Let’s look at how the Las Vegas Raiders’ rookie class did in a 24-17 Week 4 road loss at the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday and as they prepare for Monday night’s home game against the Green Bay Packers.
Two of the team’s nine draft picks were inactive for the game. They were third-round pick, defensive tackle Byron Young and sixth-round pick, linebacker Amari Burney. It was Young’s first time as an inactive. Burney hasn’t played all season.
The No. 7 overall pick played 45 percent of the snaps in Week 4, his third lowest amount this season. He had an assisted tackle. he now has three assisted tackles and one solo tackle in four games.
Yes, the Texas Tech product flashed on a few plays, but much more is expected from this high of a draft pick in his fourth game than a few flashes here and there, especially when other high-draft picks around the league are already making meaningful impacts.
The second-round pick was also quiet in Week 4. Mayer, a tight end from Notre Dame, did not have a catch against the Chargers, He was not targeted in the game and has just one catch for two yards on two targets in four games. He did catch a two-point conversion in Week 3. Those don’t count on the stat sheet, though. Mayer played 51 percent of the snaps in Week 4, his highest total this season. But there is no production yet. Overall, the Raiders just aren’t using their tight ends much. Mayer and veteran Austin Hooper have combined for five receptions. Through four games last season, former Las Vegas tight ends Darren Waller and Foster Moreau had a combined 22 catches.
The third-round pick did start at the slot over veteran Hunter Renfrow against the Chargers, but he played just 25 percent of the offensive snaps (the most this season for him). Yet, he had no targets. Like Mayer, these aren’t Jimmy Garoppolo or Aidan O’Connell traits, they’re coaching decisions, We’ll see if the opportunities, and thus production, increases as the season goes along.
Bennett lost playing time in Week 4. He was on the field for just 40 percent of the snaps after almost playing every snap in the first three games. He showed himself as a solid tackler early with 16 in the first two games. He has had just three stops in the past two games. Bennett, a fourth-round pick from Maryland, was in coverage when the Chargers sealed the win Sunday with a big pass play. It will be interesting to see if Bennett, who has had penalty issues, continues to lose playing time.
The fourth-round pick from Purdue was the showcase of this class Sunday as he made his NFL debut with starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo out with a concussion. O’Connell, who starred in the preseason, was up-and-down, which is to be expected from a rookie in his first game. O’Connell had three fumbles (he lost two of them) and threw an interception at the goal-line with a chance to tie the game late. But he made some nice throws, hung in there and didn’t panic. There’s something to build on.
The fifth-round pick from Georgia was active for the first time. He didn’t play on defense and was on the field for 72 percent of the special teams snaps. he was playing ahead of second-year player Isaiah Pola-Mao. We’ll see if that continues Monday against the Green Bay Packers.
Nesta Jade Silvera:
Like Smith, the defensive tackle was active for the first time. He played eight snaps on defense and three snaps on special teams. The seventh-round pick from Arizona State had one solo tackle. It will be interesting to see if he continues to get the call over Young, who was, of course, drafted much higher
It’s the same story. We’re waiting for this class to contribute, but it is interesting to see more of them getting a chance in Week 4.