Shilique Calhoun

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/14/17

Here are today’s minor moves.

  • Jack Mewhort‘s IR trip prompted the Colts to look outside the organization for help. They signed guard Isaiah Williams off the Chiefs‘ practice squad. Williams failed to make the Redskins’ roster out of camp in each of the past two summers but caught on with the Chiefs earlier this season. He’s yet to play in a regular-season game.
  • Chris Conley‘s nationally televised Achilles’ tendon rupture sent the third-year wide receiver to IR, and the Chiefs replaced him on the roster with practice squad wideout Marcus Kemp. The Chiefs signed Kemp as a UDFA out of Hawaii in May and stashed him on their practice squad after the preseason.
  • The Raiders will bring their 2016 third-round pick back to the active roster, re-signing linebacker Shilique Calhoun and placing cornerback Antonio Hamilton on IR, Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com tweets. Hamilton underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus. The second-year player played in four games this season for the Raiders, primarily as a special-teamer. Calhoun played in 10 Oakland games last season but landed on the team’s practice squad to start this campaign.
  • The 49ers promoted tight end Cole Hikutini to their active roster from the practice squad. A rookie UDFA out of Louisville, Hikutini’s resided in San Francisco’s practice squad since the preseason concluded. Hikutini will take NaVorro Bowman‘s roster spot.
  • The Texans cut safety Marcus Cromartie and replaced him with practice squad safety Kurtis Drummond, Mark Berman of Fox 26 tweets. Cromartie played the past three seasons as 49ers depth piece. Although Drummond played in four Houston games this season, the team cut him to make room for waiver claim Ben Heeney last week.

Sunday NFL Transactions: AFC West

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four AFC West teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Broncos, Chiefs, Chargers, and Raiders are noted below.

Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s AFC West transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Denver Broncos

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Oakland Raiders

Raiders Cut Down To 53-Man Roster

The Raiders were among the teams to drag their feet on announcing their 53-man roster. Now that we can see their initial roster in full, we have to say that they’re looking a little thin at linebacker. Here’s the full rundown of their moves:

Waived:

Released:

Waived/Injured

Waived/NFI:

Raiders Activate Mario Edwards

The Raiders exchanged edge defenders on their active roster in advance of their Week 16 game against the Colts, activating Mario Edwards and placing Shilique Calhoun on IR, Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com tweets.

Edwards appears ready at long last to make his 2016 debut after an arduous road back from a preseason hip injury initially thought to be closer to minor in nature than a four-month-negating malady. The second-year defensive end played in the Raiders’ first preseason game but has not seen regular-season time since Week 15 of the 2015 season.

Oakland carried Edwards on its IR list all season, seeing Edwards return to practice earlier this month, and will potentially receive a boost for a 30th-ranked defense.

An edge player in Oakland’s 4-3 but an interior presence on passing downs, the former second-round pick graded as a top-10 run-stopper, per Pro Football Focus, last season among edge defenders. But he’s been a non-factor for more than a year due to this slow-progressing hip ailment and the neck injury from last December that caused him to miss several months. Edwards wasn’t cleared until May to participate in Raiders OTAs.

Edwards registered 41 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble as a rookie and figures to, if able to contribute on a part-time basis in all likelihood, factor into the Raiders’ defensive line mix. Denico Autry, Stacy McGee and Jihad Ward have done the bulk of the work in this role opposite Khalil Mack. With Mack and Bruce Irvin being the edge players on passing downs, it’s been on the aforementioned trio to rush from the inside — something Edwards did fairly effectively last season.

A third-round rookie, Calhoun played in 10 games for the Silver and Black this season but did not contribute much statistically, registering five tackles and a pass deflection as a reserve pass-rusher.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders’ Shilique Calhoun To Miss Time?

The Raiders could be without outside linebacker Shilique Calhoun for a little while. The rookie had a procedure on his injured knee this week, the team announced. He’s been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Panthers and it’s not clear exactly when he’ll return. However, he is not expected to be out for the remainder of the season, Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com writes. Shilique Calhoun (vertical)

[RELATED: Mario Edwards Without Return Date]

The Raiders have been using Calhoun as the primary backup for Bruce Irvin and Khalil Mack. Without Calhoun, the Raiders don’t have another dedicated edge rusher to add to the rotation. Bair suggests that sixth-round pick Cory James, an inside linebacker, could take on that role since he did some work on the outside at Colorado State.

Using James to spell Irvin and Mack may not be ideal, but Calhoun wasn’t making a big impact in that role either. Through ten games, Calhoun recorded just nine tackles and a half sack. Alternatively, Oakland could promote James Cowser from the practice squad.

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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West Notes: Robinson, 49ers, Webb, Calhoun

Former NBA point guard Nate Robinson didn’t earn a roster spot after trying out for the Seahawks earlier this month, but he hasn’t given up on making an NFL squad at some point, according to Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com. Robinson is now working out with former NFL receiver Dwayne Frampton as he continues to chase his dream. “It’s as hard as you could possibly get,” Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said of Robinson’s attempt. “He’s 32 as well. I don’t know if anybody could do it. But if anybody could, it might be Nate. He’s that versatile an athlete and that great a competitor.” Robinson is trying to make it in the NFL as a defensive back.

