Tag Archives: Reggie McKenzie

Raiders Reggie McKenzie Named Sporting News Executive of the Year

ALAMEDA, Calif.Oakland Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie was named the Sporting News NFL Executive of the Year, Sporting News announced Monday. The honor was determined by a vote of NFL team executives.

In 2016, McKenzie’s fifth year as general manager, the Raiders posted a 12-4 record and advanced to the postseason for the first time since the 2002 campaign. The Raiders had an NFL-high seven Pro Bowl selections, had two players earn first-team All-Pro recognition and DE Khalil Mack was named the Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year.

Since being named General Manager by Owner Mark Davis in 2012, four Raiders draft picks have gone on to receive Pro Bowl selections. Mack, the Raiders’ first-round pick in 2014, earned his second straight Pro Bowl nod, while QB Derek Carr, the team’s second-round selection that year, emerged as a Most Valuable Player candidate and has received Pro Bowl invitations in each of the last two seasons. WR Amari Cooper, the team’s first-round pick in 2015, has also earned two Pro Bowl selections after beginning his career with consecutive 1,000-yard receiving campaigns. RB Latavius Murray, a sixth-round pick in 2013, earned a Pro Bowl bid in 2015 and was named an alternate this past year.

In addition, 10 players drafted by the Raiders in the fourth round or later since 2013 have started multiple games for the team and six different draft picks have earned All-Rookie honors.

Last offseason, the Raiders signed LB Bruce Irvin, S Reggie Nelson, G/T Kelechi Osemele and CB Sean Smith, securing four of the “top 25 available free agents” according to NFL.com. All seven of the team’s draft picks saw significant action during the season and first-round selection S Karl Joseph was named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team. A remarkable seven undrafted free agents, acquired by the Raiders in the weeks following the 2016 NFL Draft, finished the season on the team’s active roster.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Oakland Raiders Mourn Passing Of Mickey Marvin, George Karras

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders are saddened to learn of the passing of former offensive lineman and scout Mickey Marvin, and former player personnel executive and consultant George Karras.

“The Raiders family is deeply saddened by the losses of Mickey Marvin and George Karras,” said Raiders Owner Mark Davis. “Mickey and George were Raiders in every sense of the word and they each leave a strong legacy with the organization and throughout the NFL. Our sincerest thoughts and prayers are with the families of both Mickey and George.”

Marvin, who was diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 2015, played in 120 regular season games for the Raiders from 1977-1987. He started at right guard in 11 playoff games, including Super Bowls XV and XVIII. Marvin was part of an offensive line that blocked for Hall of Fame running back Marcus Allen, the team’s all-time leading rusher. He was originally selected in the 4th round of the 1977 NFL Draft out of the University of Tennessee.

After hanging up his cleats as a player he joined the front office in 1988 and worked as a scout for the Silver and Black for 29 years.

Mickey Marvin will be missed dearly by the Raider family and the entire NFL community,” said Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie. “He was a great man of faith, an exemplary teammate and co-worker for four decades, and was truly a Raider for life. Mickey was a tremendous asset to the Raiders, but most importantly he was a true friend. Our prayers are with his family at this time.”

George Karras was a member of the Raiders player personnel staff from 1987-97 after a long career as a college coach and as a scout for the Denver Broncos. He helped build Raiders teams that qualified for the playoffs in 1990, ‘91, and ‘93.

Karras had worked for the Raiders as a consultant in recent years, evaluating college prospects in advance of the NFL draft.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Oakland Raiders Justin Tuck Announces Retirement from NFL

Photo by Shawn  Jonas

ALAMEDA, Calif.Oakland Raiders DE Justin Tuck announced today that he will retire from the National Football League.

Justin Tuck has been an invaluable part of the Raiders organization since the day he arrived here,” General Manager Reggie McKenzie said. “Everyone in the building appreciates all that he has done both on and off the field. His leadership in the locker room and mentorship of young players like Khalil Mack is immeasurable. The Raiders wish him and his family the absolute best.”

Justin Tuck is a leader and a true professional on and off the field,” Head Coach Jack Del Rio said. “His commitment to his teammates and the organization was awesome and he was a pleasure to coach. I wish Justin and his family nothing but the best.”

Tuck retires after 11 seasons in the league, playing his first nine with the New York Giants from 2005-13 and final two with Oakland from 2014-15. For his career, he played in 147 games with 107 starts and totaled 499 tackles (348 solo), 66.5 sacks, 22 forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries, three interceptions and 32 passes defensed. Tuck also appeared in 10 postseason games and posted 32 tackles (26 solo), 5.5 sacks, one forced fumble and one pass defensed.

