The work doesn’t stop for the Las Vegas Raiders as they’ve been quick about bringing on some undrafted free agents. The first name they reportedly signed was Javin White out of UNLV. They quickly followed that up by signing former Utah State wide receiver George Mariner, according to Aaron Wilson.
Mariner was one of the primary targets for new Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love. He led the team with 987 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. He was Second-Team All-Mountain West and Academic All-Mountain West in 2019. The 6’2 wide receiver is from Tustin, California and also played football for the Utah Utes before transferring. His numbers are pretty good for a player who didn’t get drafted. Considering the Raiders drafted two wide receivers with a lot of upside, Mariner has a long road to try and make the team. He’s going to have to stand out early and often in training camp.
Raiders Also Sign MSU DL Mike Panasiuk
Suspiciously, the Raiders didn’t address the defensive line at all in the draft. The rumor was that they could take a defensive tackle in the first round, but that turned out to be untrue. The team remained patient and were able to land former Michigan State defensive tackle Mike Panasiuk, per Vincent Bonsignore.
Panisiuk wasn’t expected to get drafted, but he was a productive player for the Spartans. In his last two years in college, he nabbed 15.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. He’s a large man at 6’4 and 300 pounds. The Raiders added Maliek Collins in the offseason and there aren’t any obvious openings at defensive tackle. Similar with Mariner, it’s a long shot Panisiuk will make the roster. However, Las Vegas has been really good about giving undrafted free agents a fair shake, so he’ll get his shot.
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GM Mike Mayock Sounds off on Draft
This was a big draft for the Raiders. They were in the playoff race for most of the season in 2019 but came up short. They were only a couple of pieces away from becoming contenders. It remains to be seen how the new players will perform, but things are looking up for the silver and black. While general manager Mike Mayock is happy with his draft, he understands that every other team in the NFL got better over the last few days.
“I have a lot of respect for a lot of people. I texted a good friend of mine yesterday who is a GM and said to him, ‘I love your draft. You stay patient every year and you trust your board.’ It sounds really simple, but it’s so frickin’ hard to do,” Mayock said on a post-draft conference call. “That’s what they’ve done for years and that’s what Jon and I have been talking about ever since I’ve been here. We’re joined together at the hip. Let’s be patient, let’s trust board. We’ve done all the work. We really don’t care what anybody outside our building thinks. We have one goal and that’s winning the Super Bowl.”
The Raiders did make some questionable picks early in the draft, but Mayock earned respect after last year’s strong showing. If he nailed it again, Las Vegas could be making their way to the playoffs in 2020.