By most accounts, OTAs were a big success for the Oakland Raiders. Everybody knows the Raiders roster is filled with big personalities, but there were hardly any negative headlines to come out of the practices. The only negative headlines came from people who weren’t happy about the signing of Richie Incognito. There hasn’t been much that has come from Incognito himself, but things seem to quiet on that front.
Also, a good sign is that Jon Gruden and Antonio Brown have started off their relationship strong. The two men are very outspoken, so a harmonious relationship between the head coach and the star wideout could mean good things for the Raiders going forward.
There haven’t been any reports of disgruntled players. Gruden made sure to get rid of any players that didn’t want to be under him and a lot of the new faces seem to be happy to play under the former face of Monday Night Football. There were some absences, but those seemed to be justified so don’t expect any drama there.
The most exciting thing to come out of OTAs was seeing how some of the new players look in silver and black. There were several guys that have already started to make a name for themselves.
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One player that consistently made big plays was new wide receiver Tyrell Williams. For a big man, Williams can fly and has established himself as a serious deep threat. Williams was expected to be the number two guy at wideout behind Antonio Brown after the Raiders signed him this offseason and he’s done little to cast any doubt that he’s the man for the job. Quarterback Derek Carr called Williams a “technician” and more than just “a big, raw body.” Williams and Brown should form a formidable duo in 2019.
Fourth overall pick in this year’s draft Clelin Ferrell was on the receiving end of praise from both teammates and coaches. Early reports that there was worry Ferrell wasn’t “mean enough” seem overblown at this point. New Raider linebacker Vontaze Burfict said that “[Ferrell’s] a rookie, but I swear he’s been here for like five years.” Ferrell’s development will be invaluable to Raider defensive line that only mustered 13 sacks a season ago.
“He has complete understanding, so there’s certain things that he knows that are going to occur during the course of a season, so he’s able to adjust it, adjust us, tell us we can play a backside gap on this, he’ll cover us, or whatever. He’s real easy to talk to and just a great teammate overall.”
Another first-round pick in safety Johnathan Abram has also been turning heads with his confidence. He’s expected to sure up the defensive backfield with another former first-round pick Karl Joseph. Fourth-round pick Maxx Crosby has been wowing coaches with his athletism. Defensive coordinator compared Crosby to a “Cadilac” and noted how he quick he is off the ball. Crosby is expected to compete for a starting spot opposite Ferrell in 2019.
While there’s is only so much new information that can come out from non-contact practices, all signs point to an exciting training camp in Napa. Not a lot of came out about rookie running back Josh Jacobs or second-round pick cornerback Trayvon Mullen, but expect to hear their names a lot more as the offseason rolls on.