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Raiders rookie watch: Still waiting for impact

Reviewing the rookie class in a Week 3 loss

Pittsburgh Steelers v Las Vegas Raiders
Michael Mayer
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Let’s look at how the Las Vegas Raiders’ rookie class did in a 23-18 Week 3 home loss at the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday and they prepare Sunday’s game at the Los Angeles Chargers.

Four of the team’s draft picks were inactive for the game. They were fourth-round pick, quarterback Aidan O’Connell, fifth-round pick, safety Christopher Smith, sixth-round pick, linebacker Amari Burney and seventh-round choice and defensive tackle Nesta Jade Silvera.

Tyree Wilson:

This is becoming a thing. Wilson, the No. 7 overall draft pick, is just not showing up and the Raiders need him with veteran pass-rusher Chandler Jones on the non-football illness list for, at least, three more games. Yes, Wilson missed most of training camp with a foot injury and yes, he has played just three games. But he shown no burst and he looks slow. The Texas Tech product can get going, but he has to show something soon.

Michael Mayer:

The second-round pick has been quiet as well. He has one catch this season. He did catch a two-point conversion in Sunday’s loss. Those don’t count on the stat sheet, though. Overall, honestly, I’m less worried about Mayer’s future than Wilson’s. It takes time for tight ends to adjust to the NFL, plus the Raiders just aren’t using their tight ends much. Mayer and veteran Austin Hooper have combined for four receptions. Through three games last season, former Las Vegas tight ends Darren Waller and Foster Moreau had a combined 19 catches. Mayer has looked decent in his routes. The targets should start to increase.

Byron Young:

Young registered his first two tackles of the season against the Steelers after being shutout in the first two games. He has played 30 percent of the snaps this season. The Alabama product hasn’t made much of an impact, but he’s getting valuable playing time, which is important.

Tre Tucker:

The third-round pick played just 17 percent of the offensive plays and 17 percent of plays on special teams. Tucker, who was a healthy inactive in Week 1, played nine offensive plays in Week 2 and 12 plays in Week 3. But he played 23 percent in Week 2, so he was a smaller part of the offense against Pittsburgh than in Buffalo. he had no touches in Week 3 after having 34 yards on a jet sweep against the Bills. Like anyone in the passing game other than starting receivers Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers, Tucker isn’t getting any looks. but with his speed, expect him to get more opportunities as the season progresses.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Las Vegas Raiders
Jakorian Bennett
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Jakorian Bennett:

The fourth-round pick is a sure starter. He played all 62 defensive snaps against Pittsburgh. He had two tackles and he had his moments in coverage. Teams will pick on him because he is a rookie (Josh Allen sure did). I would expect the Chargers’ Justin Herbert to test the Maryland product a lot Sunday. Bennett hasn’t been great, but it’s still impressive he’s starting so early as a mid-round pick.


These guys aren’t making much of an impact, but they’re getting valuable playing time. Still, all eyes are on Wilson. He must show progress soon, especially with so many other rookies taken after him already playing well.