Darius Latham

Raiders Waive DL Darius Latham

A UDFA signed in 2016, Darius Latham is headed back to the waiver wire. The Raiders made the decision to cut the third-year defensive lineman hours before the draft, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.

Latham made a bigger impression for the 2016 Raiders, playing in 14 games and starting two, than he did last season. Oakland saw the young defender receive a four-game suspension, and Latham ended up playing in just three contests last year. He made 17 tackles as a rookie and has yet to record a sack.

The Raiders signed two UFA defensive linemen in Tank Carradine and Armonty Bryant during Jon Gruden’s first free agency period back at the helm, and the team is expected to pursue help on its interior this weekend.

Pro Football Focus assigned Latham a 77.7 grade last season, indicating some promise may exist for the 23-year-old, but he played only 56 defensive snaps. The Raiders also waived Latham once last season before placing him on their practice squad.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/13/17

Today’s minor moves:

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Los Angeles Rams

Oakland Raiders

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 12/5/17

Today’s practice squad updates:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

  • Signed: TE Robert Tonyan

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

Oakland Raiders

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Redskins

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/4/17

Here are today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Houston Texans

Oakland Raiders

Washington Redskins

Raiders Place CB Gareon Conley On IR

Cornerback Gareon Conley‘s season is over. ESPN’s Field Yates reports (via Twitter) that the Raiders have placed the first-round pick on the injured reserve. To fill his spot on the roster, the Raiders have activated defensive tackle Darius Latham from the Reserve/Suspended list.

Gareon Conley (vertical)Conley, who was taken 24th-overall in this past year’s draft, played in the Raiders first two games of the season, compiling seven tackles and one pass defended. He suffered a shin injury shortly thereafter, and he hasn’t practiced with the team since early October. Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal tweets that the organization is particularly high on the defensive back, and there was hope that he could return this season and contribute. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport notes (via Twitter) that both sides ultimately decided on surgery, with the organization hoping that the procedure will “fix the issue for good.”

Latham was suspended back in early October for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Despite appearing in 14 games as a rookie in 2016, the former udnrafted free agent didn’t see the field much in 2017. Prior to his suspension, Latham appeared in only one game, compiling a pair of tackles. The 23-year-old will presumably slide in behind Treyvon Hester, Justin EllisEddie Vanderdoes, and Jihad Ward on the depth chart.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders DT Darius Latham Suspended

Raiders defensive tackle Darius Latham has been suspended four games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, the league announced today.Darius Latham (Vertical)

Latham, a 2016 undrafted free agent out of Indiana, appeared in 14 games (two starts) for Oakland last season, but had seen limited action in 2017. Sunday, in fact, represented Latham’s first action of the year, as he’d been inactive in the Raiders’ first four contests. He played 14 total snaps against the Ravens in Week 5, managing two assists in the process. Latham will forfeit roughly $125K in salary due to his suspension.

Oakland runs a rotation along the interior of its defensive line, as Mario Edwards, Eddie Vanderdoes, Denico Autry, Justin Ellis, and Treyvon Hester have all played at least 100 snaps. Entering Week 5, the Raiders ranked 11th in adjusted sack rate and 20th in adjusted line yards.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Impact Rookies: Oakland Raiders

The old adage that defense wins championships may or may not be true, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a title-winning team that didn’t build heavily through the draft. Rookie classes, naturally, are evaluated on the perceived upside of the NFL newcomers, but which rookies are ready to contribute right out of the gate? And, how do they fit in with their new team schematically?

To help us forecast the immediate future of these NFL neophytes, we enlisted the help of draft guru Dave-Te Thomas who has served as a scouting personnel consultant to NFL teams for multiple decades.

Today, we continue PFR’s Impact Rookie series with his insight on the Oakland Raiders’ draft class:

Oakland or Las Vegas? Wherever the Raiders end up playing, both their offensive and defensive foundations are well on their way to being established, as quarterback Derek Carr and left defensive end Khalil Mack were efficient and sensational, respectively, during their second campaign in the league last year.

