Winter Report: Rookies Report To Camp

Rookie Oakland Raiders

ALAMEDA, Calif. – One by one, all five of the Oakland Raiders rookies repeated what has clearly become the team’s mantra for its rookies – “I am here to do whatever the team needs.”

Jon Gruden rookie mini camp

Gruden got his first look at his rookie class on the field in Alameda.

Here’s my quick observations from the mini-camp today:

  • Head Coach Jon Gruden continued to reiterate he has the utmost faith in his rookie class – his first since returning to the league as the Raiders coach. “We want competition in training camp and I think we accomplished that,” Gruden said at his press conference at the end of the day.
  • Gruden gushed on defensive tackle picks PJ Hall and Mo Hurst, and said he’s not worried about his young and recovering from injury cornerbacks either. “They will be ready to go,” Gruden said. “Conley is almost there, and Nelson is about three weeks out.”
  • Today was focused on individual drills, with some key Raiders draft picks getting in early work with the staff.
  • I watched tackle Brandon Parker do blocking drills from both a left and right side rush, same with tackle Kolton Miller. However, it was just simulated solo.
  • Same went for the defensive line trio of tackles Hall and Hurst, with defensive end Arden Key. They all lined up doing whistle drills out of their stance.
  • Speaking of the defensive line trio, linebacker Bruce Irvin spent time with the new rookies. Key said Irvin was “…teaching us how to be pros, on and off the field.” Lets hope that sticks with Key, because if he is able to laser focus on the field, he could be a dangerous pass rusher.

Miller and Parker are mountains of men in person and are beaming with confidence. While it was nice to see them on the field in the Silver and Black, it’s when they get out there with the veterans later this summer that we’ll have a better sense for how pro ready they may be.