The Las Vegas Raiders made Nevin Lawson the first player to sign a contract extension since the team changed the name and they quickly followed that up by giving two defenders the first reserve/futures contracts. Per the team’s official Twitter page, the Raiders have signed cornerback Ken Crawley and defensive end Kendal Vickers.
Crawley is the more notable of the two as he started 25 games for the New Orleans Saints over a little more than three seasons with the team. He was originally brought on as an undrafted free agent in 2016 and quickly became a starter. The Saints have allowed a significant amount of passing yards over the last few seasons and that’s with Marshon Lattimore, who is considered one of the best pass defenders in the NFL. Crawley started a lot of games next to him and there’s a reason the team cut him after only one game in 2019.
He made his way to the Miami Dolphins after getting cut but didn’t last long there before he they also let him go. The Raiders have shown a knack for going after defenders with starting experience who fell out of favor with their previous team. That’s what happened with Daryl Worley and the team is quite high on him. Considering the Raiders have also struggled greatly in pass defense over the last few seasons, it can’t hurt to try and bring in more veteran talent.
Kendal Vickers Was Recently in the CFL
The Raiders have now looked to the CFL to fill in a number of openings with the addition of Kendal Vickers. Though he wasn’t a CFL All-Star like a couple of other players the team added, Vickers did snag a couple of sacks with the Edmonton Eskimos. He had a brief stint in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans but never got a chance to see the field.
At just 24-years old, Vickers will by trying to vie for a spot on an already very young defensive line.
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Raiders Continue to Value Youth
Based on Jon Gruden’s early career and his first year back with the Raiders, it was looking like he’d always try to fill his teams with seasoned veterans. However, 2019 proved that Gruden has changed his thought process and has started to rely on youth a lot more. Almost every player the team has signed to a contract this offseason has been under the age of 27.
Yes, there older veterans like Richie Incognito on the squad, but they can’t have all young players. Considering how much the rookies did for the Raiders in 2019, it seems like a recipe for success. Armed with more high draft picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, expect the team to also rely heavily on rookies this upcoming season. The Raiders have desperate needs at wide receiver and linebacker. It’s looking very likely that rookies will be the ones filling in those roles. If Mike Mayock and company can draft like they did in his first year, this draft class could help catapult the Raiders into the playoffs.