The Oakland Raiders kickoff their offseason workouts with a rookie mini-camp this weekend.
Head coach Dennis Allen will get his first good look at his drafted and un-drafted rookies throughout the mini-camp started Friday and ends Sunday. Other first-year eligible players may also attend the practices. The Raiders have 10 draft picks attending camp along with 14 un-drafted free agents that they signed shortly after the draft.
The camp not only allows the coaching staff their first look, but also local media, who has only had the opportunity to speak with draft picks over the phone shortly after they were selected.
Though we only get a brief period of Saturday to watch practice and then some time to speak with the attendees, many observations can still be made from the brief viewing window.
Not only is it the first viewing of the newcomers, but it also gives us the first insight at any potential camp battles that may take place this offseason. With a team with so many holes and so much turnover, there are plenty of opportunities for the rookies to make an impression on this year’s squad. Reggie McKenzie and Allen have preached competition over and over, suggesting that the best man at each position wins.
Though we won’t be able to see any of the team drills with the window given, it will be interesting to see each of the players with their individual drills.
Still, these individual drills will provide some insight as to what kind of players the Raiders received. They exhibit the players’ instincts, ball-handling abilities, quickness and much more.
It will be interesting to watch these new players develop and if they can supplant any veteran starters at their position. Which veteran cornerback will D.J. Hayden be able to displace? Will Menelik Watson be able to sure up his technique and take Khalif Barnes’ starting right tackle spot?
Another good battle to take place will be at the wide receiver position where the Raiders lack Darrius Heyward-Bey and have brought in some interesting rookie names via free agency after the draft. Can Conner Vernon out of Duke make the team and serve as the Raiders’ version of Wes Welker with those reliable hands?
Where will running back Latavius Murray end up in the depth chart with his speed and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield? Will tight ends Nick Kasa and Mychal Rivera be able to take incumbent tight ends Richard Gordon and David Ausberry’s jobs?
All of these questions are set to be answered this weekend and Silver & Black Report will be an Alameda Saturday to watch the story unfold.