With weeks still left before camp, OTA captured the minds and attention of fans. The Raiders sit in the same position as just about every other team. However, unlike many NFL teams, Oakland boasts a quick organizational renovation. With Jack del Rio losing in job, Jon Gruden needed an HGTV-style flip of this once-great franchise. Meanwhile, a holdover from the JDR days, Obi Melifonwu continues to slowly make strides. FPC writers Ray Aspuria, Chris Simmons will discuss Obi and the rookies.
With all the attention paid towards Khalil Mack’s contract, what other DE can use his absence to impress coaches?
I would love to say Mario Edwards Jr, but that ship sailed. Instead, the obvious candidate is Arden Key. He will get his cleanest looks right now all along the defensive line. If he can pop early, he can force the issue and practice himself onto the field.
The obvious answer is rookie Arden Key. His physical talents speak for themselves. However, the defensive end that can make the most of the added snaps is Tank Carradine. The veteran is a quick and strong run buster, someone who can provide the same wrecker mentality Mack has in defending the run.
Although Obi Melifonwu saw field time in OTA, he is still behind at safety. If a position switch were possible, how would you use him at LB?
Use him the same way Nicholas Morrow played last year. He would be a pure cover linebacker who can cover opposing tight ends and running backs. His height and overall lankiness might hurt in the run game, however, similar size and build to Key.
Right now, Obi could only be used as a weakside linebacker in coverage. He has not shown kind of physicality needed to regularly attack the line of scrimmage or the IQ to play in the middle. Considering his size and coverage background in college, he will likely find the field as a tight end coverage specialist and build from there.
Granted, no one wanted to see a protracted holdout. On the other hand, seeing other ends get meaningful practice time could open and give the Raiders much needed depth. Attrition conquers most teams. Unlike the Eagles, who persevered through injuries, the Raiders need to find out what they have.