The NFL season may still be going on, but that hasn’t kept the Raiders from trying to get a head start on the offseason. They’ve already signed several young players to reserve/futures deals and now they’ve added a couple of more. The team announced on Tuesday that they have signed running back Mark Thompson and linebacker Nick Usher.
Both players are either 25 or younger and figure to be offseason bodies. The Raiders have shown an affinity for young talent and it looks like they plan to kick the tires on quite a few young players this offseason. This team has shown willingness to give undrafted players chances, so this an ideal situation for any young, forgotten player.
Thompson Has Bounced Around the NFL
Mark Thompson was a junior college transfer when he was playing in the NCAA. He spent two years with the Florida Gators but didn’t accumulate many yards during his tenure there. He went to the Baltimore Ravens in 2018 as an undrafted free agent and looked impressive in the preseason, accumulating 146 rushing yards on 31 carries.
Thompson didn’t end up making the Ravens during final roster cuts, but they did give him a chance on the practice squad. After spending some time there, he eventually made his way to the New York Jets and spent the rest of the 2018 season on their practice squad.
He then made his way to Detroit to play for the Lions. Unfortunately, he didn’t get a chance to play in any regular-season games for the team. The Raiders will have some openings at running back if either Jalen Richard and/or DeAndre Washington decide to leave in free agency. The team has also brought in star CFL running back William Stanback in on a reserves/futures contract. The two could be battling for a spot on the Raiders’ practice squad once training camp rolls around.
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Usher Was Recently in the CFL
Speaking of the CFL, Nick Usher most recently was calling Edmonton home while he played for the Eskimos. The linebacker accumulated 36 tackles, six sacks and forced three fumbles during the 2019 season, according to 3 Down Nation.
Usher played college football University of Texas at El Paso. He was originally signed by the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent in 2017. He eventually made his way to the New England Patriots where he got to see some preseason action. He didn’t make the team in 2018 during final roster cuts. That’s when he headed to Canada to play on the Eskimos’ practice squad. In eight games during the 2018 season, he had seven tackles, one sack and a forced fumble.
The Raiders have struggled greatly at linebacker for years. They actually brought Usher in for a workout shortly before the season ended, but didn’t end up signing him then. He won’t be the answer for the team at linebacker, but the team is going to do their due diligence in trying to figure out the linebacker problem.