Quinton Bell Jersey

Oakland Raiders defensive end Arden Key played 16 games and started in 10 last year. What does the coaching staff have planned for him in 2019?

Who’s going to play defensive end for the Oakland Raiders? That’s been a popular question since the team traded Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears last September. The answers have changed over the last eight months. Fortunately, team brass provided clarity on one side.

Without a doubt, Clelin Ferrell, the fourth overall pick in this year’s draft, will start. At 6-4, 264 pounds, the Clemson product is a prototypical 4-3 defensive end with long arms (34.125-inches) able to corral ball-carriers running toward the edge and uncanny strength to collapse the pocket. Of course, his draft placement indicates he’s an immediate starter.

Opposite Ferrell’s projected spot, there’s a wide-open competition. Arden Key played the most snaps at the position (644) last season. The Raiders selected Maxx Crosby in the fourth round and Quinton Bell, a wide receiver who converted to defensive end, in the seventh round. Team brass also signed veterans Josh Mauro and Benson Mayowa. Don’t rule out a trade or a late pickup to compete for a starting spot at defensive end. For now, we’ll focus on the players on the roster.
Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther said something that tipped off Key’s prospective role for the upcoming season. “Arden can play in the role we envisioned for him last draft,” Guenther said to The Athletic’s Vic Tafur.

It’s a straightforward answer that doesn’t require a lot of detective work. The Raiders selected Key in the third round of the 2018 draft with Mack and Bruce Irvin on the roster, which indicates a situational pass-rushing role or third pocket-pusher in the nickel package.

The Raiders traded Mack and released Irvin, which thrust Key into a larger role than anticipated last year. At 238 pounds, it’s a tough ask to expect him to handle all three downs. He logged 21 solo tackles, four resulting in a loss of yardage, and one sack during his rookie campaign. On many occasions, the LSU product just didn’t have the strength to barrel through 300-plus pound offensive linemen and drop his target.
According to Guenther, via Tafur, the team is working on Key’s power and bulk but to a certain extent.

“He’s probably right where we need him to be,” Guenther said. “We’re trying to put a little more muscle mass on him now, so he is in there lifting. We don’t want him to get too heavy. He got up to 270 at LSU and he looked like a slug, you know what I am saying.”

Don’t expect to see Key play with a hulk-like frame in the upcoming season. He’s probably going to take the field in the 245-250-pound range. More importantly, the focus will likely lean toward strength than actual size. A technically sound pass-rusher can reach the quarterback at 242 pounds if he’s able to get a jump off the line of scrimmage, use his hands and add combination moves to beat his assignments.

Key may not see an uptick in snap count; it’s possible he may be on the field for fewer plays compared to last season, but that doesn’t indicate a step backward. In Guenther’s last year with the Cincinnati Bengals, Carl Lawson played 477 snaps (41.62 percent of defensive snaps) but logged 8.5 sacks as a designated pass-rusher.

Key isn’t comparable in size to Lawson (6-2, 265 pounds), but Guenther obviously has a plan for the second-year defender; the initial strategy to optimize his pass-rushing ability. If that’s the case, we could see Mayowa open the season as the starter and eventually cede snaps to Crosby, who’s also in need of strength development according to general manager Mike Mayock.
“So he has some twitch,” Mayock said. “He has length, he has twitch. He has a great motor. What he doesn’t have yet is power. He doesn’t have strength yet, and he needs to develop that.”
Training camp performances can change the plans in place, but we shouldn’t exaggerate the starter designation in terms of production. A rotational player can provide significant impact, if not, more than a first-unit defender. During Lawson’s strong rookie campaign, he ranked second on the team in sacks and only started one game. Key’s probable specialist role could bode well for his sack production.

Hunter Renfrow Jersey

Raiders general manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden made five trades over the three days of this year’s draft — but only one to move up.

In the fifth round Saturday, Oakland jumped nine spots to select Clemson receiver Hunter Renfrow at No. 149 overall, sending pick Nos. 158 and 218 to Cincinnati.

