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6 inside-linebacker possibilities for Raiders’ draft

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 02:08:41 UT

With success on the field comes lower NFL draft picks. “The one thing that’s been more difficult, you have no idea who’s coming down at 24,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said of his team’s draft spot. Raiders fans might scream at memories of another Alabama linebacker — 2010 bust Rolando McClain — but Foster is more explosive. Florida’s Jarrad Davis (6-1, 238): He can run (4.56 40-yard), even after missing the last four games last season with an ankle injury. Davis also can finish tackles, and coaches and scouts love his personality and have him pegged as a future leader. Raiders fans might scream, “Can he cover the tight end?” No, that is not a current strength. “He had an elite workout at his pro day and I think it just helped solidify everything that you see on tape,” ESPN analyst Todd McShay said. Ohio State’s Raekwon McMillan is considered the next best inside linebacker, but he plays small despite being 6-2, 240 and is not the name to remember — that’s Alex Anzalone, Davis’ teammate at Florida. If McKenzie decides to get a much-needed defensive lineman or cornerback in the first round, he might look to Anzalone as his next inside linebacker in the second or third round. With his long blonde hair, he stood out at the Senior Bowl, and then showed his physicality and smarts all week at practice, capping off the week with four tackles (one for loss) in the game. “You saw at (Senior Bowl) practice how gifted he is athletically,” an NFC personnel director told NFL.com.



Raiders have done due diligence with Joe Mixon

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 22:16:49 UT

Will they draft a running back if he doesn’t? Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie is waiting for a decision from Lynch, as he is not planning to pay the retired running back more than $3 million per year plus incentives, league sources said. Lynch isn’t too keen on taking less than half the $9 million he was due to make in 2017 on his old contract with the Seahawks. McKenzie hasn’t shown a willingness to use early round picks on running backs. Considered by some the best running back in the draft, Mixon may be available when Oakland picks 24th in the second round because he was caught on video punching a woman in 2014. While Raiders owner Mark Davis has made his stance against domestic violence clear, Mixon’s handlers and the league have been careful to call his incident an “assault” as he and his victim were not in a relationship and were arguing when she pushed him. McKenzie visited with Mixon twice in March — at his pro day, as he wasn’t invited to the NFL combine, and again at the Raiders’ facility. The Raiders are tight lipped about pre-draft visits and don’t usually talk about prospects, so they are likely giving fans a chance to wrap their heads around the idea of drafting the player in that video from the restaurant. “When stuff like this happens, whether it’s domestic violence or drunken driving, whatever issue that comes up, we’ll be prepared to answer questions,” McKenzie said. On the field, the 6-foot-1, 226-pound Mixon led Oklahoma to two Big 12 championships and most scouts and analysts agree he would be a top-20 draft pick on the football tape alone. “Without a doubt the best running back in this year’s class,” former Raiders running back and NFL Network analyst Maurice Jones-Drew said. If Mixon is gone by the time they pick in the second round or the Raiders decide to pass on him, there are plenty of other running backs available. On average, between six and seven running backs have been drafted in the first three rounds in each of the past five years, but scouts think 11 or 12 will go this year. Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine (5-foot-11, 233 pounds), who broke Billy Sims’ school rushing record, Texas’ D’Onta Foreman (6-foot, 233 pounds), who is faster than Perine but injury-prone, and Toledo’s Kareem Hunt (5-11, 216), who was a Senior Bowl standout, are all second- or third-round possibilities. Round 1, 5 p.m. Thursday; Rounds 2-3, 4 p.m. Friday; Rounds 4-7, 9 a.m. Saturday ESPN or ESPN2, NFL Network Raiders picks (round, overall selection): 1, 24; 2, 56; 3, 88; 4, 130; 5, 168; 6, 208; 7, 242; 7, 244



