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Raiders UDFA 2022: Close connections pay off

There were some deals that made too much sense

Antonio Pierce
Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There have been many reports of the Las Vegas Raiders filling their 2022 undrafted free agent class, but no announcements have been made yet, so nothing is official and the UDFA market is always fluid.

Yet, a couple of the reported Raiders’ rookie signing make so much sense. basically, once these two players went undrafted, all signs pointed to them to heading to Las Vegas.

They are Arizona State linebacker Darien Butler and USC safety Isaiah Pola-Mao. Why? Connections, including family ties.

Pola-Mao is related to new Las Vegas running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu and he is the uncle of Pro Football Hall of Fame safety Troy Polamalu. Pola-Mao is the nephew of Troy Polamalu.

Kennedy Polamalu was on USC’s coaching staff last year and has already worked with Isaiah Pola-Mao, so the Raiders clearly had the inside track on landing the former Trojans’ star.

It was the same in Butler’s case, even though there are no known family ties. His position coach and defensive coordinator in college was Antonio Pierce. He is now the linebacker coach for the Raiders.

So, this is a natural transition for Butler as he tries to make his mark in the NFL.

So, once the draft ended and both Butler and Pola-Mao were not taken, their free-agent landing spots became pretty clear. These will be fun storylines to follow in training camp and perhaps beyond.