Renfrow played in the college football title game, which Mayock scouted, and the Senior Bowl, which the Raiders’ staff coached. He apparently caught Mayock’s eye long before, though.

“Boy, I’ve loved his game — last few years,” Mayock said.

Renfrow had some of his best games on big stages. In the 2016 national final, he had seven catches for 88 yards and two scores in a loss to Alabama. In the 2017 rematch, Renfrow caught a game-winning TD throw from Deshaun Watson with one second left as Clemson won its first national title since 1981.
Entering the draft, there were questions about Renfrow’s size (5-foot-10, 185 pounds) and lack of elite speed (4.59-second 40-yard dash). But while scouting Clemson’s top defensive prospects, Mayock said he started wondering if teams were overlooking a receiver who totaled 186 catches for 2,133 yards and 15 touchdowns over 53 college games.

“You’d put their offensive tape and go, ‘Why don’t people talk more about Renfrow?’” Mayock said. “Then we saw him up close at the Senior Bowl, and when I would go to the South (team) practices I’d be like, he has an innate feel for the game as far as separation, how to get open.”

No position on the Raiders has changed as much this offseason as receiver, where they added Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, J.J. Nelson and Ryan Grant. Mayock, though, illustrated how Renfrow might help.

“The great quarterbacks love somebody who can win quickly when there’s pressure,” Mayock said. “I’ve talked to these guys over the years and they’ve all said the same thing — give me a quick guy that can win in the middle of the field immediately when we get pressure.

“I think Derek Carr is going to love this guy.”

Carr might already be a fan. After Renfrow’s game-winning catch against Alabama in the 2017 championship, the quarterback wrote on Twitter: “Andddd Hunter Renfrow is awesome…”

On a conference call Saturday, Renfrow said he saw the tweet while sitting on Clemson’s team bus after the win.

“I was like, ‘Derek Carr tweeted me. This is the Derek Carr,’” Renfrow said. “I was so excited.”
Renfrow went to Clemson as a walk-on and said he’ll carry that mentality into the NFL.

“I think I’ll forever be a walk-on,” Renfrow said. “I know I’m not the biggest, I know I’m not the fastest. My whole career, that’s kind of going to be the knock on me. So I’m looking forward to proving it wrong and just going out every day and earning it.”

Oakland used the No. 106 pick Saturday to draft Eastern Michigan defensive end Maxx Crosby, then traded back from No. 109 to 129, where the Raiders picked Houston cornerback Isaiah Johnson.

They acquired pick 135 in that deal with Indianapolis and traded it to Atlanta for No. 137 and 230, using the first on LSU tight end Foster Moreau and the latter on their final pick, Prairie View A&M defensive end Quinton Bell.

Renfrow was the third Raiders draft pick from Clemson (also Clelin Ferrell and Trayvon Mullen) and fourth (with Alabama’s Josh Jacobs) who played in this year’s national championship game. The Raiders also drafted four players who attended the Senior Bowl — safety Johnathan Abram, Johnson, Moreau and Renfrow — all of whom were on the 49ers-coached South team.

“At the end of the day, we won’t know how we did for a couple years,” Mayock said. “But we couldn’t feel better today because I think we stayed consistent with our philosophy, we drafted the kind of guy that we wanted to bring into this building.”

Foster Moreau Jersey

The Raiders have committed to getting younger across the roster, including at an overstocked position group like right end.

Raiders Release Veteran Tight End Lee Smith After Drafting Foster Moreau

That’s why veteran blocking tight end Lee Smith was released on Thursday, the team announced, on the same afternoon that fourth-round tight end Foster Moreau formally signed his rookie contract.

Smith was a glue guy in the locker room, and a standout in-line blocking tight end who played with an offensive lineman’s mentality.

Moving on from the respected veteran allows more opportunities for Moreau and veterans Derek Carrier and Luke Willson.

Smith was set to count $2.6 million against the 2019 salary cap and his release carries $734,334 in dead money.