Originally drafted by the Giants in the third round (74th overall) of the 2005 NFL Draft, Tuck is a two-time Pro Bowler, having been selected in 2008 and 2010. He was also named a first-team All-Pro in 2008 after he set a career high with 12 sacks. Tuck helped the Giants win two Super Bowls during his tenure in New York, Super Bowls XLII and XLVI. He ranks second in Super Bowl history with four sacks, having posted two in each of his Super Bowl appearances.

The 6-foot-5, 250-pounder signed with the Raiders as an unrestricted free agent in March 2014. He played in 15 games for Oakland in 2014 and led the team with five sacks. In 2015, he started the first five games before suffering a season-ending injury in Week 5 that landed him on the Reserve/Injured List.

Off the field, Tuck has created a lasting impact in the community. The Raiders’ nominee in 2015 for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, Tuck’s extensive philanthropic work has been recognized and honored by numerous charitable organizations, both national and international. In 2008, he and his wife, Lauran, established Tuck’s R.U.S.H. for Literacy, a program focused on providing access to books, combating summer learning loss, and closing the educational opportunity gap that exists for low-income Americans. The program has given more than 65,000 books to over 11,000 students across the country.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Raiders Charles Woodson Announces He Will Retire After 2015 Season

Photos by Shawn Jonas

ALAMEDA, Calif.Oakland Raiders S Charles Woodson announced today that he will retire from football at the conclusion of the 2015 season. Woodson retires after 18 seasons as one of the most decorated defensive players in league history.

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GM Reggie McKenzie

“Charles Woodson is one of those players that comes along and reminds you why you love the game,” said General Manager Reggie McKenzie. “He is truly a one of a kind player that goes above and beyond his Heisman trophy and future gold jacket. It has been an honor to have worked alongside Charles for so many years and have the confidence to call him what he truly is: the G.O.A.T. He is, without a doubt, the embodiment of what it means to be a Raider.”

Over his remarkable football career, Woodson has excelled at every level. He is one of only two players (Marcus Allen) in history to win the Heisman Trophy, Associated Press Rookie of the Year, Associated Press Player of the Year and a Super Bowl over their career. He is a three-time first-team All-Pro and an eight-time Pro Bowler.

Originally selected by the Raiders in the first round (fourth overall) of the 1998 NFL Draft, Woodson played his first eight seasons for the Silver and Black from 1998-2005. He was named the Associated Press Rookie of the Year in 1998 and was selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his first four seasons (1998-2001). He helped the Raiders to three straight AFC West titles from 2000-02 and an appearance in Super Bowl XXXVII.

After the 2005 season, Woodson joined the Green Bay Packers, where he played for seven seasons from 2006-12. In 2009, he was named the Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year, becoming the oldest defensive back to ever win the award and the first cornerback since 1994. In 2009, he set a career high and tied for the league lead with nine interceptions. The following year, Woodson led the Packers on a run to the Super Bowl XLV title, as he started all 20 regular season and postseason games.

Woodson rejoined the Raiders in 2013, allowing him to finish his NFL career where it started. He has started all 46 games for the Silver and Black since 2013 and has totaled 10 interceptions. This season, Woodson was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Month for the fifth time in October after recording three interceptions. Since turning 39 in October 2015, Woodson has tallied three interceptions, making him one of only three NFL players to record an interception at age 39 or older.

For his career, Woodson has played in 252 regular season games with 249 starts, totaling 1,363 tackles (1,065 solo), 65 interceptions (966 interception return yards), 11 interceptions returned for a touchdown, 227 passes defensed, 20 sacks, 34 forced fumbles and 16 fumble recoveries. He has played an additional 17 postseason games with 16 starts, posting 85 tackles (70 solo), one interception, 15 passes defensed, one sack, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

At the University of Michigan, Woodson was a three-year starter and letterman from 1995-97. The Fremont, Ohio, native finished his collegiate career with three All-Big Ten and two All-American selections. In his junior season of 1997, he became the first predominantly defensive player to ever win the Heisman Trophy, helping the Wolverines to a 12-0 record and the Associated Press National Championship.

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WOODSON AT A GLANCE

· Woodson is one of two players in football history to win a Heisman Trophy, Associated Press Rookie of the Year, Associated Press Player of the Year and a Super Bowl in their career. The other player is former Raiders RB Marcus Allen.

· Woodson is a three-time first-team All-Pro, an eight-time Pro Bowler and was named the Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year in 2009. He has been named the AFC/NFC Defensive Player of the Month five times.

