The Oakland Raiders former third round pick out of Michigan State Shilique Calhoun sees the new coaching staff as a new opportunity to have an impact and make the Raiders roster.
To Shilique Calhoun, new beginnings are just fine by him.
The former third round draft choice in 2016 had an impressive resume after playing at Michigan State. During his four years as a Spartan, Calhoun recorded 27 sacks and 44 tackles for loss for Mike Dantonio. With great size (6-foot-4, 251 pounds), Calhoun brought prototypical size to the edge position.
Unfortunately for Calhoun, the last two seasons he was unable to translate his game to the NFL. His 2016 season ended in disappointment and a trip on injured reserve. Calhoun was subsequently waived, cleared waivers, then was added to the practice squad for half of the 2017 season. The Raiders then activated him to the roster in October, but he didn’t see any playing time under former coach Jack Del Rio.
When Gruden and his new defensive coordinator Paul Guenther arrived in Oakland, the Raiders tendered the exclusive free agent rights for Calhoun. After the initial practices, and the draft, it appears that Calhoun might have a legitimate shot to compete for a place on the Raiders roster in 2018.
Calhoun, in an one-on-one interview this week in Las Vegas, explained to us what was different about the new coaching staff and how it is helping to improve the organization.
“Definitely a different vibe,” Calhoun said. “I love Coach Gruden and its definitely different on the walk throughs. It’s very intense, and very high pace where he is going to push the mental and the physical and I think thats something we need to grow as an organization.”
But does it mean Calhoun has a new lease on life with the Raiders?
“Their style of coaching is definitely different than what I am use to,” Calhoun said. “I have been with Jethro Franklin for two years, but coach Guenther has come in and reformed and reshaped the defensive line, so that’s gonna be amazing. There is gonna be a lot of opportunity on that line. But that does not mean anything if we don’t capitalize on it.”
If Calhoun is able to capitalize on this opportunity, there could be some fantastic camp competition between him, 2018 draft pick Arden Key, Tank Carradine, and James Cowser.
Raiders camp begins 15 days before their first scheduled pre-season game.