The Raiders will use a mix of blockers at the tight end spot, with a hierarchy based on competition.
Darren Waller will have a great chance to be the team’s primary receiving tight end with a solid offseason program and training camp.

Smith will be missed as a leader, but the Raiders still have plenty of depth at the position heading into the 2019 season.

Isaiah Johnson Jersey

Make that three out of nine.

“Isaiah Johnson”的图片搜索结果

With the rookie minicamp starting on Friday, the Raiders are making an effort to get all of the rookies under contract so they can get to work. Both tight end Foster Moreau and defensive end Quinton Bell signed their rookie deals, and now, a third player has joined them.

Thursday afternoon, the Raiders announced that cornerback Isaiah Johnson, who was selected with the 129th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, had signed his rookie contract. He is now officially a part of the team and will be joining defensive backs Taver Johnson to prepare for the upcoming season.

Originally a wide receiver, Johnson tallied 21 receptions for 208 yards during his first two seasons at the University of Houston. However, he switched to cornerback as a junior, playing in 22 games while learning the position. During his final two seasons, Johnson tallied 115 tackles, including 88 solo, along with four interceptions and 12 passes defensed.

Johnson had an impact once again as a senior, starting 10 of the 11 games in which he played. He tallied 66 tackles, two for a loss, and intercepted another two passes. He also led the Cougars with seven passes defensed. As the newest member of the Oakland Raiders, he will join what is becoming a crowded secondary and will compete for snaps with Daryl Worley, Gareon Conley, and Trayvon Mullen.

While Johnson may not actually see the field early for the Oakland Raiders, outside of some special teams work, he does bear considerable upside. As Mike Mayock explained during his post-draft press conference, the former Houston cornerback provides defensive coordinator Paul Guenther and his assistant coaches with more versatility against the high-flying AFC West offenses. Finding someone to shut down Mike Williams and Keenan Allen in Los Angeles, along with the assortment of talented options in both Denver and Kansas City was a major priority, and he believes that Johnson helps achieve that goal.

“Boy, we love him,” Mayock said following the draft’s conclusion. “We think he complements Trayvon Mullen. Very similar guys. Long, they both run. Talk about 6-foot-2, 200-pound guys that run 4.4. They’re perfect in what we do. We’re a press corner team. Jimmy O’Neil, our defensive backs coach, he’s happier than I’ve ever seen him. So now we have some long, press corners that go along with Gareon and everybody else that we have. Gareon Conley, (Daryl) Worley, and all our guys. Bottom line, we’re ecstatic with those corners.”
With Moreau, Bell, and Johnson all under contract, the Raiders are nearing a complete roster. They just have to get Josh Jacobs, Hunter Renfrow, Johnathan Abram, Clelin Ferrell, Trayvon Mullen, and Maxx Crosby under contract. The team is nowhere near finished with the big goal, but they are drawing ever closer.

Maxx Crosby Jersey

Maxx Crosby exited the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama, on December 15, fresh off a down-to-the-wire loss to Georgia Southern in the Camellia Bowl. Crosby hung up his Eastern Michigan gear and left Montgomery contemplating a life-changing decision.

Two days later, the two-time First Team All-MAC selection made it known: he was NFL Draft-bound.

While college players of his caliber declaring for the Draft is commonplace, the road Crosby traversed to get to that point last December was anything but ordinary. The journey for began in Colleyville, TX, a suburb about 30 miles northwest of Dallas.

Crosby attended Colleyville Heritage High School. Off the field, he starred as a member of a rap group he created with friends, where he won a “best musician” award. On it, he was a linebacker for the Panthers’ football team. Entering his junior year, college football seemed to be more of an afterthought than a certainty.

The Crosby family had sent one of its own to the FBS ranks just one year prior when Maxx’s older brother and up-and-coming fashion model, Myles Crosby, signed with SMU to play safety. But several changes were implemented that allowed Maxx’s football career to gain the runway it needed to fly.

