Michael O'Connor

West Notes: Raiders, 49ers, Seahawks

After signing several lower-key free agents last year, the Raiders operated aggressively in March. After adding Antonio Brown, the team signed Trent Brown, Lamarcus Joyner, Tyrell Williams, Brandon Marshall and Vontaze Burfict. All are in line to start. But the Raiders’ most deficient area was not fully addressed until the draft. Mike Mayock did not view this year’s class of edge rushers as good fits for the Raiders, who then took three defensive ends in the draft. This perhaps affected the Raiders’ ability to sign UDFA defensive ends.

We didn’t think that free agency was going to be the answer for that,” Mayock said (via NBC Sports Bay Area’s Scott Bair) of addressing the team’s need for edge help. “I thought we did a really nice job here over the weekend to the extent that we couldn’t even sign any (undrafted) free agent defensive ends because they saw we drafted three. They’re all staying away from us.”

Most thought the Raiders reached at No. 4 to draft Clelin Ferrell, whom one league executive said (via Mike Sando of ESPN.com, ESPN+ link) was slower than an NFL quarterback of average speed. The Raiders also drafted Eastern Michigan’s Maxx Crosby in the fourth round and Prairie View A&M’s Quinton Bell in the seventh. While the Raiders did sign Benson Mayowa in free agency, they may still need assistance at this position after their 2018 pass rush recorded the fewest sacks (13) of any NFL team in 10 seasons.

Here is the latest from the West divisions, continuing with a possible Raiders need area:

  • Jon Gruden said Kolton Miller will stay at left tackle, with Trent Brown lining up on the right side and Brandon Parker now a swing player. Gabe Jackson will remain at right guard, but after the Raiders traded All-Pro Kelechi Osemele for a Day 3 pick, the team has a hole at left guard. Gruden said (via Bair) the team will still monitor outside help at that spot. As of now, 2018 waiver claim Denzelle Good is stationed with the first unit there. While Good made 20 starts with the Colts from 2015-17, the free agent market — which includes Andy Levitre, Stefen Wisniewski, Chance Warmack and Shawn Lauvao, among others — may be able to produce a better starter.
  • The 49ers will proceed cautiously with Nick Bosa. Despite the No. 2 overall pick participating fully at the Combine, the 49ers held him out of team drills at rookie minicamp this week. After Bosa missed most of his junior season at Ohio State due to a core muscle injury, the 49ers plan work him in slowly, a team official told Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area.
  • The first punter went off the board in the fourth round this year, with the 49ers making Mitch Wishnowsky being the highest-drafted punter since the Jaguars took Bryan Anger in the 2012 third round. However, the 49ers did not expect to need a punter, per Maiocco, who notes they viewed 2015 fifth-round pick Bradley Pinion as a player likely to be re-signed. Instead, the Buccaneers swooped in and landed the free agent specialist on a four-year, $11MM deal.
  • It looks like the Seahawks‘ search for backup-quarterback candidates may continue. Paxton Lynch resides on Seattle’s roster, but considering his career thus far, it’s no lock the former first-rounder will be Russell Wilson‘s primary backup. The three players who took part in the Seahawks’ rookie camp this weekend — UDFA Taryn Christion (South Dakota State) and tryout arms Troy Williams (Utah) and Michael O’Connor (University of British Columbia) — did not fare well. “I thought the quarterbacks had a hard time,” Pete Carroll said (via ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson, on Twitter). “I thought they struggled with the system and play-calling.”