Drafted out of Ohio State University in the seventh round as the 238th pick by the Las Vegas Raiders, it would be safe to say that there will be many that hope he can profoundly impact the organization after being selected so late in the draft.
Of course, now that we are through 14 weeks of NFL football, we may have a clearer picture of how well he could fare in the league, with plenty of optimism surrounding him due to his college background.
Ohio State has continued to provide stellar players
For as long as most people can remember, the Ohio State University has been able to send a lot of stars to the NFL. Their program seems to be a conveyor belt for talent.
This has made the school one of the most popular college programs around for athletes who are looking to test themselves at the highest levels, and it is believed that if you are good enough to play for the collegiate program, then there is a strong chance that you will be able to make it in the NFL.
This reasoning is perhaps why the Raiders decided to take a chance on Munford when he was available as cheaply as he was on the board. However, it does appear as though the franchise is looking to embed him into the team slowly, as he has yet to have a real impact, or opportunity, on the gridiron in a year that has been disappointing for Las Vegas.
Stats behind Raiders OL Thayer Munford’s debut year
As per the stats compiled by Pro Football Reference, the offensive line rookie has had some involvement in each of the 13 games that have been played thus far, although many of those appearances have been rather limited in terms of snaps and reps.
The 23-year-old from Cincinnati, Ohio, has started just four of the matches that the Raiders have had this season, while he has only been active for 100% of the snaps to be played on two occasions. These came in Week 3 against the Tennessee Titans and Week 11 against division rivals the Denver Broncos.
Aside from these games, he has struggled to even play more than 50% of the snaps taken across many of the other matches this season. The Week 7 victory against the Houston Texans saw him complete 77% of snaps, whereas the Week 4 encounter with the Broncos saw him complete 59%. The blowout against the New Orleans Saints in Week 8 saw him used 47% of the time. However, it has been rare to even see him get on the field in more than a third of games.
Munford’s rookie season has also seen him utilized on the line of scrimmage for special teams, but he has also been limited in this role. In fact, he is yet to feature in more than a quarter of those snaps in a game.
Munford is being brought along slowly
Admittedly, this is perhaps hardly a surprise given that he is a rookie and was selected as low as he was in the NFL Draft. However, there is no doubt that Raider Nation and fans in Ohio wish the team had performed better on the field than it is currently doing.
With many fans of the former Oakland franchise based all over the US, there are many that have been taking advantage of the sports betting opportunities that have now been presented to them. Fans in Ohio have been waiting to join them, and with bookmakers such as Caesars Ohio soon to offer live support for the local betting market, they will get their chance to do so in the imminent future.
But, before they are wagering on the team, they may want to see some improvement from them, although many might actually be happy to bet against them with the way things have unfolded so far.
Munford’s campaign for the Las Vegas Raiders
With the organization currently ranked third in the AFC West and holding a 5-8 record, things have been rather disappointing in Nevada for the Raiders so far this season. The team certainly has a lot to do if they are to challenge for a postseason spot, and in truth, it looks very unlikely that anything like this will happen.
However, it must be said and acknowledged that things have significantly improved for the franchise in recent weeks. Prior to the Thursday Night Football loss to the Los Angeles Rams, when they were beaten 17-16, they were actually on a three-game stretch in which they were able to add to their win column and give themselves a small glimmer of hope of reaching the playoffs.
The Raiders had managed to defeat the Denver Broncos (who have already been eliminated from contention), the Seattle Seahawks, as well as their AFC West rivals, the Los Angeles Chargers, in recent weeks before the defeat by just one point was recorded.
Should the Raiders increase Munford’s snaps in these final games?
Some will suggest that the recent form shown by the Raiders and the fact that Munford played a role in each of those games could give them something to try and hang onto, despite the fact that they have just four games left on the schedule. These games include three home contests against the New England Patriots, the San Francisco 49ers, and the Kansas City Chiefs, while the one remaining road game is in Pennsylvania, where they will face the Pittsburgh Steelers.
With the strength of their opponents in the final four games, though, there won’t be many in Raider Nation, in Ohio, or around the world who will be holding their breath about the unlikeliest of scenarios being achieved. Indeed, it is not hard to assume the franchise has simply left itself too much to do after a really poor start to the year that saw them go 2-7.
*Top Photo: Cleveland.com/Associated Press