Raiders GM outlines team’s draft strategy

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 05:51:56 UT

Raiders GM outlines team’s draft strategy The way the Raiders’ brass tells it, the team officials and coaches might as well all wear “Best Player Available” buttons when the NFL draft starts Thursday. Never mind that Oakland was 26th in the NFL in defense last year and added only one defensive player in free agency, as opposed to four on offense. C’mon ... it has to be “Best Defensive Player Available” when Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie is on the clock with the 24th overall pick. Richard ran for 491 yards and caught 29 passes for 194 more in his rookie season. The Raiders need a similar jolt on defense and have big needs at defensive line, linebacker and in the secondary, as defensive end Khalil Mack and linebacker Bruce Irvin were the only consistent playmakers last season. McKenzie and Del Rio said they have been having a ball the past few months, talking to scouts, watching videoand coming up with projections for players who can help the team build off a 12-4, playoff season. The Raiders added two likely starters and two backups to a sixth-ranked offense during the free agency. Oakland could lure running back Marshawn Lynch out of retirement to replace Latavius Murray, or look to add another back in the draft, to go with Richard and DeAndre Washington. On defense, Oakland added linebacker Jelani Jenkins, who over the past three seasons started 34 games for the Dolphins. Whether they’re in this draft or postdraft or trade, somebody gets released, we’re going to do everything we can to upgrade our team; every position, including linebacker. The Raiders need more push up the middle, especially after releasing Dan Williams. Besides Justin Ellis and undrafted surprise Darius Latham, Oakland has only ends who can play inside in Mario Edwards, Denico Autry and Jihad Ward. Reggie McKenzie doesn’t believe in using high picks on inside linebackers, going for the late value-pick or older plug-in in free agency in his tenure. The Raiders need a slot cornerback, with the departure of 2013 first-round pick DJ Hayden, and those aren’t big shoes to fill.



Raiders’ McKenzie sees draft as deadline for signing Lynch

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 01:38:42 UT

Retired running back Marshawn Lynch is still negotiating with Oakland, and general manager Reggie McKenzie said Friday that he would prefer to get the deal done by the time the draft begins Thursday. Lynch, an Oakland native, visited McKenzie and coach Jack Del Rio two weeks ago, and should a contract be worked out, a trade with Seattle for his rights is expected to be a formality. “I think every indication I got is he was excited to play for the Oakland Raiders,” Del Rio said Friday at a predraft news conference. Free-agent running backs Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles and LeGarrette Blount remain on the market. Lynch would have to file for reinstatement by the NFL once a contract is finalized, and that could happen after the Raiders trade for his rights. McKenzie echoed Derek Carr’s statements, saying “I feel good” about getting the quarterback’s contract extension done before training camp. Smith, who hasn’t played since November 2015 because he violated the league’s substance abuse policy, has had a hard time staying out of the news. On March 9, he was detained at a San Francisco police station for public intoxication, and he gave a regrettable slurred television interview when his handlers didn’t pick him up.



Raiders to play 5 prime-time games, Niners 1

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 05:06:16 UT

Raiders to play 5 prime-time games, Niners 1 The Raiders, coming off a 12-4 season, are a hot commodity, so much so that they were selected for a franchise-record five prime-time games when the NFL schedule was announced Thursday. Oakland has three Sunday night games, including one at home against the Dallas Cowboys on Dec. 17. The Raiders also host a Thursday night game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Oct. 19. The other three nationally televised games are Sept. 24 at Washington, Nov. 5 at Miami and a Monday night game in Philadelphia on Christmas. The 49ers will not play on Sunday night or Monday night in Kyle Shanahan’s first year as head coach. San Francisco’s only prime-time appearance is Thursday, Sept. 21, against former Cal quarterback Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams in Santa Clara. The 49ers open at home against the Carolina Panthers on Sept. 10. The Raiders start on the road against the Titans, as Oakland tries to win in Nashville for the third season in a row. Oakland plays its home opener the following week against the Jets. The Raiders volunteered to travel to Mexico City for a second straight season and will play Super Bowl champ New England there Nov. 19. Vic Tafur is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: vtafur@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @VicTafur Raiders schedule Opponent N.Y. Jets L.A. Chargers N.Y. Giants @L.A. Chargers 49ers schedule Opponent L.A. Rams N.Y. Giants @L.A. Rams



Raiders exercise option on Mack

Thu, 20 Apr 2017 19:20:23 UT

In the easiest decision that general manager Reggie McKenzie has made, the Raiders exercised their option for the fifth year of defensive end Khalil Mack’s contract in 2018. McKenzie is first focused on new deals for quarterback Derek Carr and guard Gabe Jackson, who unlike Mack were not first-round picks and are entering the last year of their contracts. The Raiders have $28 million in salary-cap space and plan to resume talks with Carr after next week’s NFL Draft.



