Raiders Rumors

Memphis RB Darrell Henderson Met With Four Teams

Memphis running back Darrell Henderson is now considered a possibility to sneak into the back end of the first round of the draft, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link), who adds Henderson has recently met with the Rams, Eagles, Raiders, and Cardinals.

Henderson (5’9″, 200) topped 1,000 rushing yards in each of the past two seasons and averaged an astounding 8.9 yards per carry in both campaigns. He ranks fourth behind Josh Jacobs (Alabama), Miles Sanders (Penn State), and Devin Singletary (FAU) on The Draft Network‘s running back rankings, and Lance Zierlein of NFL.com calls Henderson a “home run hitter” while comparing him to now-49er Tevin Coleman.

Henderson is exceptional at running out of the shotgun formation: over the last four college seasons, Henderson ranks third in Graham Barfield’s Yards Created metric — which attempts to identify production a running back generated on his own, independent of offensive line play — out of shotgun. Circling back to the the four clubs Henderson has recently visited, the Eagles ranked fifth league-wide in shotgun run rate, per Warren Sharp. The Raiders finished 11th, the Cardinal 23rd, and the Rams dead last (just 4%).

‘Belief In Some Circles’ Raiders Could Draft Kyler Murray?

The conventional wisdom the past couple of months has been that the Cardinals will take Kyler Murray with the first overall pick. But nobody knows their true intentions, and they could just as easily take Nick Bosa or Quinnen Williams with the top pick. If they do pass on Murray, it’ll set off an interesting chain reaction.

This past week, we heard that some teams were beginning to prepare for some of the top quarterbacks to start slipping in the draft if the Cardinals do pass on Murray. If Arizona drafts Murray, it could create a frenzy for teams to move up and get one of the next top available passers like Dwayne Haskins or Drew Lock. But if they don’t take Murray, teams could be more content to wait and everybody could end up sliding.

That being said, don’t expect Murray to fall too far. “There’s a belief in some circles” that the Raiders will be “tempted” to take Murray if he’s still available when they pick fourth overall, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. Coach Jon Gruden and new GM Mike Mayock haven’t exactly been committal when asked about Derek Carr this offseason, so this isn’t too shocking.

Gruden and Mayock have both insisted they view Carr as a franchise quarterback, but have also said they’re willing to upgrade the position if the opportunity comes along. Thanks to the Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper trades, the Raiders have plenty of draft ammo. They have three picks in the first round, and could easily execute a trade up for Murray if that’s what it ended up requiring.

At this point it would still be a surprise if it happens, but it’s worth noting. The team has already worked out Murray, as well as Haskins. Gruden has been playing coy with the Carr situation, and it’s unclear how he truly feels about the Raiders’ quarterback of the past five seasons. Fortunately, with the draft just days away, we should know more soon.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Eyeing Starting Guard In Draft

The Raiders disbanded their successful guard tandem this offseason, trading All-Pro Kelechi Osemele and a sixth-round pick to the Jets for a fifth-round selection. They plan to find Gabe Jackson‘s next guard mate in this draft, Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal notes.

Osemele and Jackson started together for three seasons, forming one of the NFL’s best guard duos. This stands to be Jackson’s sixth season as a Raiders starter. He will join Rodney Hudson, Trent Brown and, likely, Kolton Miller on the Raiders’ first-string line. But it does not look like the Raiders want Denzelle Good or UFA addition Jordan Devey to be part of the unit.

Good, who started three games for the Raiders last season after the team claimed him late in the year, re-signed on a one-year, $1.8MM deal. Devey (two Chiefs starts in 2018) will make $880K this season.

Beyond their three first-round picks, the Raiders hold the No. 35 overall selection. Their next pick is not until No. 106, pointing to the team using one of its first four choices on a guard. The current thinking is a quarterback will not be one of Oakland’s first three picks. The team is eyeing cornerback help in this draft.

The Raiders’ only known pre-draft guard visit was with mid-round prospect Connor McGovern, but their staff coached Dalton Risner, a tackle who is likely to move inside at the pro level, along with Chris Lindstrom and centers Garrett Bradbury and Erik McCoy at the Senior Bowl.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Antonio Brown’s Contract Demands Nixed Offer Of First-Round Pick?

Antonio Brown‘s offseason has produced numerous headlines, that spree continuing after his arrival in Oakland. But not a ton of clarity emerged on what other offers the Steelers received for their perennial All-Pro wide receiver.

The Raiders swooped in after the Bills’ brief talks regarding Brown ended without a deal, landing a player on course for the Hall of Fame for third- and fifth-round picks. Interested teams had issues with Brown’s demand for a new contract, one of which apparently was ready to submit a much better proposal to the Steelers.

Brown’s financial demands stopped at least one team from offering a first-round pick, Jeremy Fowler and Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com report. Had the 30-year-old wideout been available without seeking another new contract, the ESPN duo notes Pittsburgh may well have acquired an extra first-round pick — presumably in 2019. However, teams knew a month prior to the trade that acquiring the mercurial wideout meant negotiating a new contract.

A slew of suitors emerged for Brown, in addition to the Bills, the Eagles, Saints, Titans and Redskins among them. The Bills were believed to be ready to swap first-rounders with the Steelers and part with two mid-round picks. That is the best known offer for Brown, and Fowler reports the Steelers felt strongly about the Bills’ proposal. The Patriots were indeed interested as well but the Steelers held firm on their stance not to do a deal with them.

