We trudge closer to the Raiders season opener in Tennessee, and with this heat, the summer can’t seem to end fast enough. To pass the time, stay inside with the AC cranked up and read about the player who is wearing the number 74 these days for the Raiders.
OL Vadal Alexander
The Raiders must have been is somewhat of disbelief when their final pick was up in the seventh round of last year’s draft and Vadal Alexander was still on the board. The former LSU tackle was graded by sever publications as the top guard prospect in the draft and a day two pick. You take a chance on a player with that kind of potential.
Alexander played some guard as a rookie, but with the injuries at right tackle, he saw time there as well.
In OTA’s, Alexander was the primary backup at left guard behind Kelechi Osemele. Then right tackle Marshall Newhouse was sidelined with an injury and Alexander stepped in during minicamps at right tackle, ahead of rookie fourth round pick, David Sharpe. That won’t continue once camp starts and Newhouse is healthy again, but it’s clear the Raiders like his talent and versatility.
Who wore it best: DT Tom Keating (1966-72)
He joined the Raiders after two seasons in Buffalo. Upon arrival to the Raiders, he immediately was named an AFL All Star. In his second season, he was All AFL. That season he helped the Raiders take the AFL crown and reach Super Bowl II.
In total Keating played seven seasons in Oakland. He lined up alongside Big Ben Davidson with the two of them wreaking havoc along the right side. That line, which also featured Dan Birdwell and Ike Lassiter, led the league with fewest rushing yards allowed and fewest yards per carry allowed. The Raiders had some legendary defensive line play in the seventies but it began with Keating, Davidson, and co.