Raiders cut defensive tackle Dan Williams

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 21:36:41 UT

The Raiders released veteran defensive tackle Dan Williams on Tuesday afternoon, freeing up $4.5 million in salary-cap space and underlining one of the team’s biggest needs in next week’s NFL Draft. The move wasn’t a surprise, as coach Jack Del Rio never mentioned Williams in recent months when asked about his defensive linemen. The Raiders now have $28.7 million in salary-cap room as they try to sign and trade for retired running back Marshawn Lynch and then lock up quarterback Derek Carr, defensive end Khalil Mack and right guard Gabe Jackson to extensions.




Derek Carr, Khalil Mack aim to please Raiders fans everywhere

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 03:14:43 UT

The lame-duck era of the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders officially began for players Monday, as they reported to the team facility in Alameda for the first day of offseason workouts. Defensive end Khalil Mack, quarterback Derek Carr and center Rodney Hudson all said that fans have stopped and asked them their thoughts about the team’s pending move to Vegas in 2020. “It feels weird,” Mack said, who added that he expects it to feel normal again once players and fans meet “at the stadium” when the season starts. Because we don’t know what’s going to happen down the line. There were a lot of Las Vegas print and television reporters on hand Monday, and Carr said the team will make the best of an unusual situation. Carr said the players and all the fans — well, 99 percent, anyway — will stick together, even after two seasons in Oakland, a mystery destination in 2019 and then the move to Vegas in 2020. Head coach Jack Del Rio recently said Las Vegas won’t even be an issue for many current players because of the high turnover every year in the NFL. Carr and Mack probably will be with the team in 2020, with the Pro Bowl quarterback expected to get a new contract in the next three months and the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year in line, along with fourth-year guard Gabe Jackson. Carr’s agent, Tim Younger, and Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie have been in discussions for months, with McKenzie telling Carr and Younger he wants to wait until after next week’s NFL draft to start finalizing it. Hopefully it just gets done before training camp. Because once training camp starts, I won’t even answer my phone if it has to do with that. The Raiders continue to negotiate with the Oakland native on his contract terms, with a trade with Seattle for his rights almost a formality after that.



Raiders, Marshawn Lynch closer but not there yet

Sat, 15 Apr 2017 01:55:22 UT

Running back Marshawn Lynch and the Raiders have not agreed to terms on a contract, despite one national report that they had, but there is still optimism that the Oakland native will come out of retirement to play for his hometown team next season. Once they agree on contract terms, the deal would become official when the Raiders and Seahawks work out a trade for his rights. Lynch sat out all of the 2016 season recovering from abdominal injuries that required surgery and had limited his 2015 regular season to seven games. [...] the Seahawks don’t need him back, as they are set at running back after signing Eddie Lacy to join a backfield that includes Thomas Rawls. Seattle owns the contract rights to Lynch and it’s been reported that if Seattle released him, it would ask Lynch to repay the $2.5 million signing bonus he got for last season. Oakland has one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, and last season its running game ranked sixth in the league at 120.1 yards per game.



