The finale of the preseason is upon us. We have been hearing a lot of talk about the Las Vegas Raiders dominating the New England Patriots in joint practices all week. Now we shouldn’t dwell too much on the talk, because as Allen Iverson once said, “We talking about practice?”
Within all the media coverage, there are certainly some good things to take away. However, there are three rookies who need to excel in the preseason finale against the hated Patriots. This is regardless of how well practice went this week in Henderson.
Raiders vs. Patriots: Which rookies need to excel today?
Chase Garbers, QB
The quarterback position is set in stone. Derek Carr is QB1 and Stidham is QB2, but with the trade of Nick Mullens, there’s a chance Garbers gets to stay on. The odds are he goes to the practice squad, but what if the Raiders want to keep three quarterbacks on the roster? A good performance from Garbers might keep him in Vegas, as the Raiders may not want to risk losing him through waivers or free agency. The Raiders felt comfortable letting Mullens go to Minnesota, so they arguably have faith in Garbers. Nevertheless, can the former Golden Bear lock down a roster spot?
Thayer Munford Jr., OL
The seventh-round pick has played well so far, and the reviews out of training camp have been positive. With the bad run of right tackles, a possible find in Munford Jr. could help the issue. The former Ohio State Buckeye was originally thought to be a middle-round pick. Luckily for Vegas, he fell to the Raiders in the final round.
Fast forward to the final preseason game, and his play has led to the chatter of him challenging for some real playing time. With the regression of Alex Leatherwood and Brandon Parker being injured, there’s a possibility Munford keeps a spot and, with a good game, could be in a battle for a starting spot. It wasn’t ideal, but his play has him looking like an option, so a good game will be a major boost.
Darien Butler, LB
The rookie free agent has played well in the preseason, leading the team in tackles in each game. His work has been impressive, and the reviews have been good. With a couple of linebackers hitting injured reserve, another good game can keep Butler in position to not only lock in a roster spot but play time as well. A big game where he shows he can handle a bigger load will be big for him going forward.
*Top Photo: Getty Images