· The 1998 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, Woodson became the first Raiders defensive back to start every game in his rookie season since Jack Tatum in 1971. He finished his rookie campaign with five interceptions with one return touchdown and two forced fumbles.

· In 1997, Woodson became the first predominantly defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy and is one of nine Heisman winners to wear the Silver and Black.

· Woodson has recorded 65 career interceptions and is tied with Ken Riley (65) for the fifth most interceptions in NFL history and the most by any player not currently enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

· Along with Hall of Famer Darrell Green (19), Woodson is one of only two players in NFL history to intercept a pass in at least 18 straight seasons.

· Woodson is one of three players in NFL history to record an interception at age 39 or older, joining Hall of Famer Darrell Green and Clay Matthews, Jr. With two interceptions on Oct. 11, 2015 vs. Denver, Woodson became the only player 39-or-older with two interceptions in a game.

· Woodson’s 13 defensive touchdowns are tied with Rod Woodson and Darren Sharper for the most all-time, and his 11 interception-touchdowns are second all-time to R. Woodson’s 12.

· In 2011, he became the first NFL player to record an interception-touchdown in six straight seasons.

· In 2014, Woodson became the first player in NFL history with 50 interceptions and 20 sacks in his career. Later in the season, Woodson also became the first player to reach 60 picks and 20 sacks for a career.

Oakland Raiders Sign DE Aldon Smith

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed free agent LB Aldon Smith, the club announced Friday.

Smith joins the Raiders after four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers in which he totaled 44 sacks in 50 games. His career totals also include 192 tackles (141 solo), five passes defensed, one interception and 5.5 sacks in eight career playoff games.

The 49ers’ first-round draft pick (seventh overall) in 2011, Smith was the runner-up in the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year voting after recording 14 sacks in his first season. In 2012, Smith was named to the Pro Bowl and selected for first-team All Pro honors after posting 19.5 sacks and his first career interception. He totaled 10.5 sacks over the past two seasons with San Francisco.

“Aldon is an extremely talented young player,” said Head Coach Jack Del Rio. “We welcome him to the Raiders family and expect him to bring his best every day and be a great teammate.”

“We are confident that the Raiders provide an environment where Aldon can thrive through the support, structure and leadership within the building,” said General Manager Reggie McKenzie. “We are excited to have Aldon here in the Raiders family.”

To make room on the roster, the Raiders have waived DE Lavar Edwards.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

NFL NETWORK Insider Ian Rapoport Visits Oakland Raiders Training Camp

All photos by Shawn Jonas

Napa Valley, California – NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport visited the Oakland Raiders Napa Valley Training Complex on Sunday.  He made his assesment on Head Coach Jack Del Rio, quarterback Derek Carr and the rest of the Silver and Black.

Prior to the start of practice, Rapoport took some time to talk with Raiders.com and spoke about the 2015 outlook for the Raiders, the additions that General Manager Reggie McKenzie made during the offseason and more.

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RAPOPORT ON COACH DEL RIO

“This team, to me, seems like a pretty good fit because he can come in and he can teach, and he can re-energize this place a little bit, but he also has a bunch of young guys who can really play, and try to figure out what this team is going to look like. We already know they have a quarterback. We already know they have in Derek Carr. We already know they have his counterpart on defense in Khalil Mack, so you have a coach who’s strong and has won in a very difficult place to win, and you have two building blocks, one offense, one defense, so at the least you have the foundation of what you think this place is going to look like.”

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DEREK CARR 

“A lot of it is going to happen for him because he’s just going to be a little older. Everything’s going to relax a little bit and so I think, to me, what happens for a young quarterback is either you become flustered quickly and you throw it away or you become flustered quickly and you check down. Derek tended to check down, and now he has weapons. He doesn’t need to check down as much. He can let it rip, and I think being comfortable in the pocket and being comfortable enough to let it rip will be something you’ll probably see more from Derek this year than last year.”

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AMARI COOPER

“He is a pro. He is a legit pro and he’s been a pro even when he wasn’t a pro. He is gym rat who just only wants to play football. On the field, he’s just polished. You’re not going to have to say, ‘okay, you’re only playing this position,’ or, ‘we’re only putting you on this side of the field.’ He is smart enough and savvy enough to do a lot of things, and that’s great. If he’s the kind of player that the Raiders think and a lot of other people around the NFL think, then you’re going to have to find ways to get him out of double coverage, and moving him around will help.”

