Outside of a brutal injury to rookie first-round pick Damon Arnette, the Las Vegas Raiders secondary has been able to stay relatively healthy. Despite that fact, the group has struggled at times this season. They had a harrowing performance against an elite Kansas City Cheifs offense but they need to stay consistent.
With the team in the midst of their bye week, they’ve decided to bring in a few players for tryouts. According to Aaron Wilson, the Raiders are working out Tavien Feaster, Rashaan Gaulden and Lamont McPhatter, two of which are defensive backs.
Reggie Gilbert working out for Cardinals
Dayln Dawkins, Taquan Mizzell working out for Lions
Tavien Feaster, Rashaan Gaulden, Lamont McPhatter working out for Raiders
Lirim Jahrullahu, Matt Wile working out for Eagles
Brian Price, Sam Renner, Kobe Smith working out for Buccaneers
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) October 15, 2020
While the need for defensive back help is probably more pertinent, the decision to workout Feaster is interesting. He played most of his college ball as a running back at Clemson and won a National Championship with current Raiders Hunter Renfrow, Trayvon Mullen and Clelin Ferrell. Las Vegas loves them some Clemson Tigers so Feaster would be right at home, even though he transferred to South Carolina for his senior season. The Raiders don’t have a need at running back but Feaster could be a welcome addition to the practice squad.
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Gaulden Is a Former 3rd Round Pick
Gaulden is another notable workout as he’s the only one with NFL experience. The former third-round pick of the Carolina Panthers has played in 25 career games. He was most recently with the New York Giants but only lasted one game with them and hasn’t found a team since.
He’s only accumulated 20 tackles in his career and has never started a game. Considering he was a pretty high draft pick, he might worth throwing on the practice squad and seeing what he can do.
Raiders DB Coach Isn’t Worried About Fans
The Raiders may have given up 32 points to the Chiefs in Week 5 but that doesn’t mean the defense didn’t step up. They held the high-powered offense to only eight points in the second half en route to the win. Nobody believed in the Raiders defense before that game and defensive backs coach Jim O’Neil doesn’t care.
“We are the only people that need to believe we can do it,” O’Neil said. “Honestly, we don’t care about what the fans think. We worry about the guys in the locker room, about the 11 guys on the field playing as one unit and stacking (stopping) drives on top of each other.”
The Raiders do have talent on defense but they’ve had a hard time living up to their potential. Week 5 was the first time this season they’ve shown real promise.
“That’s been our vision the last three years as we’ve built this thing,” O’Neil said. “We looked for tough guys who love to play. And some of those guys you are going to have to put them in straight jackets to keep them out of the game. … I think it’s impressive.”
The offense has carried the team this season. If the defense can start playing like a top-20 unit, they’ll be really hard to beat.