Beast Mode returns: Our Top 10 Marshawn Lynch moments

Fri, 14 Apr 2017 22:32:24 UT

Marshawn Lynch is poised to return to the NFL after a season away, and it appears he’ll make his comeback with his hometown Raiders once a deal is finalized between Oakland and Seattle. [...] based on recent reports chronicling his retirement adventures (or misadventures), it appears as though the enigmatic running back never left. In honor of Lynch’s pending return to Oakland, we’ve compiled a list of 10 moments we remember most about “Beast Mode” as the former Cal standout looks create more indelible images with the Raiders. The toughest moment from Lynch’s career occurred when his own coach denied him the opportunity to win Super Bowl 49. The Seahawks were a yard away from back-to-back Super Bowl victories when Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll opted for his team to throw the ball instead of handing it off to Lynch, then considered the game’s best short-yardage back. Quarterback Russell Wilson’s throw was intercepted by Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler, sealing a Patriots victory. After a November 2014 win over the Cardinals, during which Lynch rushed for 39 yards on 15 carries, the running back decided to answer every question with a single word. Did he plug an event sponsored by his foundation during the interview? After Cal’s home victory over Washington in 2006, Lynch hopped in the driver’s seat of a golf cart and orchestrated a zig-zagging victory ride across the Memorial Stadium field. The moment has become such a part of the Bears’ lore that the school celebrated the 10-year anniversary last season. Lynch drove his mother to midfield during pregame introductions, the student section set up card trick that was an ode to the running back’s first drive, and fans were given bobble heads of Lynch in his famed ride. During two nationally televised games, Lynch was spotted munching Skittles on the sideline in the 2011 season. In early December, Lynch rushed for 148 yards and two touchdowns as the Seahawks waxed the Philadelphia Eagles. Soon after, the candy company gifted Lynch with a two-year supply of Skittles and a custom dispenser for his locker. “When Marshawn was 12 or 13, we’d go to his games, and I’d always have little candies in my purse,” Delisa told Seahawks.com in June 2012. Almost every significant player involved with Super Bowl 49 participated in media day. At one point during media day, Lynch, wearing a hoodie and sunglasses, was spotted lingering in a corner. [...] when Lynch participated in media day in the 2015 Super Bowl, he would utter this famous phrase which he eventually trademarked. Marshawn Lynch, Master of Business Administration Toward the end of the 2014-15 season, he was able to turn his enigmatic persona into a profitable clothing brand, Beast Mode Apparel. The NFL fined him for wearing a Beast Mode hat during media day. In the days leading up to the Super Bowl, Lynch and his team set up a pop-up Beast Mode apparel shop in Phoenix. Lynch ripped off his longest touchdown run ever: a 79-yard dagger through the chest of the Cardinals defense. During a Wild Card playoff game against the Saints on Jan. 8, 2011, he had one of the greatest runs in playoff history, a play that earn him the moniker “Beast Mode.” Chronicle staff writer Rusty Simmons contributed to this report.



Lynch, Raiders still talking about deal

Thu, 13 Apr 2017 23:49:50 UT

Marshawn Lynch visited the Raiders’ facility nine days ago and though many close to the situation expect the retired running back to play for Oakland next season, there are still a couple of hurdles that need to be cleared. Seattle has no interest in keeping Lynch if he un-retires and would be fine simply releasing him, but would ask Lynch to pay back $2.5 million of his signing bonus from last year, which he sat out with injuries. The 5-foot-11, 215-pound Cal alum, who turns 31 next week, wants to play for his hometown team and the Raiders need a big running back to replace 6-3, 225-pound Latavius Murray, who signed with the Vikings. Lynch would have to file for reinstatement from the NFL once a contract is finalized, and that could happen after the Raiders trade for his rights. The Seahawks’ reported asking price for Sherman, though, is a first- and a third-round pick, and McKenzie has told The Chronicle in the past he doesn’t want to trade any picks he has in the first three rounds. In nine NFL seasons, Lynch rushed for 9,112 yards and 74 touchdowns. [...] in 2015, he was limited to seven regular-season games and 417 yards and the postseason loss to the Panthers, largely because of an abdominal injury that required surgery.




