Quick Slants: Raiders Off-Season Musings

Raider Nation was set aflame when news of Reuben Foster’s latest arrest began to trickle in. The majority of the comments implored validation for Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie passing on the former Alabama middle linebacker who currently plays across the Bay for San Francisco 49ers.

That is some Grade-A, premium-quality malarkey. One that stinks to the highest heavens.

Granted, Foster did come with some red flags (one that is both comical and tragic — a confrontation with a student hospital worker during a medical examination at the combine), that definitely caused McKenzie to raise an eyebrow. But the sentiment Foster’s latest brain fart in any way absolves the GM reeks of convenient 20/20 hindsight.

I got one better for you: Instead of worrying about the youngster across the Bay, dial in on Gareon Conley, the prospect McKenzie did select. The Con Man is an equal enigma to his Bay Area first-rounder. Oakland just isn’t sure what they truly have when it comes to the former Ohio State Buckeye. He’s got the makings of a shutdown corner, but a mysterious lower-leg ailment eradicated the hopes of seeing that in Year One.

The jury is most definitely still out on Conley. Year Two must be exponentially better. If not, McKenzie might have fired a draft-day blank just like the 49ers.

Let’s run the Quick Slants:

  • Prepared to get peppered with “so and so free agent would fit in Oakland” narrative. It’s the offseason, there’s no football games on the air and that boredom results in some keen lunacy.
  • Here’s one of that same vein: Terrelle Pryor will return to the Raiders as a wide receiver. (This is the kind of mundane things that roll through my head in the period between end of season and free agency). Here’s another wild musing: Jay Gruden purposely miscast TP only for his brother Jon to nab him on the cheap and Pryor excels in Silver & Black.
  • It went from Marshawn Lynch blew off meetings with Gruden to Beast and Chucky have met several times. Whether Lynch remains a Raider is irrelevant because Oakland needs to add more talent to the running back position in either free agency or the draft.
  • Speaking of the draft, Roquan Smith is the consensus player being mocked to Oakland at No. 10. Methinks the 49ers swoop in and nab him at No. 9 if the Raiders lose the coin toss for the picks. How much would that stick in Raider Nation’s craw?
  • If McKenzie continues the trend of drafting a middle linebacker late, North Dakota State University’s Nick DeLuca is worthy of a look. The Bison’s Mike is a tackling machine and has the intelligence to go along with it. He reminds of former Raider Greg Biekert.
  • A player I’d like to see get an extended look in camp is tight end, Pharaoh Brown. The undrafted free agent out of Oregon proved to be a better blocker than hoped and didn’t embarrass himself in snaps he got late last season. At 6-foot-6, 246, Brown could develop into a red zone threat if given the opportunity.
  • No matter how I look at it, the group of Gareon Conley, Dexter McDonald and Antonio Hamilton (this is assuming Sean Smith and TJ Carrie are no longer Raiders) doesn’t provide any confidence. A move at corner needs to be made.
  • How do you see McKenzie and Gruden in free agency when it starts mid-March? Do they stand pat and watch Wave 1 go before jumping into the waters or are they bidding right away?
  • Is it too early for McKenzie to use the “Nevada has no income tax” play regarding potential free agent contracts? That has to be a pretty good caveat to offer prospective players.
  • No matter how much love Gruden doled on Connor Cook, I doubt he’ll roll into camp with just Derek Carr and Cook at quarterback. Another draft pick or a longshot like Johnny Manziel joins the QB room.

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