5 Storylines From Raiders OTA Sessions

May isn’t much of a football month, but with OTAs in full swing, there are a few Raider storylines worth keeping up with in the days ahead.

Here they are in some particular order…

5 – It’s early, but it is nice to see where Jon Gruden is lining players up (and in what order).

This was ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez on the Raiders very tentative defensive starters:

“Yes, it’s early, but here’s what the Raiders’ first-team base 4-3 defense looked like in their first OTA practice – LDE Tank Carradine, LDT Maurice Hurst, RDT Justin Ellis, RDE Bruce Irvin; SLB Tahir Whitehead, MLB Derrick Johnson, WLB Emmanuel Lamur; LCB Rashaan Melvin, SS Karl Joseph, FS Reggie Nelson, RCB Gareon Conley.”

Not too sure about that group of linebackers. How does this keep happening?

4 – Isn’t it great to actually learn about injuries from a Raiders’ head coach?

Jack Del Rio wouldn’t have squealed on an ingrown hair, much less Amari Cooper’s tweaked hamstring on Monday. Gruden obviously didn’t care even a little.

Hopefully Cooper’s hamstring injury (if that’s what you can call it) won’t be one that lingers.

3 – Kolton Miller might be exclusively used as a left tackle in his rookie year, but can he beat out Donald Penn?

It sounds like Miller has a lot of work to do on his technique – maybe a little more than what was expected.

2 – Obi Melifonwu is not on Jon Gruden’s good side and it’s painfully obvious at this point. He joins Marquette King as one of the few players that haven’t found favor with either of the last two coaching staffs.

Fortunately for Melifonwu, he still has time to right the ship, but he’s going to have to get back on the field to pull it off.

1 – Donald Penn seems to be focused and on a mission. His presence will be huge if he can return to form after last year’s foot injury and another year in the ring with Father Time.

If Miller is going to need to an extended timeframe to develop, Penn’s return becomes even more critical. There’s no way Derek Carr would prefer to have a rookie protecting his blind side instead of a healthy Penn.

If there’s an honorable mention worth mentioning, maybe it’s Khalil Mack.

No one expected him to show up to OTAs and he didn’t.

That might just be Mack’s approach to all team activities until he has a new contract. An injury right now would cost him millions.

twitter: @raidersbeat


8 thoughts on “5 Storylines From Raiders OTA Sessions

  1. It is very important that Donald Penn is out there we cannot put Derek Carr out there with rookies on the ends he might get his neck broke this time.

  2. I agree that this group of linebackers is nothing special but Whitehead is a pro , he’s an upgrade as is Lamur . We’ll have to see what Johnson can do but he’ll definitely quarterback that group . He’ll have that defense lined up properly and he will at least put the unit in position to succeed . Reggie Nelson as a starter would be a disaster in waiting so those corners will have to be sticky on deep routes because they won’t get much help from Nelson .

    1. If Lamur is an upgrade, that is only because we were horrible at linebacker. He didnt grade out well in Cincy, before the Vikings signed him. And then in 2 years in Minnesota, he managed to compile a COMBINED 21 tackles. Only 21 tackles in two full seasons is a joke. It is a serious problem if he is to be a starting linebacker for us.

    2. Completely agree here. Badly wish they’d move Joseph to Nelson’s spot and play the back end where he played at WV. Hopefully Gruden has lit a fire under Obi, and he can win other safety spot.

  3. what stands out most to me is how bad Reggie Mckensie has been since his 2014 draft haul. Its been atrocious. You cant keep drafting at the same positions each year. How many DTs are the raiders going to pick before they just draft the best player available. I was pretty disappointed that we didnt take Fitzpatrick and then missed out on Derwin James, especially when it sounds like the new staff isnt high on Karl Joseph and Reggie Nelson getting pretty old and tired. With all that being said, I like Gruden’s overall drat much better than Reggie’s last couple (im looking at Ward, Calhoun, Vanderdoes, Joseph to name a few). I really like the Bryant trade, and am excited by Hurst & Hall. But I am 100% on board with Arden Key. I think he will prove to be the steal of the draft and even a possible defensive rookie of the year candidate.

  4. Penn’s absence, at this point, may be a blessing in disguise. Miller get thrown into the fire and gets Penn’s reps. LB’s as a group are better then last years group. Nelson knowing Gunther’s Defense makes sense at this point, I don’t see him as a starter.

  5. Seeing Reggie run with the 1’s is scary. Obi hasn’t played enough to know if he’s even worth a roster spot. I liked last years 7th round pick Shalom Luani. He’s always around the ball and had a pretty good pre season last year. BTW what happened to Mario Jr.?

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