The Las Vegas Raiders have been in training camp for a week and are starting their second day of padded practices.
There have been some early standouts. Let’s look at some of the players who have shined early on, focusing on the non obvious stars on the squad, in alphabetical order:
The undrafted rookie from Arizona State has worked with the first-team defense some as an inside linebacker. He played for new linebackers coach Antonio Pearce in college. There is a long way to go and Butler must show out in preseason games, but this is an extremely intriguing situation.
The veteran free agent has impressed his coaches and teammates since signing a one-year contract this year. Harmon is a leader and a strong locker-room presence. He has played for this new regime in New England. He is a perfect liaison for the staff to the rest of the defense. Plus, he can still play. We will see a lot of him this season.
He is another veteran addition. The wide receiver may be the Harmon of the offense. He has a big personality and he has already shown he’s a leader. He can also play. Hollins may not be a top-of-the-rotation player, but his presence will be felt this season on offense and on special teams.
Raiders coach Josh McDaniels has raved about Johnson, a speed player who spent some time on the Raiders’ roster last year. He has flashed during essentially every practice so far. The Raiders’ receiver room is crowded, but if Johnson has a big preseason, he should make the 53-man roster.
The third-round pick (the team’s highest draft pick) has been playing both guard and center, showing his versatility. He has a chance to start as a rookie. Parham’s play will be a major focal point in the preseason. He has a chance to be a real factor this season.
Another veteran addition (he was acquired in a trade for pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts), Ya-Sin has been a leader at cornerback and shown he will be in the top-of-the-rotation. Ya-Sin is an ascending player and the Raiders’ coaching staff is really excited about what he can bring to this defense this season and he’s already showing glimpses of it.