Editor's note: Unforeseen circumstances caused me to miss parts of this game throughout. If there is something I missed, feel free to let me know.
On Friday, the Raiders took the field against the Detroit Lions in Oakland Coliseum for their preseason home opener. The Silver and Black rallied in the fourth quarter to win the exciting game 27-26. While the team improved as a whole, how did the Raiders rookies fare?
Khalil Mack, OLB, #52 (1st round)
Coming off a disappointing performance against the Vikings, Mack was expected to improve. While he played better, it took him three quarters to make an impact. Early in the game, Mack made a nice tackle on Lions runningback Joique Bell. But the play was called back for offensive holding on the Lions.
After the initial tackle, Mack remained silent until the late third quarter. While he was able to keep outside leverage and force the Lions runningbacks to cut inside, he struggled to shed blocks. It almost seemed as if Mack was blocking the offensive lineman.
With two minutes remaining in the third quarter, the sleeping giant finally came to life. Mack blew past the left offensive tackle and wrapped up Lions quarterback Kellen Moore for his first NFL sack. The next play, he displayed pure power to stuff the lions runningback for a loss. Both plays occurred against the Lions third string offense.
While Mack's improvement came in baby steps, hopefully it will raise his confidence and bring out the best in the highly touted outside linebacker.
Derek Carr, QB, #4 (2nd round)
While Carr was solid last week against the Vikings, he impressed against the Lions. The only thing that could stop him from tearing the Lions secondary apart was a concussion.
With the exception of his first throw in which he barely missed a wide open tight end, Carr's accuracy was spot on. He had a great fade from about 15 yards out to James Jones that should have been initially caught for a touchdown. Jones bobbled it and then caught it out of bounds.
Next to McGloin's game winner, the throw of the night came when Carr dropped a beauty to a streaking Greg Little. With no room to step up in the pocket, the gunslinger showed off his rocket arm and fired a 40-yard dime off his back foot. Little caught the ball inside the five yard line setting up Carr's first NFL touchdown pass to Jake Murphy.
While the touchdown was only a three yard completion, it shows how Carr has matured the past few weeks. Because of his strong arm, Carr has often overthrown short passes. This led to an interception last week against the Vikings. Instead of rifling it to Murphy, Carr floated an accurate pass on the run to the tight end for the touchdown.
Earlier in the game, he also had a nice throw on the run for a 15-yard gain.
With five minutes left in the fourth quarter, Carr rolled out to his right in an attempt to avoid Lions defensive end Larry Webster. The 262-pound behemoth caught Carr from behind sending the quarterback to the ground hard. The rookie quarterback left the game as he suffered a concussion and bruised ribs from the play.
Carr ended up going 9 for 16 for 109 yards along with one touchdown and a 98.2 passer rating. A couple of Carr's incompletions were because of drops.
Gabe Jackson, OG, #66 (3rd round)
While the offensive line struggled to block the Lion's pass rush early on, Jackson was a bright spot. Although he gave up a sack in the second half, it was not really his fault. The pocket collapsed on Derek Carr and he moved left and ran right into Jackson and the defender.
Jackson opened up some nice holes in the run game. He moves really well for a 336-pound offensive lineman. This allows him to pull effectively which creates big gains on the ground.
Because of his consistent play, Jackson saw a lot of time with the starters Friday night. After Khalil Barnes' poor performance against the Lions, do not be surprised if Jackson plays with the first string this Friday in Green Bay.
Justin Ellis, DT, #78 (4th round)
Ellis was sidelined with a concussion he suffered last week against the Vikings.
Keith McGill, CB, #39 (4th round)
Friday night was McGill's first NFL game as he sat out the first preseason game against the Vikings with a groin injury. The 6'3" cornerback often dwarfs the receivers he is covering, but because of his size, he has slow footwork.
For example, in the second half the Lions quarterback threw a ten yard comeback to the left wide receiver. McGill was late to break on it and the play resulted in a ten yard gain. Had the cornerback's feet and instincts been quicker, McGill easily could have intercepted the ball.
McGill also had trouble tackling in space. In the third quarter, the Lions had a sweep to the left. McGill was in position to make the tackle but he dived and missed. While he slowed down the play, he should have made the tackle for a five yard loss.
While he did not play bad, the Utah alumnus is certainly capable of performing better.
T.J. Carrie, CB, #38 (7th round)
After an excellent showing against the Vikings, Carrie was voted as the most impressive rookie by the readers of S&BP. While his performance Friday night was not as impressive, he still contributed to the team's win.
Carrie saw a ton of playing time at cornerback and even got to play with the first string in nickel back formations. Late in the first quarter, he gave up a five yard touchdown to Lions wide receiver Kris Durham. While Carrie played the ball well, he was out jumped by the 6'6" receiver.
Later in the game, Carrie bit on a short out and let his assigned receiver get behind him. The rookie mistake resulted in a 20 yard gain for the Lions.
In the third quarter, Carrie had a beautiful 45-yard punt return to set up a Sebastian Janikowski field goal. He fielded the punt off a bounce and raced up the right sideline until he was finally pushed out of bounds. His vision and ability to follow his blockers were excellent on the play.
Shelby Harris, DE, #75 (7th round)
I did not get to watch a lot of Harris because he came into the game during the second half when NFL Network began to skip sections. Most plays, Harris struggled to provide pressure. But one play in particular shows his potential.
Harris shot off the line like a cannon and was able to beat the offensive lineman across his face. He then nailed the Lions runningback in the backfield for a loss of two yards. It showed how quick the 288-pound defensive end is.
Jonathan Dowling, S, #41 (7th round)
Like Harris, I did not see much of Dowling because he did not play until the later stages of the game. What I did see was not very impressive. The 6'3" safety has a bad tendency to dive and whiffed badly twice for the second week in a row. His pass coverage was not much better as he reacts slowly to the ball.
Dowling also had a holding penatly called on a kick return causing the Raiders drive to start on their own 11-yard line.
With Tyvon Branch and Usama Young ahead of him in the depth chart, the Raiders would only have use for Dowling on special teams. But unless he proves he can consistently tackle in space, Dowling could find himself off the team within a couple of weeks.