It’s been months since the NFL season ended in disappointment for the Las Vegas Raiders. Nevertheless, with the rookie minicamp currently taking place, optimism returns for the Silver and Black.
The 2020 season is in the rearview mirror for Las Vegas, the result was missing out on the playoffs once again. One of the biggest reasons for this failure was a result of abysmal defensive play. Realizing that the defense needed to be addressed, a slew of rookies have been infused into the Raiders. Whether they were drafted or not, a new wave of youngsters brings with them energy and enthusiasm. After bringing in a new defensive coordinator and making smart signings during free agency, there’s optimism within Raider Nation. The rookie minicamp signals the beginning of another season; another shot at finally returning to the playoffs.
While the NFL slowly returns to normalcy, camp will be restricted to those who were undrafted pickups or players trying out, hoping for an opportunity. The actual rookie class will participate but only via Zoom. This is similar to last year’s offseason when the country was at the height of the pandemic. The team’s draft picks will be reporting next week as Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal stated.
Raiders’ training camp not heading back to Napa
While the return of football activities has fans pumped, the organization decided that it won’t be returning to Napa, California for training camp this year. Wine valley had been the home of Raiders camp for years but Covid-19 has changed all that. Though the NFL gave the okay to operate camp activities outside, the team decided it was staying put in Henderson after things worked out so well the last offseason.
There’s hope the team will find some hidden gems
This year’s batch of undrafted acquisitions is a solid one, many are excited about West Virginia defensive tackle Darius Stills. As Bonsignore pointed, the Silver and Black have made it a yearly tradition to pick up players who put in work and earn themselves a place on the roster.
It won’t be easy for those participating this weekend to crack the final 53-man roster but it’s not impossible either. Take a look at Javin White, the former UNLV impressed during this time last year and earned a spot on the practice squad as well as the active roster. Before him, Alec Ingold made his way onto the team the same way, becoming an integral part of the offense. As a side note, the heir apparent to starting center job, Andre James, was also an undrafted free agent back in 2019. It’ll be interesting to see who comes out of this minicamp this offseason.
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*Top Photo: Don Juan Moore/Getty Images