Immediately after the Raiders drafted TJ Carrie in the seventh round out of Ohio, they had him pegged as a return specialist. It made sense considering the cornerback received most of his accolades as a return man, including being named first team All conference. But where he has been turning heads the most this off-season has been as a cornerback.
Carrie was the talk of OTA's among the defensive backs and though most of OTA practices are not viewable for the media, all three days of minicamp are. And the good words of him from OTA's have been showing up over these last three days.
"He absolutely has carried it through," Dennis Allen said of Carrie's play this off-season. "I've been very impressed with him. His ability to understand what we're trying to do within the scheme of the defense. What you look for in guys like that is you look for a guy who is gonna make a play that kind of catches your attention. Really every day there's been something that he's done that you say ‘Damn, that was a pretty good play.' I like where he's at and the development in the process here."
With D.J. Hayden and Carlos Rogers both out with injury for minicamp, Carrie has been getting a good amount of reps with the second team. With the depth of the Raiders receiving corps and the play of Derek Carr with the second team, there isn't a whole lot of difference in play between that and the first team. And yet, Carrie is routinely shadowing his receiver and -- as Allen pointed out -- making plays.
One such play happened in day two in which he stayed with Greg Little stride for stride up the right sideline and make a perfect play to swat the ball down as it arrived.
All the while he is surprising the Raiders with his play at corner, he is still the favorite to land the job as the team's primary punt returner. Others back to return punts in practice include Greg Jenkins, Denarius Moore, Maurice Jones-Drew, and Mike Davis.
Being a seventh round pick, he wasn't discussed much initially, but if he can continue to surprise Dennis Allen with his play at corner, he will be discussed a lot more as the season approaches.