This is a young team on the rise, a team that returns all but three of the players who started for them in 2015. The front office opened their wallets and brought in help for the secondary, pass rush and offensive line that should see the organization increase their playoff chances. Established pass protector Kelechi Osemele left Baltimore to provide the Raiders with a drastic upgrade at the left guard spot manned by departed J’Marcus Webb (Seattle) last year. With Webb, the front wall yielded 38 sacks and saw their ground attack limp to 91.1 yards per game last season, the fifth lowest average in the league.

Even with future Hall of Fame safety Charles Woodson in charge, the defense gave up 258.3 aerial yards per game, the 25th-highest total in the NFL. They tied for 13th with just fourteen interceptions, but replace Woodson with Cincinnati’s Reggie Nelson, who tied for the league title with eight pass thefts last year, along with finishing sixth in the NFL with 22 passes defended and ranked second on the Bengals squad with 77 tackles. Nelson is also a great veteran mentor for first round safety, Karl Joseph, who should be ready to start by the season opener after an injury-marred 2015 campaign at West Virginia.

First Round – Karl Joseph, SS (West Virginia, No. 14 overall)

The team’s first-round draft pick is still working hard trying to get his surgically repaired right knee ready for the rigors of training camp. Hurt in a non-contact drill in early October, the slight-framed strong safety compensates for his lack of ideal size and bulk with tremendous force behind his hits. While those bone-rattling tackles will excite the fan base, it will also alert the refs, as Joseph’s penchant for getting too aggressive have led to the flags being thrown on a regular basis. While penalties in bunches were the norm for the Raiders in the past, the defense “wised up” last year, ranking 23rd in the league with just 104 penalties for the unit. Karl Joseph

At the time of his injury, Joseph was leading the major college ranks with an average of 1.3 interceptions per game and paced the Big Twelve Conference with an average of 1.5 passes defended per contest. He had a career-high three interceptions vs. Georgia Southern last year, the first Mountaineer to accomplish that feat since 1994.

Joseph graduated in December with academic honors and was the team’s “valedictorian” on the gridiron, where he had started 42-of-44 games during his career. He recorded eight interceptions while deflecting twelve passes, delivering 284 tackles (209 solos) with a pair of sacks and 15.5 stops-for-loss. His hard-hitting style caused eight fumbles, which he recovered six of them.

Despite lacking great bulk, Joseph possesses good upper body thickness, large, natural hands (9 ¾-inches) and room to carry at least another ten pounds of bulk for a potential move to strong safety at the next level. He lacks blazing quickness (4.59 in the 40-yard dash), which will limit his position duties to the strong-side slot. While he has good range, there is a bit of stiffness in his hips when he attempts to transition (note-prior to his injury in 2015, Joseph was working on how to compensate for some hip stiffness with a short stride to help him open his hips quicker in transition), but he shows good ability to plant-&-drive, coming out of his breaks cleanly. He seems to play better when making plays in front of him, as he lacks the second gear to recover when trying to stay with the speedy receivers on deep routes.

Joseph is an emotional team leader who takes well to hard coaching. He has the field awareness to easily break down plays and locate the ball, doing a very good job of staying low in his pads and taking proper angles to close on and make the play. His field vision when playing in the shallow zone allows him to fill the rush lanes in an instant while breaking sharply on the ball in underneath passing situations. As a strong safety, he has shown that despite size issues, he can mirror the tight ends on underneath routes and shows good anticipation skills and awareness dropping back in the zone. Those fumbles caused are evident that he has a nose for the ball and the interception figures highlight his natural hands to make the interception.

Click here to read more about the Raiders’ rookie class..

