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WWJD #8- The Las Vegas Raiders NFL Combine – Day 1 News & Notes


The Las Vegas Raiders’ blueprint to making their inaugural season in Sin City a success starts Thursday at the NFL Combine taking place in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium.


The NFL is descending upon Indianapolis, Indiana, this week as the 2020 NFL Combine starts. While the fans will tune into the NFL Network to see players do their drills including the famous forty-yard dash, NFL executives will use the combine to get medical evaluations, interview potential draftees, and talk to agents about potential free agents who they may or may not have interest in.

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The Las Vegas Raiders general manager Mike Mayock
and head coach Jon Gruden will undoubtedly be listening to teams ask about the availability of quarterback Derek Carr, though they won’t be the ones who initiate the conversations. Mayock met with the media on Tuesday and said that the play of his embattled quarterback is not the team’s main concern, unlike some of Raider Nation. The GM of the Silver and Black named everything that Carr has done positively under Gruden, but did say that it is his job to “evaluate every position, including quarterback.”

Gruden said the team has to “continue to improve” at quarterback on Thursday, but he noted that doesn’t mean making a change. He said quarterbacks sometimes get better because of their systems or improvements to the supporting cast, which fit with other comments he made about Carr.

“I really think Derek is a heck of a player, and I got a lot of respect for what he has done in some tough circumstances,” Gruden said, via Vic Tafur of the Athletic. “So I’m not going to answer every media rumor out there, just can’t do it. I’m just going to listen to my serious rock and roll, classic vinyl and keep working. But I love what Derek Carr did, I love what he brings to our team and anxious to continue to build around him.”

“We’re not very good at all. So I kind of go into the defensive side of it with a mindset of who makes us better at every position,” Mayock said about his team’s defense at the NFL scouting combine Tuesday.  “We have so many needs over there; it’s just who’s a dynamic football player that makes us better.”

The Raiders defense was not very good, but there were a few bright spots that give the team and the Raiders’ fanbase reasons for hope. Clelin Ferrell, Jonathan Abram, Trayvon Mullen, Maxx Crosby, Keisean Nixon, and Isaiah Johnson all showed flashes or performed at a high level in 2019. But the sum of the parts didn’t always equal the right solution to the problem. The Raiders’ linebacker play in-particular was not very good, and if you couple that with the lack of interior pass rush from the defensive tackles, this defense was problematic. So you can bet that this week the Raiders will be looking long and hard at linebackers and defensive tackles.

Another huge need for the Raiders is wide receiver. Mayock addressed this issue as well during his press conference, “We’re a pretty good offensive team, and I think everybody standing here knows we need help at wideout,” Mayock said. “We need to be better. The Antonio Brown thing left a void that we weren’t really able to fill. So we need to get better there.”

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Mike Mayock also addressed the speculation that the Raiders would be open to having Antonio Brown return to the organization.Antonio Brown, I have very little to comment about,” Mayock said. “I think he had his time with the Raiders, and I think his time there is up.”

Gruden said the Raiders wide receivers last season were done in by “frozen feet and fried feet.” Tyrell Williams recently told him that he was close to 100 percent now.

As for the type fo receiver Mayock is looking for he said “We have so many needs over there, it’s just who’s a dynamic football player who makes us better.'”

The Raiders have already started to meet with various prospects. As of the publishing of this article, here is the list of names I have confirmed that the Raiders have met with at the NFL Combine as well as the East-West Shrine Game:


  • Brandon Aiyuk – Wide Receiver – Arizona State
  • Henry Ruggs III – Wide Receiver – Alabama
  • CeeDee Lamb – Wide Receiver – Oklahoma
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire – Running Back- LSU
  • Jake Fromm – Quarterback – Georgia
  • Jordan Love – Quarterback – Utah State
  • James Morgan – Quarterback – Florida International University
  • Cordel Iwuagwa – Offensive Guard – TCU
  • Kenneth Murray – Linebacker – Oklahoma
  • Troy Dye – Linebacker – Oregon
  • Patrick Queen – Linebacker – LSU
  • Michael Danna – Defensive End – Michigan 
  • Austin Edwards – Defensive End – Ferris State
  • Ross Blacklock – Defensive Tackle – TCU
  • Akeem Davis-Gaither, Outside Linebacker, Appalachian State 
  • A.J. Green, Cornerback, Oklahoma State 
  • Benito Jones, Defensive Tackle/Nose Tackle, Ole Miss  
  • Larrell Murchison, Defensive Tackle, N.C. State  
  • Jason Strowbridge, Defensive End/3-4 Defensive End, North Carolina 
  • Jabari Zuniga, 4-3 Defensive End/3-4 Outside Linebacker, Florida


The Raiders have been linked to a variety of free agents, including Phillip Rivers, Teddy Bridgewater, and of course, Tom Brady.


