News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders
November 11, 2013
November 4, 2013
October 28, 2013
August 18, 2013
August 13, 2013
Running back Darren McFadden candidly answers questions about the 2013-14 Raiders.
April 27, 2013
Here's a summary of today's picks by the Raiders:
* Selected: 112th (fourth round)
* College: Arkansas
* Position: Quarterback
* Height, weight: 6-2, 218
* Selected: 172nd (sixth round)
* College: Colorado
* Position: Tight end
* Height, weight: 6-6, 269
* Selected: 181st (sixth round)
* College: Central Florida
* Position: Running back
* Height, weight: 6-2, 223
* Selected: 184th (sixth round)
* College: Tennessee
* Position: Tight end
* Selected: 205th (sixth round)
* College: Oklahoma
* Position: Defensive tackle
* Height, weight: 6-3, 308
* Selected: 209th (seventh round)
* College: San Diego State
* Position: Wide receiver
* Height, weight: 6-3, 205
* Selected: 233rd (seventh round)
* College: Missouri Western
* Position: Defensive end
* Height, weight: 6-4, 262
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie summed up the day like this:
"Well, we're excited that we added 10 new players. We feel like we got 10 young guys that will help this ballclub and I want to congratulate and say thanks to all the personnel staff and the coaching staff and everyone involved in this whole process. It was a, ended up being a good day. Ended up well, and we're excited for the future of the Raiders."
McKenzie on ending up with 10 picks after starting the draft with seven and if that was the plan:
"No, it developed that way. I mean, going into this today and the whole draft week I wanted to make sure we added seven good players. If we it happened to turn into five or 12, there was no way to determine that, especially going in to it. I didn't want to go into it making trades, but I did want to stay true to the board and if it tells me, hey, you should move down because of the value of it, then I'm going to look into it, I'll take the calls."
ALAMEDA - The Raiders made their second trade of the day. This time Oakland traded the 176th overall pick to Houston for the 184th pick (sixth round) and a seventh-round choice (233rd overall).
The Raiders used their first sixth-round pick on Colorado tight end Nick Kasa with the 172nd overall pick.
Kasa is a former defensive lineman who started 12 games on offense last season. He caught 25 passes for 291 yards and three touchdowns.
The Raiders used their second sixth-round choice on Central Florida running back Latavius Murray.
Murray ran for 1,106 yards and 15 touchdowns.
The Raiders used their third of four sixth-round selections on Tennessee tight end Mychal Rivera.
Rivera caught 36 passes for 562 yards and five touchdowns last season.
By Jason Jones
ALAMEDA - The Raiders traded down in the fourth round and used the pick on Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson.
Wilson (6-2, 218) threw for 3,387 yards with 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions as a senior. Wilson was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection as a junior when he passed for 3,638 yards with 24 touchdowns and six interceptions.
The Raiders traded for Matt Flynn to be their starting quarterback earlier this month. Terrelle Pryor is the other quarterback on the roster.
Wilson is a more of a traditional dropback passer along the lines of Flynn. Pryor would appear more suited for a system that would take advantage of his ability to run so Wilson would appear to have a good chance to be Flynn's backup.
Wilson said on a conference call with reporters that he looks at coming to Oakland as a chance to earn playing time as a rookie.
"I think any competitor would agree that they want to play, they want to start, they want to come in and work," Wilson said. "But talking to the coaches on the phone, they say, we want you to come in and compete your tail off, and that's my approach. Wherever that leads me, we'll see at the end of the day. Obviously we've got three pretty good guys in there and I'm going to come in and compete like crazy."
Wilson's production slipped as a senior in part due to a coaching change when Bobby Petrino was removed in the offseason following the controversy surrounding a mistress he'd given a job with the team.
If Wilson had left school after his junior season, he might have been selected earlier in the draft.
"Obviously, I think you, after things pan out you kind of look back and say, `Well, that wasn't certainly business-wise maybe the smarter thing,'" Wilson said. "But I'm always, the way I approach it, I know everybody else looks at and probably questions my judgment, but my thought is I wanted to be the most ready, prepared football player that I could be and I thought the only way I could do that would be to go back to school for my senior season, and I think, regardless of what happened, and where you go in the draft, I think I'm a more prepared football player by staying in school. In that regard, I'm extremely happy that I've got an opportunity, and still have an opportunity to stay in the NFL."
