The beginning of the end of camp was today. The first of three final practices of 2017 training camp. We are now at 26 days until the start of the regular season, and almost as if it were meant to be, number 26 is the guy you may have heard a lot about since Saturday.
S Shalom Luani
This seventh round rookie is all the rage right now, after his standout performance against the Cardinals in the team’s preseason opener last weekend. He suffered no drop off in practice today either despite working with the first team part of the time.
Prior to the Raiders making Luani one of four 7th round selections, Luani was most known for being a former soccer star for the American Samoa FIFA World Cup team. He attended junior college football in the Bay Area at Chabot College before transferring to Washington State. His time in the East Bay could be why the Raiders knew of his skills.
He has a nose for the ball and doesn’t lack in the hustle department either. And with the injuries to Obi Melfonwu and Keith McGill, Luani has also seen increased reps to prove his worth. Initially he was seen as just a special teams player. But he clearly has great skills as a safety as well. The question then becomes how he gets on the field with entrenched starters Reggie Nelson and Karl Joseph out there and Obi Melifonwu eventually returning full from his injury.
Who wore it best: S Vann McElroy (1982-90)
When speaking of the great defensive backs in Raiders history, rarely does Vann McElroy get mentioned. Not only was he the team's starting free safety for most of the ‘80s, he was a two time Pro Bowler, including the 1983 Super Bowl season when he led the team with 8 interceptions.
McElroy slips notice a lot due to that ‘83 team featuring the legendary cornerback duo of Lester Hayes, Mike Haynes, along with safety Mike Davis. McElroy added an interception in the playoff win over the Seahawks that year. He had 31 interceptions in his 8-plus years with the Raiders which is currently the fourth most in franchise history behind only Willie Brown (39) and Lester Hayes (39), and Terry McDaniel (34).