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Raiders 2016 training camp day 9: Rookie pass rushers bringing it

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Two of the Raiders top three picks in April's draft were pass rushers. They showed up big time today in training.

Coming into the pros from college as a pass rusher isn't always an instantaneous thing. Getting around college players isn't the same as going against the pros. Even Khalil Mack had a transition period, posting just 4.0 his rookie season. Today both the Raiders drafted pass rushers showed some flashes.

First up in drills was third round pick Shilique Calhoun who was destroying the field of tight ends he faced. And he did it with a different move every time.

First up was Colton Underwood, the former linebacker turned tight end. Calhoun put a wicked spin move on him to crash the pocket. Next up was second year tight end Gabe Holmes. Calhoun beat him on an outside rush and Holmes couldn't keep his feet. Then it was former starting tight end Mychal Rivera's turn. Calhoun started outside and when Rivera commited, Calhoun then used his inside arm to schuck Rivera who also went to the turf. Finally it was rookie Ryan O'Malley's turn. Calhoun got O'Malley off balance and then got up into his kitchen, bullrushing him onto his back.

The common response to this is to wonder what he would have done with Raiders tight end blocking specialist, Lee Smith. One would hope Smith would put up more of a fight considering that's his primary job. They didn't face each other in the drill, so I guess we'll have to wait until that match-up occurs.

Calhoun did face Walford, but it wasn't in blocking/rushing drills. It was in coverage, at which point you see as clear as day the area the former college defensive end has been moved to outside linebacker and needs a lot of work dropping back. He never had to drop back into coverage at Michigan State, so he has a long way to go to get where he needs to be in that area.

Beating up on tight ends is great and all, but second round pick, Jihad Ward was doing work on the Raiders' offensive linemen.

In offensive line vs defensive line pass blocking plays, Ward unleashed a Jihad.

First he was matched up against third team guard, Terran Vaughn. Sure, some of you will be like "Who?", but Ward ate up Vaughn on three straight rushes. First on a bull rush, then on a spin move, and finally on a shuck that sent Vaughn stumbling away into the backfield. And in case you were wondering if it was just a match-up thing, Ward faced guard Oni Omoile and threw him to the ground.

Ward kept it going in 11-on-11s too. With the offense running plays from backed up to their own goal line, Ward sacked Derek Carr for a safety. Khalil Mack got pressure off the right edge around Menelik Watson, which caused Carr to step up into the pocket where Ward was there to greet him. Carr argued that he escaped, but Jack Del Rio ended the debate, walking to the middle of the field and raising his hands together to signal safety.

Observations:

OUT: Jimmy Hall was not practicing. Mario Edwards was limited to side work most of the day. He had tape on his hand from his fight in Saturday's practice where he punched Kelechi Osemele's helmet.

IN: Returning to practice were Leon Orr who had missed two practices, Colton Underwood who had been out for nearly a week, and Taiwan Jones who had been limited the past two days after missing practice three days ago. Osemele was back full after being ejected with Edwards midway through yesterday's practice.

Standouts

Team sessions got started with a bang, with nice plays being made in succession.

Derek Carr threw for Amari Cooper on an out route along the right sideline. He put it up high and Cooper went up to get it with David Amerson in tight coverage. Coop came down with the ball, squared up, and threw Amerson to the side with a straight arm shiver and streak up the sideline with open field in front of him.

The next play, Carr threw for Crabtree on a shallow cross that Sean Smith couldn't keep up with. The pass was right on time and Crabs too got a good gain out of it.

Then Carr went up the left sideline to camp sensation, Johnny Holton. But TJ Carrie said ‘I see your sensation and raise you a get that ish outta here'. Carrie stayed stride for stride with Holton up the sideline and layed out to make a brilliant pass defended.

Once Carr was done, it was Matt McGloin's turn to connect with Holton. And McGloin was happy to have him. On his first play, he went for him deep up the right sideline, this time with Dexter McDonald in coverage. The pass was there, just as before, but McDonald couldn't defend it for a long gain.

A few plays later, Holton went on a slant and McGloin threw for him. The ball was behind Holton, but he made a tough adjustment, which he made look easy to pull it in and not lose stride.

KJ Brent has also showed well this camp. McGloin went for him next on an out alone the left sideline. The ball was put where only Brent could get it and he dove out to snag it while keeping his feet inbounds for a catch.

Derrick Lott showed some hustle in today's practice. The defensive lineman was added on the first day of camp and has been playing catch up with his new teammates ever since. Early in practice he had a run stuff on Jalen Richard up the middle. A bit later, he got up in the air to bat down a Connor Cook pass at the line. Then a bit later, he ran down Matt McGloin on a scramble play to chase him out of bounds for a short gain. At 6-4, 315, running down anyone from the middle of the field all the way to the sideline is impressive.

Gotta step it up

Along with Colton Underwood getting lit up by Shilique Calhoun in blocking drills, he had about the easiest possible catch bounce right off his chest. It was a simple play where he went a couple yards and turned back where Cook put it right on him. I'm actually more surprised he's been decent up to this point, being that he switched positions this offseason.