The Oakland Raiders hosted their rookie mini-camp for the 2018 NFL Season, and then Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden gave his statements to the press and to the team via this video. (The NFL has embarked on a campaign to have its teams use YouTube for the posting of their own videos. It’s a recognition of how we consume media today, as well as the fact that there are fewer media outlets reporting the news on a regular basis.)
Gruden talked about adding Linebacker Derrick Johnson, saying he’s someone that he’s known for a while and that he’s played in a number of systems and for a number of coaches. Here’s Coach Gruden:
Maurice Hurst became famous first for football fans for being one of Michigan’s best defenders in history. But to NFL Football fans, he was known for being a top 1st Round talent who then shocked all by dropping round by round in the 2018 NFL Draft and because of a reported but not detailed heart condition. Gruden said that he would have taken Hurst at any round of the NFL Draft – but the Raiders got him in the 5th Round. Here’s Maurice:
Arden Key is another 2018 NFL Draft steal the Raiders took advantage of the availability of. After quitting LSU last spring for “personal reasons,” its the fact that he would not talk about that reason which caused his draft stock to fall. It wasn’t the injury report. Asked about it in September of 2017, his father said ““He’s changed tremendously. He had to get his priorities together now. He sees life out of a different lens because he stepped away from football. He’s never been away from the game. By being away, he appreciates it even more.”
Prior to the “problem”, whatever it was (and I’m thinking it was a nervous breakdown), Key was regarded as perhaps the best defensive player in college football. Now, he’s an Oakland Raider. He finally gets paid to play. Here’s Arden Key:
As I think about it, while it may seem that the Raiders are taking risks, I think otherwise: they did their research, had a plan not to draft any player that was going to be a training camp holdout, or cost a lot of money, and looked for obvious stars who’s stock fell for reasons that were not true deal breakers. The result just may be one of the best NFL Drafts the Raiders, or the NFL, had in 2018. Hurst and Key will be the difference makers.