Wilson missed time last season with a concussion. He said there are no lingering affects and he's been cleared without limitations.
Wilson also got to know the Raiders coaching staff in the Senior Bowl. Even though Wilson played on the opposing team, Wilson said he was able to get to know the coaches through interviews with the Raiders at the Senior Bowl.
April 26, 2013
ALAMEDA - Raiders coach Dennis Allen discussed the Raiders two draft picks from today with the media.
Florida State tackle Menelik Watson was the Raiders' choice in the second round. Connecticut linebacker Sio Moore was the choice in the third round.
Q: How difficult is it to evaluate a guy like Watson who didn't play long?
A: Well, I think that when you look at a guy like that, I mean, No. 1, you look at where did he play? What was the level of competition? This guy played at Florida State at a very high level of competition. He played extremely well. We like his athleticism, we like the fact that he's been a boxer, he's been a basketball player. He's got excellent feet, and he's got great punch, and we think that's a good addition.
Q: Scouting reports say Watson doesn't always know what he's doing.
A: Well, I mean, obviously he hasn't been playing the position for a long time. But we've seen, it's not like we're taking a guy that was just a basketball player and we've never seen him play football. We've seen him play college football at a high level, and play really well. And this was a guy that we had rated as one of the top tacklers on the board, and he was available for us there in the second round, so we took him.
Q: Any idea where you will be placing either Watson or Moore?
A: Well, I think Sio Moore is an outside linebacker. He can play either SAM or WILL. He's a guy that could play either side. I think the great thing about either guys is we feel like both these guys can come in and compete and we can upgrade our football team. And as they get in and as they get a chance to work with our veteran players, they'll settle into exactly where we play them and how we play them.
Q: You like that Moore was mad he lasted until the third round?
A: I like the fact that... I'd rather him say that than say 'Gosh, I wish I'd got taken in the 7th round. I mean, you know, here's a guy that we had an opportunity to spend a lot of time at the Senior Bowl. That's one of the things that when you look at it, we spent a week with this guy; in the meeting rooms with him, in the dining hall with him, watching him interact with the other players. You talk about a guy that loves football. He really epitomizes when you talk about a guy that loves football. So, we're trying to get as many quality football players as we can and he fits that mold.
Q: Did getting to know Moore at the Senior Bowl intimately put him over the top with you?
A: No doubt. I mean, obviously you look at the tape and you see the qualities on the tape and you see the play on the tape - I think he had the tenth most tackles for loss in the NCAA last year - he's a guy that has that type of ability, but just being around that guy for a week, he's the type of guy that we want to bring into that locker room."
Q: Watson's learning curve from Saddleback College to Florida State show you something?
A: Absolutely, I think one of the things you look at with a guy like that is you look at tremendous upside. This guy's got tremendous upside. Having him here and having one of the top O-line coaches in the National Football League in my opinion in Tony Sparano, I have no doubt that this guy's gonna develop into a solid NFL player.
April 26, 2013
ALAMEDA - The Raiders selected Connecticut linebacker Sio Moore with their third-round selection in the NFL Draft, 66th overall.
Moore (6-1, 245) started 31-of-41 games for the Huskies and was an All-Big East Conference first-team selection. Moore had 72 tackles and eight sacks as a senior.
Moore played for the Raiders' coaching staff during the Senior Bowl.
Below are some quotes from Moore's conference call with local media.
Q: Is that right that you earned your way into the Senior Bowl by excelling in a lesser all-star game before?
