39
Fullback Keith Smith – 41
Punter Colby Wadman – 6
Wide receiver Griff Whalen – 13
Linebacker Tahir Whitehead – 59
Linebacker Kyle Wilber – 58
Cornerback Shareece Wright – 35

Changes From 2017 Season:
Cornerback Gareon Conley – 21
Safety Erik Harris – 25
Defensive back Darius Hillary – 38
Offensive lineman Ian Silberman – 67