After some convincing, the Raiders agreed to amend Brown’s contract. The Steelers dropped their asking price to those third- and fifth-rounders, with Kevin Colbert optimistic about the teams trying again — after some failed early talks on March 8 — to get a deal done. Brown ended up with $30MM in additional guarantees. The Steelers hold the Raiders’ No. 66 and No. 141 overall picks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Raiders' Staff

  • The Raiders ditched their scouting staff going into the draft and are expected to overhaul the department under new GM Mike Mayock. On draft weekend, Oakland’s non-Mayock/Jon Gruden staffers involved in the three-day event will be assistant director of player personnel Trey Scott and director of football administration Tom Delaney, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Delaney has been with the Raiders dating back to the first Gruden era; Scott rose to his current position under Reggie McKenzie‘s watch two years ago.

Raiders Send Scouts Home Before Draft

Another day, more drama with the Raiders. With only six days to go until the draft, a major stir was caused when Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweeted that Raiders coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock “sent their scouts home for the weekend and they are not expected to return by draft time. The belief is they don’t know who to trust and wanted to clear the room.” The tweet, of course, sparked a lot of panic among Raider fans and allegations of dysfunction within the organization. While Rapoport’s initial tweet was a little vague, it appears not to be as bad as it first seemed.

Albert Breer of SI.com tweeted in response that the “expectation has been that much of the scouting department would be turned over post-draft,” so this apparently wasn’t anything too sudden. Mayock was brought on to replace old GM Reggie McKenzie, and it’s not surprising that he would want to bring in his own guys. Teams usually wait until after the draft though, and the fact the Raiders are making this sudden move suggests there’s a level of paranoia in the building.

Raiders 'Super Impressed' By Dwayne Haskins?

  • If Lock’s floor may be more open-ended, La Canfora tabs the Redskins being Haskins’. Washington has done work on the Ohio State alum, along with the other high-profile QBs in this draft. The Raiders have also been “super impressed” by the 2018 breakout star, but they have been reported as being unlikely to use one of their three first-round picks on a quarterback.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/17/19

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

  • Signed: OL Brant Weiss (Alliance of American Football)

Chicago Bears

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

New York Giants

Oakland Raiders

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Raiders Unlikely To Take First Round QB

The Raiders have three first-round picks, but they’re unlikely to use any of them on a quarterback, Michael Gehlken of the Review-Journal hears. Behind the scenes, the odds of taking a QB in the first 32 picks seems “remote at best” and a change in thinking would be a “shocking pivot,” per the Raiders beat writer. 

The Raiders have been steadfast in their support of Derek Carr and it sounds like they’ll keep true to their word. Then again, this was the same team that pledged its allegiance to tight end Jared Cook only to let him leave without much of a fight, so nothing is 100% certain.

Last year, Carr managed to complete 68.9% of his throws for 4,000+ yards and 19 touchdowns against ten interceptions. The Raiders went 4-12, but there were issues on both sides of the ball – particularly after the team traded a generational talent on defense and its top wide receiver – so the Raiders appear willing to give Carr the benefit of the doubt. And, of course, he should have an easier time with Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams in tow.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Draft Notes: Giants, Haskins, Metcalf

The Giants will host Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins on a top 30 visit on Monday and Tuesday, a source tells NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). After the G-Men brought out the big guns for Haskins’ Pro Day, chatter is building about the Giants possibly targeting the signal caller with the No. 6 overall pick.

Fully expected to become a top-10 pick, Haskins also met with the Broncos (No. 10) and the Redskins (No. 15) last week. The Giants appear to be well in range, but teams tend to move up and reach for stud QBs. The Giants also have the firepower necessary to move up for Oklahoma star Kyler Murray, but they may prefer to spread the wealth and address other areas instead, including the pass rush.

Here’s the latest NFL Draft buzz:

  • Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf visited the Ravens on Monday, Rapoport tweets. Metcalf could give them a much-needed shot in the arm at WR, but it’s not a given that he’ll be available when they’re called to the podium at No. 22. For now, their WR consists of new addition Seth Roberts, Willie Snead, Chris Moore, and 2018 draft picks Jordan Lasley and Jaleel Scott.
  • Speaking of the Ravens‘ WR need, they’ll host Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise Brown on Monday, according to NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo (on Twitter). This year, the Ravens are set to pick at No. 22 overall with no picks in the second round due to last year’s Lamar Jackson trade.
  • More from Rapoport, who notes that Ohio State wide receiver Parris Campbell is visiting with the Bengals. Campbell is a very unlikely target for Cincinnati at No. 11 overall, but he could be a candidate for their second-round choice at No. 42. Last year, Campbell broke out with 90 catches for 1,063 yards and 12 touchdowns.
  • Michigan defensive lineman Rashan Gary will huddle up with the Seahawks and Raiders this week, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears.
  • Arizona State wide receiver will meet with the N’Keal Harry 49ers on Monday before traveling to the Seahawks, Pelissero hears. Projections for Harry are all over the board, but he appears to be a late-first to early-second round type.
  • Washington tackle Kaleb McGary will visit the Seahawks on Monday and the Falcons on Tuesday, Schefter hears (Twitter link). The Falcons’ No. 14 pick would probably be a bit high for McGary, who projects as a right tackle at the next level, but a trade-down scenario could bring him to Atlanta.
  • The Patriots have done “extra pre-draft” work on Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham and Northwestern QB Clayton Thorson, both of whom visited recently (Twitter link via Pelissero).
  • Versatile Oklahoma offensive lineman Cody Ford spent Friday visiting with the Bengals, who pick No. 11 (Twitter link via Rapoport). Ford was a first-team All-Big 12 selection in 2018 and helped Oklahoma win Joe Moore Award, given to the country’s best offensive line.