A: Yessir. The thing with me is I was a guy that was overlooked and you know, I had to work my tail off each and every way in everything that I have to this day. I'm very appreciative and I'm very blessed to be where I'm at and what I have. And to go out there with the Oakland Raiders and work with Coach (Dennis) Allen, hand-in-hand and have conversations and talk with him, and be with Coach (Jason) Tarver everyday and tell Coach Tarver about myself, so they know how I am, how I practice, the person that I am and how I play with juice. And everything I do, I do with juice, which I got from my coach, my linebacker coach Jon Wholley, and it's just been a blessing, man, and I was glad they picked me up because I know that was the right fit because...they know me and they didn't need to do the interview process and all those things. Like I said from the beginning of this whole draft process, there's going to be one team that's going to fall in love and make the right pick and there's going to be 31 other teams that are going to be pissed off. The Oakland Raiders got the best linebacker in the draft, I don't care who went before.
Q: How do you see yourself fitting in, then?
A: Hey, man, being a special teams war daddy and just going out there, if they allow me to play linebacker or whatever position, really doing everything possible I can to help that team win. I'm about winning and I'm about changing culture and being a leader. So, whenever I go out there, the first thing I'm going to do is do everything I can to prove to my coaches that they can trust me and then prove to my teammates that they can trust me as well. It's great that I have a former teammate out there -- Tyvon Branch. He actually brought me in on my official visit (to UConn) and took me around campus. So it's funny.
Q: Heard from Tyvon yet, then?
A: I have not heard. I don't know if he texted me yet because I got like 180 text messages right now so, once I'm able to sort through them, I bet he probably did, because I got a lot of calls and text messages. But I bet he did because we're a family over there at UConn, man. It don't matter when you come in or not. We're real close over there. That's the difference between us and a bunch of other programs. We're family and we're real people.
Q: What was your linebacker role at UConn and does it translate to something specific in NFL?
A: Truthfully when I was at UConn my coaches put me in a position to play each and every position on the field regardless of me being a true linebacker. I played Sam, I played Will, I played like a down free safety, I even played a bit of off corner, I played a d-end with his hand in the ground and a two-point.
Q: You didn't kick?
A: I didn't kick. I probably could have. The good thing about it man is Coach Tarver knows I can play a bunch of different roles. They've seen it firsthand. I think it's not just I can play, they've seen my energy throughout the game when we played. I play with a lot of energy, a lot of passion. You can see it. I'm just glad to be a part of that. Whatever position they have me in, I'm going to do whatever I can to win.
Q: Anything said at Senior Bowl like you could be a Raider?
A: It was actually funny because Coach Tarver left me a voicemail saying how much he wanted me, good luck in the process and they would look to get me and they would do everything possible so that he could get me and he ended up doing it. I'm glad that was able to happen. That says something about his word and what he was able to do. I appreciate people who can put their word to what they say.
Q: Who called?
A: I actually got on the phone, to tell you the truth I was so excited I don't remember exactly the first person I talked to. But I know I talked Mr. McKenzie the GM, he asked me if I wanted to be a Raider and I said 'Come on, you know I want to do that.' He said we're going to go ahead and put the card in and pull you in. I was like, I have a home.
Q: Why is he the best linebacker in the draft?
A: I'm not a guy that hasn't done any and everything on the field. I've played every position on the field and done so in a productive manner and have the film to prove it. I'm not a guy you have to say 'Oh, he can do this or we can have him do that.' I've done every aspect of the game and I've been productive and each and every one. I have the film to prove it unlike a lot of other linebackers. The coaches know that. For me, I take that and use that not to brag and boast but as a chip on my shoulder because even though I can do a bunch of things I'm still overlooked. It's a shame but it's also a blessing because it's the reason why I'm pissed off. Going to Oakland they're going to get a pissed off linebacker that wants to prove why he's the best linebacker coming out this year. I don't care about the guys drafted before me. I play with juice. None of those guys are as hungry as me. None of those guys want to work as hard as me. I'm going to make sure wherever I go, whoever I'm with I'm going to outwork them.
Q: Think you can start right away?
A: I plan on coming in and giving everything I have. With me giving everything I have , I don't look back because I know if I can give everything that I have I'm going to put myself in the best position and that's to win and be the greatest linebacker and greatest player.
April 26, 2013
ALAMEDA - The Raiders used their second-round pick on Florida State offensive tackle Menelik Watson.