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But there are more than just quarterback rumors flying around Lucas Oil Stadium regarding the Raiders and potential free agents and possible trade targets. A name that has come up as a possible trade target for the Raiders is Minnesota Vikings wide receiver, Stefon Diggs. The talented wide receiver made it known publicly and privately that he was upset about the way he was being used by the Vikings last season.

While Diggs would be a very interesting fit for the Raiders offense, it is unclear just what the price tag would be to acquire him. Diggs is signed through the 2023 season, and his $14.5MM cap hit will be much tougher for the Vikings to absorb than the Raiders.

Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict is also hoping some team will take a chance on him this season. Burfict, who was suspended for the final 12 games of the 2019 season, has been reinstated by the NFL and is eligible to play this season, and he does want to play, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Since the Raiders will only have one linebacker on their roster at the start of the NFL new year, and with his knowledge of Paul Guenther’s defense, the Raiders could bring him back at a reduced price.

As for Tom Brady, while the rumors are swirling that the future Hall of Famer is ready to leave the New England Patriots, the odds-makers feel the Tennesse Titans are the favorites to sign him. I was told on Thursday morning that part of the reason why Brady and the Patriots haven’t spoken is because of the uncertainty of the NFL’s new CBA. Both sides want to wait and see how the new deal is structured if it is approved at all, to see how it fits  within the Patriots cap space.

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While I think that the Raiders have a curious intrigue about possibly signing Brady, I also think that it is more likely that he is not wearing the Raiders shield in 2020 and that he will find a way to remain in New England. I do expect the Raiders to upgrade their quarterback position, but through the draft. It’s far from guaranteed that the pick will be the starter this season.

Another rumor going around the Combine is that the Raiders have some interest in Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers. This one is hard to believe, and I think it is more agent-driven than anything. While Rivers could be a year or two stopgap for the Silver and Black, he would have to get to know a new offense and isn’t the same quarterback that made him successful for the Chargers. I would go as far as to say it would be a downgrade from Carr.

A source at the combine told me on Thursday that Brady’s representation is meeting with clubs this week during the NFL Scouting Combine, and the Los Angeles Chargers, Las Vegas Raiders, and Indianapolis Colts are among those clubs. Brady’s agents Don Yee and Carter Chow who also represent top free agent David Onyemata, will be talking to teams on Brady’s behalf per my source.

A player that had been rumored to be on the Raiders‘ wish list was Kansas City Chiefs’ defensive tackle Chris Jones. But it appears that Jones will now have the Franchise Tag placed on him, and he will remain on the Super Bowl champions. The rumors going around NFL circles was that Jones was going to make “Aaron Donald” type money.

It does appear that the Raiders will be moving on from linebacker Tahir Whitehead, which was first reported by Vic Tafur of the Athletic. By cutting Whitehead, the Raiders will save $6 million against their cap, but will also leave them with Marquel Lee as the lone linebacker on the roster.

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Another rumor that made its way around the Combine was that the Cleveland Browns could potentially be interested in moving on from the talented Odell Beckham Jr. after only a season. Last season wasn’t OBJ’s best or most productive year, but that had more to do with injury and the dysfunction that was synonymous with the Browns organization and their 2019 season.

While it is unlikely that the Browns would trade Beckham, and they have come out and said that they aren’t actively shopping him, but they would like to see him around the Browns facility more often. If that feeling doesn’t change, then I fully expect the Browns to open up shop and listen to offers for Beckham Jr.

The Raiders would be an ideal fit based off of need and OBJ’s skill set, as well as the affordability of his contract. Beckham’s contract runs through 2023 and averages $15 million per season.

