Unless the Oakland Raiders get a miracle and make it into the playoff, there’s only one more week of football for the team. With such little time left in the season, Oakland has been kicking the tires on a few young players. This trend continued on Tuesday as the Raiders claimed former San Francisco defensive lineman Jeremiah Valoago off waivers.
In a corresponding move, the team sent defensive back Nick Nelson to the injured reserve. Nelson was just recently promoted from the practice squad but got hurt early in the game against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.
Valoago was a late-season addition for the 49ers and was recently waived by the team. He played in four games for them and accumulated two tackles. He originally signed with the Detriot Lions as an undrafted free agent in 2017 where he played nine games and notched one sack. He eventually made his way to the Miami Dolphins where he was a member of their practice squad for the 2018 season.
He had a long, five-year tenure in college at UNLV, so he’s very familiar with the Raiders’ future home.
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Johnathan Hankins Restructures Deal With Raiders
One of the unsung heroes on the Raiders’ defensive line is Johnathan Hankins. He’s been one of the team’s best run stoppers all season but doesn’t get a ton of fanfare because he doesn’t sack the quarterback often and only has one on the season. That shouldn’t discount the impact he’s had on the defense this season. Thanks to his strong play, the Raiders have converted his roster bonus into a signing bonus, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.
As Yates mentions, this move is a good sign for Hankins’ future with the team. His spot on the roster wasn’t necessarily a given, but it’s looking like he’ll be joining the Raiders in Las Vegas. It shouldn’t’ be all that surprising considering the praise Jon Gruden gave the veteran in the offseason.
[Hankins] has arguably been our most improved player and most impactful defensive lineman so far,” said Gruden in August. “He’s got much better stamina, he can play hash to hash. I really like where he is, a lot.”
Can the Raiders Slow Down Drew Lock & Broncos on Sunday?
After a horrendous start to the season, the Denver Broncos have become a formidable team. Since they put rookie quarterback Drew Lock into the starting role, the team has gone 3-1, including an impressive win over a playoff-bound Houston Texans team. The Raiders had a pretty easy time with the Broncos in Week 1 of the season, but they’re playing like a different team now.
Their defense has figured things out and has returned to top form and now they’re a threat to score points. If the Raiders are going to win, they’re going to have run the ball. It’s clear the Gruden wants to run the ball early and often and control the game clock. It worked perfectly against the Broncos in Week 1 and it worked perfectly in Week 16 against the Los Angeles Chargers. With Josh Jacobs potentially returning from injury, expect the Raiders to pound the rock.