The Las Vegas Raiders‘ practice squad has gotten leaner on young talent since the New York Giants poached Madre Harper from them. They haven’t found an intriguing replacement just yet but that could change. According to NFL Draft Diamonds, the Raiders are working out former CAL U PA safety Lamont McPhatter.
McPhatter is a very interesting prospect for a number of reasons. He played at a Division II school and was dominant. He was named as an All-America multiple times and had 12 interceptions while he was in college. McPhatter doesn’t’ have elite size at 5’11 but he was very productive in college. Obviously, he was doing this against lesser competition but that doesn’t mean there’s no upside with him.
McPhatter has largely been ignored by teams thus far and the Raiders appear to be the first team willing to work him out. Perhaps he could be a big surprise and find a spot on the team’s practice squad. The Raiders have been very good to undrafted free agents in the past.
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Raiders Coach Praises Isaiah Johnson
The Raiders’ defensive backfield has had a very tough time this season. Rookie first-round pick Damon Arnette is on the injured reserve and the group just hasn’t played well outside of Trayvon Mullen. The team’s secondary is very young and one player who’s been asked to do a lot is Isaiah Johnson. The second-year cornerback missed most of last year with an injury but he’s healthy now and the Raiders are using him in a number of ways. Defensive backs coach Jim O’Neil recently heaped some praise on Johnson.
“I tell the guys, if you’re not the bonafide number one safety or the bonafide number one corner or the bonafide number one nickel then you’d better have some versatility if you want to stay around in this league,” O’Neil said. “Isaiah’s done a nice job. We’ve worked with him some inside during camp and as we get going we face some of these real good pass-catching tight ends. He’s a big body with length that can challenge guys at level one, and he helps with some of the man coverage stuff.”
The Raiders have had Johnson play safety at times and he’s done a decent job. There’s still a lot of room for improvement but his size and athleticism make him an ideal fit in Paul Guenther’s defense.
Has the Raider Defense Turned Things Around?
If you looked at the Raiders-Chiefs game and saw that the defense allowed 32 points, you’d probably say they had a bad game. However, 24 of those points came in the first half. The Raider defense actually put together an excellent performance against arguably the best offense in the NFL.
It wasn’t something that anybody expected but the team proved that they can put together a strong defensive effort in an important game. The defense will need to string together a few more solid performance before they can be trusted but Week 5 was a strong start.