Here’s more out of the NFL’s two West divisions:

  • General manager Trent Baalke considers the 49ers to be a “draft-and-develop” team, but because the club hasn’t fulfilled the latter part of that equation in recent years, San Francisco will continue roll cap space into future years, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com writes. Joe Staley, Colin Kaepernick, NaVorro Bowman, and Quinton Dial are the only 49ers who have been extended lately, and because the team’s front office doesn’t anticipate spending money on big-ticket free agent additions, they’ll likely continue to have gobs of cap space. San Francisco currently leads the league with more than $49MM in financial wiggle room.
  • As Roster Resource shows, the Seahawks will be fielding several new players along their offensive line — not only will Garry Gilliam, Justin Britt, and Mark Glowinksi be asked to play larger roles, but the former two will be switching positions. First-rounder Germain Ifedi is projected to start at right guard, but offensive line coach Tom Cable says free agent signee J’Marcus Webb, who will line up at right tackle, could tie the front five together. “I think, again, it’s about getting someone to believe in him, and that’s my job, and in getting him to believe in himself,” Cable told SiriusXM NFL Radio. “And if those two things can marry up right, I think this kid can really, really do something cool for us. And we need him to.”
  • Former Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun was one of the more productive defensive players available in the 2016 draft, but the Raiders will be asking the third-round pick to man a different position in the NFL, as Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com writes that Calhoun will play rush linebacker in Oakland’s 4-3 scheme. “I’ve been playing a little bit of everything,” Calhoun told SiriusXM NFL Radio. “I’ve been moving around, but I’m mainly at (strongside linebacker) and the LEO. I’m trying to learn those two positions and master them behind two great players in Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin.” The Raiders have been more than willing to move players around the defense, and Mack is Exhibit A, as he infamously made the All-Pro Team at both end and linebacker.

Raiders Sign Calhoun, Lock Up Draft Class

The Raiders have announced the signing of third-round pick Shilique Calhoun, the final member of their 2016 draft class to officially join the organization. Calhoun, the 75th overall selection, had a highly productive three-year run along the defensive line at Michigan State, where he piled up 44 tackles for loss and 27 sacks. He’ll now join an Oakland team that spent the meat of the offseason making a concerted effort to improve its defense through both free agency and the draft. Along with Calhoun, the Raiders added first-round safety Karl Joseph and second-round defensive linemen Jihad Ward via the draft. Prior to that, they doled out significant money to veteran linebackers Bruce Irvin and Aldon Smith, cornerback Sean Smith and safety Reggie Nelson.

Here’s the complete list of drafted rookies secured by the Raiders:

Draft Notes: Williams, Calhoun, Peat, Winston

In something of a surprise decision, Texas A&M running back Trey Williams announced (via Twitter) earlier this week that he intends to forgo his remaining college eligibility and enter the 2015 NFL draft.

“Special thanks to my Texas A&M family and coaching staff,” Williams wrote. “I’ve prayed about it and decided to pursue my dream of playing in the NFL.”

The junior running back was only a part-time player in the Aggies’ offense in 2014, carrying the ball just 81 times for 560 yards (6.9 yards per carry). While his explosiveness could intrigue NFL teams, Williams is not as highly regarded a prospect as a number of other underclassmen running backs who have already declared for the draft.

Let’s round up a few more draft-related notes to start off the first Friday of 2015….

  • As recently as two weeks ago, Minnesota tight end Maxx Williams was believed to be returning for his senior season, so observers were surprised by a report that he was expected to enter the draft, writes Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net. Pauline hears that the second-round grade Williams received from the draft’s advisory committee was a determining factor in his decision.
  • Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun also received a second-round grade recently from the advisory committee, rather than the first-round grade he was anticipating, according to Pauline. As such, Calhoun has yet to decide whether or not he’ll enter the draft.
  • Sources tell Pauline that the family of Michigan State offensive tackle Jack Conklin has been telling people he’ll remain with the Spartans for another year.
  • Last month, a report indicated that Stanford offensive tackle Andrus Peat, a probable first-round pick, was on the fence about his plan for next year. Per Pauline, “all [is] quiet” on that front at the moment, with no word of any agent meetings for Peat.
  • Tight end Jesse James is reportedly telling people he intends to return to Penn State, but sources that have spoken to Pauline expect he’ll ultimately decide to enter the 2015 draft.
  • According to Pauline, one league insider compared Jameis Winston to Johnny Manziel, speculating that – assuming Winston declares for the 2015 draft – he’ll be the player that general managers are hoping is off the board by the time their teams pick. Reading between the lines on Pauline’s comment, perhaps that means those GMs are worried their owners will push for Winston even if the front office has another player graded higher.

Extra Points: Haslett, Rams, Lions, Draft

Let’s take a look at some notes from around the league on this Christmas evening…

  • Washington defensive coordinator Jim Haslett certainly has an uncertain future, but the coach told ESPN.com’s John Keim that he’s only focused on the holiday season. “Whatever happens, happens,” Haslett said.
  • This upcoming offseason will be key for the Rams, writes Joan Niesen of SI.com. According to the writer, the organization’s claim that they’re one year away from contention is getting “stale,” but the team showed flashes of dominance this season. Solidifying an inconsistent offense would be key for the team’s turnaround, opines Niesen.
  • Lions left guard Rob Sims has been a consistent presence on the Lions’ offensive line, and Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press writes that the upcoming free agent has been “making a late-season contract-year push.” “I think early in the season I was trying to overcome some stuff and dealing with some stuff and I got over it,” Sims said. “I was struggling a little bit, but I would never use that as an excuse. I’ll take my lick. I think I returned to form shortly after that, after the first Minnesota game…I feel like I’ve returned to form, so I think that’s me.”
  • The State’s Josh Kendall tweets that South Carolina running back Mike Davis will be entering the NFL Draft. The junior rushed for 927 yards and nine touchdowns this past season.
  • Yahoo’s Rand Getlin tweets that MSU defensive lineman Shilique Calhoun could be entering the upcoming draft. The player’s mother has been meeting with a variety of agents, and Getlin says the player is considering leaving school. However, Getlin also tweets that some believe Calhoun will ultimately stick around for his senior season.