Jon Gruden has heard from safety Johnathan Abram enough this offseason to know that he wants to see him back on the field. Abram tore his rotator cuff in the season opener last season and has been limited to giving interviews like the one that featured him saying the Raiders would learn from a “redshirt year.”

“I think he leads the league in interviews right now,” Gruden said, via Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group. “I don’t like Abram, I love Abram. I think Raiders fans are going to love him, but he’s got to be on the grass. The most important ability is availability. I know its cliche and corny, but we got to have him out there, so he’s got to learn to do that and he’s a complete deal. I think he has a playing style that is perfect for the Las Vegas Raiders and I’m confident he’ll prove it.”


Day 1 Combine News and Notes:

Tua Tagovailoa
‘s medical records checked out fine and he should be ready to go by OTA’s. While Tagovailoa isn’t working out due to the injuries, he is meeting with teams and has “blown them away in his interviews” according to my sources at the Combine. He measured in at 6’0 feet and weighing 217 pounds with 10-inch hands and 30 and a half inch arms at the Combine.

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According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Tagovailoa received overwhelmingly positive reports on his dislocated hip from teams who examined him over the past two days. The MRIs were as clean as one could hope for, the fracture is healed and there is no loss of blood flow. One source at the combine told me that Tagovailoa’s medical reports “looked great” and that “there shouldn’t be any issues with him going forward in the NFL.”

Tagovailoa finished his junior season as the Crimson Tide’s career touchdown responsibility leader with 96. His 87 touchdown passes moved him past AJ McCarron for the most thrown in program history, and he finished third in Alabama history with 7,442 passing yards. He entered college football as a winner, as he replaced Jalen Hurts at halftime as a true freshman during the 2018 College Football National Championship game and helped the Tide rally from a 13-0 deficit to win 26-23 in overtime.

A player that made himself A LOT of money at the Combine is TCU wide receiver, Jalen Reagor. During his combine testing, he measured in at 5’11, weighing in at 206 pounds with 9 and a half inch hands and his arm length is 31 3/8ths. Reagor bench pressed 225 lbs 17 times, had a ’42 inch vertical leap, jumped 138 inches in the broad jump and ran a 4.47 forty-yard dash.

What the testing did show about Reagor is what shows up on his film, he is an explosive playmaker who would’ve had better numbers if he had better quarterback play. He projects as a slot receiver and return specialist at the next level. Jalen is the son of former Texas Tech star and eight-year NFL veteran Montae Reagor. His father was a stud defensive lineman but the younger Reagor is an electric receiver.

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In 2017, winning Big 12 Co-Offensive Freshman of the Year and leading the Horned Frogs with 33 receptions, 576 receiving yards (17.5 per), and eight touchdowns in 14 games (two starts). He also earned some carries (eight rushes, 65 yards, 8.1 ypc) and returned kicks (four returns, 122 yards, 30.5 average).

Reagor was a second-team All-Big 12 selection and TCU’s MVP in 2018, starting 11 of 13 games played and leading his squad in receiving (72 receptions, 1,061 yards, 14.7 average, nine touchdowns) while contributing as a rusher (13 carries, 170 yards, 13.1 ypc, two touchdowns) and returner (12 kick returns, 312 yards, 26.0 average; eight punt returns, 97 yards, 12.1 average).

He was a second-team all-conference selection as a receiver (led team with 43 receptions, 611 yards, 14.2 average, five touchdowns in 12 starts) and return specialist (five kick returns, 72 yards, 14.4 average; 15 punt returns, 312 yards, 20.8 average, two touchdowns) in 2019.

Henry Ruggs III ran the fastest forty-yard dash in the wide receiver group running a 4.27. The blazing receiver out of Alabama should be the third wide receiver taken at the worst.  His college teammate Jerry Jeudy, arguably the top receiver in the 2020 Draft ran a 4.46 before he shut it down for the day, much like Ruggs III. Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb also ran fast and lived up to his draft hype after his pair of 4.51 forties.

As for the quarterbacks, Oregon’s Justin Herbert and Utah State’s Jordan Love both did well running and throwing the ball in the position drills. The scouts love when quarterbacks throw at the combine because it shows their competitiveness.


Day 2 of the NFL Combine is Friday. It will feature the running backs and offensive linemen, positional groups. Rich Eisen will once again host the NFL Network coverage which starts on the NFL Network at 12:30 pm pst.


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