“Going into my senior year, we got a brand new coaching staff so we had new coaches come in. I had a big growth spurt and I grew like three inches so I was almost 6’5”,” Maxx Crosby said. “Clearly, I wasn’t going to play middle linebacker anymore, so they wanted me to play defensive end and tight end and they moved me right away, and I haven’t looked back since. Having more size helped me out, let me grow into my body and figured out defensive end was the best position for me.”

While getting acquainted with a new role on defense during spring ball, Crosby — who lived in Michigan during his early childhood — established a connection which brought him back to his old stomping grounds.
“I was out there running around, trying to learn the position as fast as I can and one of the Eastern Michigan coaches came up there — Coach (Brad) McCaslin (former EMU defensive coordinator). He was out there doing his rounds in Texas and we started talking and communicating, and he gave me his card and number. He invited me up to a camp at Eastern. For me, I have so much family still in Michigan and they were the only D1 team showing me a bunch of interest.”

Following a favorable growth spurt and the position change, Crosby showed growth on the football field during his senior year at Colleyville Heritage, furthering McCaslin’s enthusiasm in the Texas prospect. Right after attending the camp in Ypsilanti, Crosby received an offer from Eastern Michigan. Not a single other FBS offer flew Crosby’s way, so he would venture across the country to play college ball at the one school that expressed interest.

When Crosby arrived at Eastern Michigan in 2015, the team was fresh off its third-consecutive 2-10 season. The Eagles were in the bottom of the FBS’s cellar, having failed to qualify for a bowl game since 1987 and sporting just six winning seasons in the previous 40 years. A new young head coach in Chris Creighton envisioned a culture change and better direction for the perennial doormat, but the team still fared 1-11 while Crosby sat out due to a redshirt in 2015.

“A part of the thing that attracted me to going to Eastern was they were rebuilding the program,” Crosby said. “They had a brand new coaching staff and they were trying to bring it from the bottom all the way to the top. I looked at it as an opportunity to go in there and be a key piece of a program that’s rebuilding at the Division I level. Our freshman class was a huge part of that. We were 1-11 and super proud of turning the program around.”

One year later, Crosby entered the equation and Eastern Michigan rebranded itself. The Eagles finished 2016 with their first winning record since 1995, snapping a 29-year bowl drought with a 7-6 record and an invitation to the Bahamas Bowl. Crosby recorded 35 tackles and 1.5 sacks in a season where he saw action as a reserve defensive end.

His initial season was behind him and Eastern Michigan lost a key defensive end in Pat O’Connor to the NFL Draft (seventh round pick to the Lions in 2017). That offseason, Crosby encountered a realization similar to the one he experienced just three seasons prior, the last time he was promoted to a starting defensive end position: Football at the next level was a reality.

“I’ve always dreamed about playing in the NFL. It’s been a dream of mine since I was a child,” Crosby said. “Honestly, it became a lot more realistic my redshirt sophomore year. Going into that year, I knew I was gonna be a starter and was super excited for that challenge. We had Pat O’Connor the year before, he went to the NFL, and it was my time to step up and take his spot.”

O’Connor was a transcendent player at Eastern Michigan. One of the most dominant pass rushers in the nation, O’Connor finished his final two years in Ypsilanti with a combined 16 sacks and 29 tackles for loss. With his departure, uncertainty loomed whether the Eagles could feasibly replace such a talented cornerstone. That uncertainty only fueled Crosby when stepping into the starting role.

Crosby’s career erupted from there. Over the next two seasons, he wreaked havoc in backfields and against opposing offensive lines. He tallied 18.5 sacks, 35.5 tackles for loss, 127 total tackles, and forced eight fumbles over two seasons. In both 2017 and 2018, Crosby was recognized and rewarded for his efforts with First Team All-MAC appearances. Eastern Michigan retained its winning culture and Crosby finished another season 7-6 and bowl bound with the Eagles.

Transitioning from high school to the FBS level is one thing, but where did the NFL-caliber Maxx Crosby stem from? He attributes his rapid ascension to learning on scout team freshman year.