Lynch visits Raiders facility to discuss comeback

Thu, 6 Apr 2017 00:04:20 UT

Retired Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch visited the Raiders’ facility on Wednesday, further paving the way for the Oakland native’s return to the NFL to play for his mom’s favorite team. Oakland has $27.6 million in cap space, and McKenzie said last week that he is working on extending contracts for quarterback Derek Carr, defensive end Khalil Mack and guard Gabe Jackson. Lynch, a five-time Pro Bowler, has not played since a Jan. 17, 2016, playoff loss to Carolina in which he gained only 20 yards on six carries. In nine NFL seasons, Lynch rushed for 9,112 yards and 74 touchdowns. [...] in 2015 he was limited to seven regular-season games and 417 yards and the postseason loss to the Panthers, largely because of an abdominal injury that required surgery. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll was asked last week at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix whether Lynch could still play at a high level. The Raiders are leaving for Las Vegas in 2020, but signing Lynch, a former Cal as well as Oakland Tech standout, would be a nice peace offering to angry fans.



Mark Davis: I offered to sell share of Raiders to A’s to stay

Tue, 4 Apr 2017 23:47:33 UT

Raiders owner Mark Davis said in a radio interview Tuesday that he thought he was close to deal for a stadium in Oakland in the summer of 2013, but it “unraveled” when the A’s were given a 10-year lease at the site. Appearing on 95.7 FM — the Raiders’ flagship station — a week after the NFL approved his team’s move to Las Vegas in 2020, Davis tried to further explain where it all went wrong with Oakland. Davis said he offered to sell the A’s 20 percent of the Raiders to get the ball rolling. If they could have come up with a deal that would have given us the land, either leased it or gave it to us at reasonable terms, and gave us the infrastructure, and we had the ability to find a developer to fill that funding gap, we may have been able to do something on that site. Because I do believe it is a phenomenal site. … The Raiders are set to begin playing in a $1.9 billion stadium in Las Vegas in 2020, making the next three seasons awkward at best for the team and its fans. Where the Raiders play in 2019 is anyone’s guess because Davis would rather not put money into UNLV’s Sam Boyd Stadium to make it suitable for Las Vegas home games. “I understand that there’s anger, disappointment, and I just think it should be pointed at me, and not Derek Carr, not Khalil Mack, and not the head coach, Jack Del Rio, because those guys want to bring a championship to the Bay Area,” Davis said.



Kirk Morrison comforts his dad, who bleeds silver and black

Sun, 2 Apr 2017 04:25:43 UT

Kirk Morrison comforts his dad, who bleeds silver and black An edited transcript of an interview with former Raiders linebacker and current Los Angeles Rams television analyst Kirk Morrison: Should Raiders fans have any anger in their heart toward Mark Davis? All Mark Davis has been doing is trying to get a stadium. The Warriors paid for their own stadium, the Giants paid for their own stadium, so we can’t really ask that the City Council pay for a millionaire’s play toy. When someone gives you $750 million to bring your team, that’s huge. ... Will the move to Vegas be a distraction to the players on the field? What would you tell a Raiders fan who has season tickets and is very disgruntled right now? What was your dad’s initial reaction? Last night before I did an ESPN hit, he calls me and is like, Don’t renew my tickets. When I played for the Jaguars, he came to one of my games and wore a Raiders jacket. Underneath the jacket he was wearing a Jaguars jersey, and he told me, “Son, I’m always going to be your biggest fan, but if you cut me, I’m gonna bleed silver and black.”



Boycott the Raiders? Don’t be so sure

Thu, 30 Mar 2017 23:09:00 UT

The springtime air is filled with rage and rebellion, as chilly as the northwest winds, as the Raiders plan to leave soulful, grassroots Oakland for a domed stadium in fake-town Las Vegas. Of all the fan bases in America, none is more devoted to game day — at the stadium — than Oakland’s. It’s a festival of tailgating, face-painting and raw passion that dates back decades. [...] this year’s Raiders lineup rates with the NFL’s best, a Super Bowl well within reach. How long can you hold out before feeling that overwhelming desire to see your team in person? [...] we can all push for the Raiders setting up temporary camp in Levi’s Stadium, San Antonio, wherever, for the 2018 and ’19 seasons. Grim duty for Raiders players and their wives and kids: