It’s an off day for the Raiders, making the perfect split because they’ve practiced 8 of their 16 training camp days so far. Since we are at the halfway point, let’s take a look at some of the players who have shown well for themselves at each position.
Standout: Derek Carr
Not a big shocker here. He looks downright flawless thus far in camp. Rarely does he throw an errant pass. His new deep threats are enjoying when they get a step on their defender, he rewards them with the ball right on their hands. Keep in mind that there is no sacking the quarterback in camp. If there is pressure, the defender must just run by. Other times, in 7-on-7s or one-on-ones there aren’t any pass rushers at all. Carr’s biggest test will occur when pass rushers are bearing down on him. But there’s no questioning his arm talent and rapport with his new receiving corps.
Neither Mike Glennon or Nathan Peterman has jumped out. The lesser of the evils, if you will, is Glennon. Peterman has mostly looked plain terrible. Despite Gruden’s claim that “This Nate Peterman is growing on me.” Peterman has already given a woman a black eye with a pass that sailed into the stands and nearly hit me with one too (I don’t move quick with my leg brace from my broken kneecap surgery) and I was not exactly standing on the field.
Standout: Doug Martin
The veteran back looks as quick and elusive as ever and has shown some great hands as well. Rookie Josh Jacobs is the one who is supposed to have the great hands, but it can be hard to tell the difference between them at time. And not just because Jacobs is now wearing Martin’s number 28 from last season.
Sleeper: Alec Ingold
With Keith Smith out with a knee injury, Ingold has stepped up as the only fullback on the field. He has made some aggressive blocks and has even mixed it up a couple times with defenders who get frustrated with him.
Standout: Tyrell Williams
Raiders coaches have said a couple times that coming into this offseason, Williams was their target as the team’s number one receiver. That was until Antonio Brown became a possibility. With Brown out with injury, Williams has looked every bit the number one receiver talent the Raiders see in him. A long strider with plenty of height and leaping ability, he makes leaping grabs look routine and he has deceptive speed to separate both with and without the ball in his hands.
Sleeper(s): JJ Nelson, Marcell Ateman, Keelan Doss
I couldn’t narrow it down between these three. All of them have made a case for grabbing the final couple wide receiver roster spots. That’s what the rest of camp and preseason will work out. They’ve all put themselves in position to be chosen at this point.
Standout: Darren Waller
Pegged as the starter despite just a few months ago being signed off the Ravens’ practice squad and spending the final few games with the Raiders. As much of a ‘proof is in the pudding’ skeptic as a tend to be, I must say it’s not hard to see why Gruden has the faith in Waller that he does. He has been impressive. He’s like a big wide receiver out there. He’s a mismatch on linebackers and even gets behind the safeties quite often. Prior to the last couple days in which he hasn’t practiced with a shoulder injury, he was making a stellar catch every practice.
Sleeper: Foster Moreau
Mostly he’s a blocking tight end. But he has also shown some sneaky receiving skills as well. Just the past couple days of camp, he’s had a long over-the-shoulder grab and a diving catching at the goal line. Both showed athleticism he’s not supposed to possess. Good for the rookie fourth round pick in his battle with veteran Luke Willson at the position.
Standout: Trent Brown
When he stands with the other offensive lineman, he is like a head taller than them. A monster of a man, he has his way with every pass rusher or linebacker he encounters. Vontaze Burfict called him a wall who is so big he blocks his sightline so he can’t even see the ball carrier. That’s a good description.
I haven’t noticed another offensive lineman making a case for himself to sneak onto the roster. Hopefully that will happen over the second half of camp and especially in the preseason. But I will tell you who has NOT made a case for himself and that’s Brandon Parker. He gets worked on the regular by speed rushers. That was a common sight last season when the third round rookie gave up 14 sacks in 12 starts and he has yet to show strides in that area. He better get to it.