The early April week edition of the Oakland Raiders Weekly Roundup. Here, we’ll pull together any notable Silver and Black news from the previous week and put it together all in one place.
Well, it’s two weeks until the NFL draft. So, naturally, that’s all we’re hearing about hearing right now. Potential stars like Barkley, Chubb, Nelson, Darnold – they’re all getting a ton of press. With good reason – they’re the faces of this draft, and one or two of them could be in play for the Oakland Raiders with some good fortune.
But what a deep draft it is. With a plethora of picks in the late rounds the Raiders have some capital to move and shake. There are a lot of potential hidden gems in this draft and late-round value should abound.
After the initial free agency rush things are relatively quiet on the plains at the moment. Teams are still making moves but few big things are happening as teams focus on the draft. Mocks abound, but it’s not time yet – next week.
The Raiders get their offseason program underway today, Monday April 9. Can’t wait to see what Jon Gruden has in store, and as such there will be more actual news to discuss next week.
For now, a few things have happened this past week that are of interest. Not content to just mock the Broncos – no, now…
Marquette King is a Bronco
It just felt like this was happening. After his release – due to finances and NOT Jon Gruden being an old curmudgeon – a lot was said about a personality clash. King loves punting in Denver, always has. Plus, he has a built-in celebration ready to rock.
Gruden surely didn’t appreciate King’s antics on the NFL Network. King is very colorful and vocal for a punter, and surely Gruden’s old-school style doesn’t mesh with this either. But it was more salary gap than generation gap — bidness, folks.
King appeared to take the Gruden rumors to heart, and what better way to stick it to him and the Raiders than to join their rivals? Which isn’t great on paper. King has averaged over 50 yards per punt in his career in games in Denver, and the thin altitude should only carry his boomers further.
King was clear that the altitude in Denver combined with the chance to play the Raiders twice a year made this a no-brainer decision:
“Denver is a punter’s paradise, the cool thing about the Broncos is the people that work at the Broncos encourage you to be yourself. Players play a lot better when they can let their hair down and be themselves. It’s cool. They encourage it.”
And that was certainly a factor in King’s decision to stay in the AFC West.
“I just wanted to find the best place that I thought I would fit,” King said. “I think there is somewhat of a revenge factor in there, too.”
Sure, that makes sense. Denver IS a punter’s paradise – though I can’t speak to the differences in atmosphere in the locker rooms. Elway doesn’t strike me as a “you do you” kind of guy so perhaps this is just lip-service? Maybe not though…
"So you said 7 is off limits over here?" 🙄 "FINE!" Ill rock #1 then… pic.twitter.com/uelUfJ8mPb
— Marquette King (@MarquetteKing) April 6, 2018
Regardless the Broncos get a great punter, and King gets a great opportunity. I’d rather have Khalil Mack and NaVorro Bowman if that’s what it comes down to but losing King does hurt. Hopefully he learns a bit from his recent antics, as the NFL Network schtick and his disrespect of Gruden was too much even if it didn’t play into the release.
A great punter hasn’t factored into the Raiders success (or lack thereof) for nearly 20 years so don’t fret too much. But I’m not looking forward to the celebration King has in mind for the Raiders if he drops a dime within their 5-yard line.
One player out, another in. The Raiders continue to make moves to fortify their depth and special teams, as…
The Raiders Sign Senquez Golson and Armonty Bryant
Hmm. Two more guys who didn’t play a snap in 2017. Two more signings that don’t really move the needle, at all. On the heels of the Leon Hall signing, this is ho-hum at best. Hall has pedigree and a history with DC Paul Guenther at least — even if he is a bit older — but Golson and Bryant? Both NFL ghosts in 2017.
As outlined in the King story and obvious by his release – the Raiders are out of money. Pursuing big-ticket free agents wasn’t an option anyway. Not with Bowman unsigned, Mack due an extension and Amari Cooper soon up for a long-term deal too.
There’s some frustration and hand-wringing over the Raiders’ direction this off-season. Many feel they’ve signed older players past their primes. Not enough has been done to infuse the team with real talent.
Well, I see it another way. This team is one year removed from a playoff berth and potential excellence. 2017 was terrible. Those mostly responsible are gone. As such, Gruden sees this team as one not needing a ton of new talent influx, but rather depth and competition at key positions.