“It was my second year ever playing the position, so I got a full year to learn under Pat (O’Connor) and Jeremiah (Harris),” Crosby said. “I just got to go out there and try out different things and see what I’m good at. It ended up leading me to getting Scout Team Player of the Year, which is my most proud award I’ve ever gotten. It was hard to earn it, and that was the start for me.”

This offseason has been scout team all over again for Crosby. He situated himself at EXOS training facility in Phoenix to train for the NFL Combine and Pro Day, while continuing to develop skills as a defensive end. At the Combine in Indianapolis, Crosby ran a 4.66 40-yard dash, recorded a 36-inch vertical jump, and finished with the fastest 60-yard shuttle of all EDGE rushers.

“I thought the Combine went really well. I felt like I tested really well. When it came to the drills, I felt like I could have cleaned up a few things,” Crosby said. “You were busy from 5 am to all the way until midnight the same day, so you’re just constantly doing things, but it was a dream come true and a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Crosby’s been noted by scouts for his strong, aggressive play style which includes the ability to create fumbles and fight past linemen with dip and swim moves. An off-the-field skill Crosby has mastered since his high school days is his unwavering confidence. Without his strong belief in his abilities, he may not have transformed his lone D1 offer into an NFL Combine invite.

“Obviously, I’m super confident in myself and believe in my abilities to the fullest. I just feel like, mentally, my will to win is unmatched,” Crosby said. “I feel like I bring so much to the table, more than just pass rushing. I can take the ball away consistently, I constantly play in the backfield, and I get to the quarterback very well. I just have to do what I know how to do and give the best impression to these teams.”

From a high school linebacker to one Division I offer, a next chapter in Crosby’s journey seems destined to be written by the end of the 2019 NFL Draft. From height changes to position changes to different levels of football, the Texas-native kept his focus simple and unchanged — hard work and self-belief.

Johnathan Abram Jersey

The Oakland Raiders first-round safety has considerable shoes to fill, but he is prepared for the challenge.

Thursday night, coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock used the 27th overall pick to select Mississippi State safety Johnathan Abram. He is a hard-hitting enforcer that is known for his big tackles, and he will be expected to play a major role in the defensive turnaround in 2019.

To that point, Abram now knows his jersey number. He will enter the 2019 season wearing number 24. While the number may be better known over the past two seasons due to Marshawn Lynch wearing it while rushing for 10 touchdowns, 24 actually carries far more weight due to it being made iconic in the 90s and 00s by Charles Woodson.
“For me, for that number,” Abram said on Friday, “that number carries a lot of weight. Seeing the message that Charles Woodson put out about the shoes and the role I have to fill of the greats that played before me…He didn’t want to include himself, but he’s a Hall of Famer. He’s going to go down as one of the greatest Raiders to ever play. So for Coach Gruden to give me that number, those are some big shoes I have to fill. There’s a lot I have to do. There’s a lot of work that has to be put in. Countless hours.”


There is no denying that the former fourth overall pick in 1998 (Woodson) is one of the greatest cornerbacks/safeties in Silver and Black history, so his opinion carries a lot of weight. His video to Abram shows that he has faith in the Mississippi State safety’s ability to contribute to victories with huge defensive plays, much like he did.

Of course, in order to match the history made by Woodson, Abram will simply have to win Defensive Rookie of the Year and be named to nine Pro Bowls. Woodson finished his storied career tied for fifth on the league’s all-time interceptions list (65), tied for most career defensive touchdowns (13), and second all-time in interceptions returned for touchdowns (11).
Throughout his tenure with the Raiders and Packers, he compiled 1,003 career tackles, 20 sacks, and 28 forced fumbles while playing in 254 regular-season games. Woodson also led the NFL in interceptions twice, bringing in nine during the 2009 season and seven in 2011.

While it’s difficult to project similar numbers for Abram, especially mere days after he was selected in the NFL Draft, having this number assigned to him is a show of faith by the Raiders coaching staff. If he can make a difference for the Silver and Black even remotely similar to Woodson, he will be set up for long-term success, both in the Bay Area and in Las Vegas.