Yesterday the Oakland Raiders top two draft picks D.J. Hayden and Menelik Watson were both placed on the Non Football Injury list (NFI), today it appears the designation was really only true for one of them. Our own Levi Damien is in Napa Valley with the Raiders at their training camp and is reporting that Menelik Watson has not been cleared to start practicing but DJ Hayden is on the practice field with his teammates.
The reason for Menelik's designation onto the NFI has not yet been revealed but whatever reason it is has kept the 2nd round pick from practicing on the first day of training camp practices. He is on the sidelines on a stationary bike. There will be a press conference held after the practices finish later this afternoon and it is at that time that we expect to get an update on Watson's condition.
Though DJ Hayden is on the field with his teammates he has not been cleared for contact as of yet so he is doning the red "no contact" jersey. Despite not being able to participate in any contact yet it is still a great sign that he is out on the field taking the reps that he needs to get ready for the season. Realistically on the first day of practicing in training camp there really is unlikely to be much contact going on anyway.
It is a bit surprising to see Hayden be the one of the two able to be on the practice field. He missed the majority of mini-camp due to scar tissue removal surgery but it appears to have gone well enough to at least allow DJ to be on the field. There hadn't been any talk of whether or not he would be able to be on the field so its a warm welcome to see him being able to line up with his teammates.
As for Menelik, hopefully the condition is nothing serious. Anything said about his current state would just be speculation so we all will just have to wait and see what the coaching staff says later this afternoon. Watson is in a battle to be the starting RT with veteran Khalif Barnes and already is behind due to being raw and inexperienced. He needs every rep he can get to win the job so we all hope to see him up and on the practice field very soon.