Golson is a cornerback — Bryant a linebacker. Golson was an All-American at Ole Miss in college and drafted in the second round by the Steelers in 2015. Injuries have kept him from playing in a NFL game but his college pedigree and potential make him an intriguing competition piece. Let’s hope so because if one guy deserves a fair shot, it’s Golson:
I'm not familiar with Senquez Golson but I feel for the guy. He played in all 12 regular season games in each of his four college years but has suffered a different season ending injury during training camp in each of his three NFL seasons. That sucks. Here's hoping he balls out.
— Asher Mathews (@AsherMathews) April 6, 2018
The Raiders now have Gareon Conley, Antonio Hamilton, Dexter McDonald and new signees Golson, Hall, Shareece Wright and Rashaan Melvin to compete at the corner position. Conley is highly expected to be healthy and step into a CB1 role right away. Melvin will likely start at the other corner. This leaves nickel and slot corner positions to be determined, and there is plenty of competition now to salt that away.
Bryant fortifies a special teams unit that continues to add depth and strength. He, like Golson, didn’t play an NFL snap in 2017. Bryant does have NFL experience. He had success with the Browns from 2013-15, with 2015 being his best season. He played in six games for the Lions in 2016 before going unsigned in 2017. But unlike Golson, he did this to himself:
Armonty Bryant in one year's time 2016-17:
4-game suspension for PED's
Waived by Browns.
Claimed by Lions.
3-game suspension for substance abuse.
IR with Knee injury
4-game suspension for substance abuse.
Cut by Lions.
Last NFL game Dec 4, 2016
— Levi Damien (@LeviDamien) April 6, 2018
One player with talent who can’t stay healthy — another who stays healthy but can’t get on or stay on the field. Huh. Here’s hoping Golson stays healthy – and Bryant stays smart and clean.
These are depth and competition signings. It’s clear Gruden feels pretty good about his starters, as there’s been little done to replace any of them. The Raiders have completely re-vamped their special teams unit and perhaps Golson and Bryant are good fits for new coach Rich Bisaccia. Whatever the case, the signings have been consistent — players either with pedigree, experience with the coaching staff, or potential depth at positions of need that adds to the internal competition.
That’s it for player movement news this past week, although Raiders and former Raiders have been busy. The sad saga continues for a former player as…
Aldon Smith Arrested Again
Arrested again, for bail violations. He’s beyond playing in the NFL again — at this point he’s lucky if he stays out of jail. He’s a former Raider and many still wonder about him, so here you go. Unfortunately, he’s been arrested again. Good luck, Aldon.
Moving on from a player who can’t help himself to a player that is always one to help out his fellow man…
Derek Carr Takes a Trip to Haiti
And not for the first time. Carr and former teammates Latavius Murray, Jamize Olawale and Taiwan Jones went to Haiti to get the daily experience of what Haitians live through:
Haiti trailer video… go to my YouTube channel to see the full video and for information to help! 🇭🇹🇭🇹 pic.twitter.com/eVAMOCudAV
— Derek Carr (@derekcarrqb) April 7, 2018
And they did, for sure — walking in poor conditions in bare feet and experiencing real daily life to show how lucky we all are, and to appreciate how lucky they are as well. Carr is a devoutly religious man who is frequently posting words of encouragement regarding helping your fellow humans. And he’s putting his feet and body where his mouth is.
— Raiders Beat (@RaidersBeat) April 8, 2018
He may be a bit too vanilla — yelling at teammates for cursing, for example — but you couldn’t ask for a more genuinely caring human being to lead your franchise. And when he’s healthy, he’s a great player too.
This is why he can get away with things like this:
Oh Derek Carr 😂😂 stay playing football don't do anymore and that jacket https://t.co/cq1dTMaasR
— Bobblehead_Bill (@Bobblehead_Bill) September 22, 2017
Yes, that’s two weeks in a row I’ve referenced this video. I mean…that jacket…
Anyway, that’s about it for another week of Raiders news. We’ll bring you more from actual on-field activities next week, as well as the real mock drafts that are making sense as we get closer to the day.
Speaking of which, @OaklandScout Marcus Chai is providing a ton of Raiders-specific draft prospect analysis and film study, so make sure you check out Only1Nation.com every day for updates leading up to the draft.
And of course be sure to follow @Only1Nation_ for daily Raiders news, analysis, links and other stuff.