Watson (6-5, 310) is originally from England and came to America to play basketball at Marist College in 2009. After redshirting, Watson started 13 of 29 games, averaging 4.7 points and 3.3 rebounds and was a team captain.
Watson would give up basketball and transfer to Saddleback Community College where he took up football and started seven of his eight games in 2011. Watson transferred to Florida State for the 2012 season where he as All-ACC honorable mention.
Watson started 12 of 13 games at right tackle for the Seminoles.
Below are some quotes from Watson's conference call with local media:
Q: How much contact had you had with with the Raiders leading up to the draft?
A: I didn't have much contact. I knew Zack Crockett, a former Seminole, and he was excited about me meeting with the Raiders at the combine. It was nice to sit down with them for 15 minutes and that was virtually it. And that's all it was. So it was a big surprise for me, a very happy surprise.
Q: Last year Raiders took Jack Crawford, British import out of Penn State , follow his path?
A: Yeah. I know Jack Crawford . . . we played against each other when we were 15, 16 years old in the English national championship game, and we actually beat them by 25 points. But Jack was one of the top prospects in England, and parts of Europe, at the time, he was really good. When he got drafted last year, text him and congratulate him too.
Q: How go from basketball to football?
A : At the time, when I was playing basketball, things just happened at Marist and things had happened in my life where I needed a change and I was just planning on going back to Europe and get a job. Actually, I didn't know what I was going to do. I was going home with no plan. But before I left, a lot of people were telling me to play football, and I'd seen what happened with Jack Crawford when he went to the states. My friend Matt Williams, who plays football at Cal-Berkeley, he had a similar situation. They all did it from the prep school level, but I was trying to convert from the college level. And I did it, and when I got on the field I just found a love and passion for the physicality of it and just the history of the sport, too.
Q: How does experience playing basketball, soccer and boxing help you developing as a football player?
A: Just, footwork, the soccer, the footwork, being able to do things with your feet that just become second-nature, the passing, and then basketball is more-so, seeing angles, and cutting off players and being able to move your feet and shift and understand degrees and leverages and things like that. With the boxing, just my hands, being able to strike, being disciplined, knowing when to strike. Knowing in football you've got a short window, and if you do strike and move your hands at the wrong time, the defender's going to use it to his ability.
Q: When first starting playing football, find the game a bit baffling?
A: You know, I found it baffling because I didn't understand a thing that was going on. I remember in our first practice, we were in a pass play and I didn't know you were supposed to upfield on a pass play. So I just grabbed this defensive end and just ran him all the way up the field about 10 yards ... down there at Saddleback (the team) was watching film (with the coach), and he was like, `Son, you can't do that.' It's a pass play and he was like, `Oh, my God, what am I working with.' But then I starting learning what was pass and run, and once I did that it was fairly easy.
Q: Why offensive tackle, a coaches decision, someone leave you there?
A: Well, I went out there, I went out for defense and I had good day on defense, but I wasn't really sure if it was the right fit, and Kyle Long, you know, son of Howie, he was there with me at the time, and as we were walking up the field he told me that, I should change my jersey and come to offense, c'mon, you're going to play offensive line. So I went out there and they were like, we like you at tackle. So obviously, Kyle played left tackle so I went over to the right side and it was really comfortable and really easy, just pass setting on the ends and being able to naturally set angles and have the feet keep up with the quick guys.
Q: How long did it take for football to become second nature for you?
A: was doing well, but a lot of times I didn't really understand like the assignment-type things. So I went out there, and go half-speed, but once I got I would say like about my second game in, third game in, I knew who I could get, I was like, 'Perfect, now I can go over and just smash him in the face or run him off the field or block him and stuff.' So after that, everything just started speeding up after that."
Q: Have you played on the left side?
A: No, I've done a few things on the left side. Saddleback used to do a lot of heavy sets where I'd go over, outside the left tackle and run some plays out there. And this whole offseason I've been working with some coaches, working out of a left-side stance and stuff like that. I mean, I'm ready to do whatever. I think there's no limit to where I can play or what I can do. I'm sure once I've got two or three snaps at left tackle and there's a guy trying to come at me, I'm sure instincts will kick in and I'll be able to handle myself over there.
Q: At what point did you think you had a shot at the NFL?
A: You know what's funny. I wrote this draft when I was leaving Marist, and hopefully one day I'll be able to share it with you guys. And the draft was just basically explaining who I am and where I'm from. I said in that letter, I wrote that with the chance, I know I can play at the highest level, in the NFL. I just knew that with the right coaching and the right situation, and obviously disciplined enough to go out there and put in the extra time, I knew that it was possible."
Q: Consider yourself a raw player?
A: No, I don't consider myself raw. There's been a lot of talk, 'he's raw,' and all this stuff. I don't consider myself raw. I just think the way I do things is a lot different than the way than the traditional. Obviously there's still a lot of techniques I need to learn. But the great thing about football is that, more so than other sports, you never really learn everything. There's still things you can improve on, especially when you start aging, there's other things you can learn to your advantage. But I definitely do know there's a lot of technical things I need to polish up, per se, not necessarily consider it being raw."
Q: Did you ever talk to Howie Long about the Raiders?
A: You know what's funny, Howie gave me a lot of advice when I first started playing football. I used to ask him about it and stuff and I know the game has changed from when he was playing and I've seen a few of his highlights but he said he loved it. He said he loved. He just told me about the fans. The funny thing is when I got the call from you guys, when I was a kid I knew nothing about American football but I had a Oakland Raiders jersey for some reason and I don't know where it came from or how we got it. I think it was my older brother's but I don't know how he got it. I always used to wear this Oakland Raiders jersey so it's real strange that I was drafted by them.
Q: Which number was that jersey?
A: I'm not sure. I can find out. It's still back home too, it's in my wardrobe back in England.
Q: Did you even know what the jersey referred to?
A: I had no clue. I had no clue. I kind of heard of the NFL, never watched it. It never was really televised but I'd heard of it. I knew it was a football league but I used to think it was similar to rugby. And English people would say yeah it's like rugby but they stop every minute. That was my impression.
Q: Was that something you just wanted to try...wanted to be likeLennox Lewis?
A: Well my coach from always wanted me to get in the boxing ring because he always saw the force I used to dunk the basketball with. And I did find some interest but I'm not really to keen on participating in indivualistic sports. That's why I kind of love the offensive line because we're a unit. If one messes up we all mess up. And if we all do well, we all celebrate together. No one really gives us the love or puts us in the papers or stuff like that. But we know what we did, we know what we did right and that's the type of person I am. I'm a big team sport guy.
April 26, 2013
Join Jason Jones for a live chat on the Raiders' first round NFL draft picks and the team's upcoming moves. The discussion begins today at noon, following Matt Barrows on the 49ers at 11 a.m.
April 25, 2013
ALAMEDA - After trading down from the third overall selection, the Raiders used the 12th pick in the first round to select Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden.
The Raiders swapped places with Miami in the first round, and also acquired Miami's second-round pick (42nd overall) in the deal. Miami selected Oregon pass rusher Dion Jordan at No. 3.
Hayden was the player the Raiders wanted all along, according to general manager Reggie McKenzie.
McKenzie said the Raiders would have selected Hayden third if no deal was possible.
"Once we declare our draft board, we're gonna follow it," McKenzie said. "We're not gonna try to fill this need and fill that need and go into the offseason saying 'We got players that we needed.' We want to get players that we think make a difference. We want difference-makers, guys that can make plays. And that's where he was on our board."
Hayden doesn't come without concerns. His final season at Houston ended last November after a freak accident in practice.
Hayden was hit in the chest and tore a large vein, the inferior vena cava, which carries blood from the lower half of the body back up to the heart.
Hayden said he feared he might not walk again, much less play football after the accident.
Hayden has been medically cleared and looks forward to getting back on the field.
"I'm definitely looking forward to getting hit because I just want to see how it feels," Hayden said. "But I should be fine. I've been play fighting with all my friends and they've been punching me in my chest and I can take they're punches so I'm pretty sure I'll be all right. I just have to get out there and shake the rust off."
Raiders coach Dennis Allen said Hayden (5-11, 191) has the ability to be a playmaker on a defense that needs help in the secondary.
"He can cover man-to-man, he's got great speed, he's got great quickness," Allen said. "He's got the ability to play both off and press coverage, and really one of the things I really look at is, how does the guy make plays on the ball, specifically the ball down the field, and he does a tremendous job of that."
Hayden was an All-Conference USA selection after his senior season. He had four interceptions, returning two for touchdowns, a school record.
ALAMEDA - For those looking to spark a Matt Flynn vs. Terrelle Pryor debate heading into organized team activities, you can go ahead and end that chatter.
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said Flynn would begin OTAs as the starting quarterback.
"As we begin the OTA period we're gonna begin with Matt Flynn," McKenzie said at is pre-draft press conference. "Now, the quarterback who will be on the roster from that point on, they will all compete so... and like I said guys, every position it's all about getting players that can play and compete."
This comes as no surprise. McKenzie knows Flynn from his time in Green Bay. McKenzie spoke on what Flynn brings to the Raiders:
"Two things that I feel is important and that's presence as far as leadership and how to move a team down the field and knowing how to do it, he has all the intangibles. I think he can play the position. He can throw the ball and I think he's gonna be a solid quarterback. Now, how good can he be? We'll figure that out but he's got a chance to be a good, solid quarterback. He hasn't played a lot of games so that's what's ahead of him is to see what's ahead of him. He'll get in here, compete, and try to show his team and coaches if he can play. The coaching staff probably doesn't know. I'm probably the guy who knows him best and I feel good that he can play the position."
As for the NFL Draft, McKenzie spoke on the possibilities for the Raiders this weekend. McKenzie said "Yeah" when asked if he knew who the Raiders wanted with the third pick in the draft.
He said the Raiders would take the best player available and that you can't draft for need, especially with a first-round pick.
Here's more from McKenzie:
On weighing whether to use the No. 3 as opposed to trading it and maybe getting back into the second round:
"You know what, it's whichever deal is going to help the Raiders the most and if it's staying there and taking the pick, we'll weigh that versus what's on the floor, what's being offered. In some cases, the offer may be too good to pass up. So, that's going to depend, it really will."
On whether to make a deal once the Raiders are on the clock.
"Well, I'm not going to worry about it. We're picking third and when our time comes we're going to make the best decision for the Raiders. I'm not going to worry too much about what one and two are doing. Of course, they've got first and second choice and we get the third choice. And who they like compared to who we like nobody knows. We'll just sit there and wait, and we're not going to worry about the others."
On relying on the scouts:
"You take into account a whole lot of what the scouts tell you. That's the way I've been taught and that's the way I believe is the right way to do it. You get the input from not only the coaches, but my in-house scouts also, and you're talking about comparing and contrasting, with our own personnel, personnel around the league, to determine the value of the player, what the player can and can't do in this league. You value all information, but the information that the scouts give us, that information is vital."
On having director of college scouting Shaun Herock to work with:
"That's what it is, it's a commonality of it. It's not who can do this and who can do that, because some of the guys that were here last year, they were good. But it's good, the guys I brought on board, there is a common denominator in that we know each other and we know what each other likes. We know the type of player that it would take to not only to win, but to produce at each position. The conversations probably are quicker, trying to get a feel for what Shaun is explaining to me on a particular player, I kind of know the kind of player he likes. From that standpoint, it's easier."
On how the Senior Bowl helped:
"A great deal, a great deal. Any time you get to sit and have dinner with a group of players and watch them play video games and just listen to them fraternize among each other you get to kid around with them and their guard is down. Other than being in a combine setting when they know a million interviews are going on and they'll be on their Ps and Qs. Not saying they weren't on their Ps and Qs at the Senior Bowl but when they're around their teammates you can kind of see a little bit more of the real them. I would do that again in a New York minute if they ask me. But I don't wish to be coaching in the Senior Bowl much. The timing wouldn't be right."
April 23, 2013
The Oakland Raiders have the third pick in Thursday's NFL draft. Will they rebuild up front with defensive tackle Sharrif Flloyd of Florida? Jason Jones hosts this live chat.