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Raiders Sign 13 Undrafted Free Agents

The Raiders announced that they have signed a baker’s dozen of undrafted free agents. The group, of course, is made up of mostly unheralded prospects, but there are a few notable names in the bunch, including Duke wide receiver Max McCaffrey. McCaffrey, the son of former Denver wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, posted a 4.46 second 40-yard dash at his pro day last month.

Here’s the full list of Oakland’s UDFAs:

  • WR K.J. Brent (Wake Forest)
  • C Ross Burbank (Virginia)
  • LB/DE James Cowser (Southern Utah)
  • DB Kenneth Durden (Youngstown State)
  • DB Antonio Hamilton (South Carolina State)
  • WR Johnny Holton (Cincinnati)
  • DL Drew Iddings (South Dakota)
  • DT Darius Latham (Indiana)
  • WR Max McCaffrey (Duke)
  • DB Tony McRae (North Carolina A&T)
  • TE Ryan O’Malley (Pennsylvania)
  • G Oni Omoile (Iowa State)
  • LB Kyrie Wilson (Fresno State) ($5K bonus, per Aaron Wilson)

West Rumors: 49ers, Raiders, Las Vegas

The 49ers spoke with the Titans about moving up to the No. 1 pick in the draft, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link). Still, the 49ers are trying to assess exactly what a move from No. 7 to No. 1 would cost them and they’re also unsure of whether they really need to move up in the draft. San Francisco is believed to be targeting a quarterback and it’s possible that either Jared Goff or Carson Wentz will be there at No. 7.

Here’s more from the West divisions:

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Draft Rumors: Ramsey, Alexander, Ravens, Steelers

The Titans, who hold the top pick in this year’s draft, have scheduled a visit with Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey, writes Chase Goodbread of NFL.com. Most expect the Titans to take Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil first overall, but they’re nonetheless doing their homework on Ramsey. Should Ramsey get past the Titans, he’ll have a potential suitor in the Cowboys, who pick fourth and have already met with him, tweets Rand Getlin of NFL.com.

More draft news. . .

  • In addition to his previously reported visit with San Francisco, Clemson cornerback and prospective first-round pick Mackensie Alexander will meet with the NFC West rival Rams, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com.
  • Alabama cornerback Cyrus Jones worked out for the Ravens on Friday, as Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun tweets. Jones, who projects as a slot cornerback and a return specialist, is viewed as a third- to fourth-round pick. The Baltimore-area native has said that playing for the Ravens would be a “dream come true.” In total, the Ravens had about 40 to 50 players in for a workout, including Jones and two Maryland defenders – Sean Davis (DB) and Quinton Jefferson (DT) – Zrebiec tweets.
  • The Steelers hosted four prospects Friday – safeties Deon Bush (Miami) and Jeremy Cash (Duke), Georgia Tech cornerback David White, and LSU offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins – per Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Hawkins is the second O-lineman the Steelers have met with over the last two days, joining Indiana’s Jason Spriggs (link via Tony Pauline of WalterFootball.com).
  • The Buccaneers sent offensive line coach George Warhop to Cincinnati on Friday to work out tackle Justin Murray, reports Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link).
  • The Vikings had an assistant spend time on Thursday after Washington’s pro day with linebacker Travis Feeney, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweets. Feeney had a strong showing at the combine but, unfortunately, had to undergo hernia surgery afterward.
  • Miami defensive lineman Ufomba Kamalu has picked up interest from the Chargers, Panthers, Eagles, Cardinals, and Broncos, according to Mike Kaye of First Coast News (via Twitter).
  • The Titans and Vikings met with Indiana defensive tackle Darius Latham on Friday, Pauline reports. Off-field issues, including two suspensions in college, could hurt Latham’s draft stock. If not, he might go as high as the third round.
  • UTEP defender Roy Robertson-Harris is drawing attention, having met with the 49ers and Panthers. He also has visits and/or workouts scheduled with the Raiders, Chiefs, Bears and Vikings.

Zach Links contributed to this report.