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MICHAEL CRABTREE 

“I think that he has a lot to prove, and it’s really two-fold. Can he still run like he needs to run? We know he’s had a lot of lower-leg injuries and that was an issue for some teams in free agency. It doesn’t mean he can’t run. It just means some teams weren’t sure, so all he has to do is go out and prove it. On the field, the best thing that he does is he is amazing at catching the football. I know that sounds weird, but for receivers, it’s a skill that doesn’t get as much attention. When you throw the ball near him, he will catch it, and for everyone, including a young quarterback, that’s pretty important.”

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KHALIL MACK

“The best thing that he does is be disruptive and go after the quarterback. The best thing that you want is for Khalil Mack to go get the quarterback. What you’re going to see this year from this staff is he’s going to be put in position to get after it. I don’t know how good he’s going to be, but he can be as good as it gets.”

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 DJ HAYDEN

“Talent has never been a question. When he’s been healthy and played, and really believed in himself, I think you’ve seen that this guy can really play. You almost have to forget that he’s a first-round pick, and he has to earn his job all over again which is great. I’ll be curious to see if he does it. If he plays like he’s capable, then he’s going to be the player they drafted him to be, but he has to get it too. Just watching his development will I think will be pretty interesting.”

Oakland Raiders Training Camp Preview: Get To Know Mario Edwards Jr.

Photo by Shawn Jonas

Alameda, California – With the third pick in the second round, 35th overall, The Oakland Raiders Select Mario Edwards Jr.

Mario Edwards Jr.
Defensive Line
Florida State
6- foot-3
279 pounds

College career: Edwards was the No. 1 prospect out of high school, and played three seasons at Florida State. He registered 89 tackles, 23 tackles for loss, eight sacks and three forced fumbles over his career. He was a first-team All-ACC and a second team All-American as a junior.

Edwards Jr. is considered a defensive tackle in a 4-3 defensive system that the Raiders use. His versatility may be the best aspect of his game. He can be used as an interior rusher, especially after Antonio Smith was cut. He flourishes in stopping the running game. The Raiders plan to keep his weight around 280-285 lbs. which leads me to believe he will also used as a defensive end. With the versatility of Khalil Mack and now Mario Edwards they could use both in a multitude of ways to keep offenses and opposing quarterbacks guessing.

NFL Scouting Report

OVERVIEW
Started 13 games and selected first-team All-ACC in 2014. Did not play against N.C. State after suffering a concussion the previous game (vs. Clemson). Selected third-team All-ACC in 2013 and missed two games with a hand injury. Had a sack in the BCS National Championship Game against Auburn. Only true freshman to start on defense in 2012 after replacing injured Tank Carradine. Rated No. 1 prospect in nation out of high school and was selected USA Today Defensive Player of the Year. His father, Mario, Sr., was a heralded cornerback at FSU and won a national championship in 1999-2000. His father also played in the NFL for five years after being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys (sixth round) in 2000.

Analysis

STRENGTHS: Scheme versatile. Can play base end or defensive tackle in a 4-3 (depending on weight) or as a 3-4 defensive end. Has thick bubble and legs. Comes off snap with decent power. Can brace and anchor at point of attack. Flashes upper-body strength to press and lock out tackles. Above-average closing burst as tackle. Strength to leverage and toss blockers when motivated.

WEAKNESSES: Ineffective as pass rusher. Played some stand-up defensive end in college and showed no explosiveness off snap. Play speed and fire go missing from pass rush. Hand usage is hit or miss and appears to lack power with hands. Inconsistent getting arm extension, limiting ability to control and dominate a snap. Too involved in hand fighting and plays through a straw, losing sight of ball carrier.

DRAFT PROJECTION Rounds 3-4

BOTTOM LINE He’s a 3-4 defensive end or a 4-3 defensive tackle who has to make a living playing the run. Edwards failed to reach expectations while at Florida State and ended his career as a core defender rather than dominant force. His “level of ability” is higher than his current level of play and could continue to be the case unless he finds more passion and effort from snap to snap.

Oakland Raiders Q & A Transcript

Q: Did you grow up a Cowboys fan because of your dad? Who did you root for growing up?

Edwards Jr.: “I definitely was a Cowboys fan because my dad played, but I’m excited that Oakland chose me.”

Q: Were you in the same recruiting class as Menelik Watson at Florida State? Did you come in together?

Edwards Jr.: “No we didn’t come in together. Menelik came and had one year left. He was older than me.”

Q: Did you guys overlap one year?

Edwards Jr.: “Yeah we were there one year. I was there with him one year.”

Q: How much do you weigh right now? I had read that you are about 272 ppund, at least it was that way at your pro day.

Edwards Jr.: “Right. I’m at 277 right now.”

Q: Were you surprised that the Raiders called? Did you know that they were in on you? Was there interest expressed at the combine?

Edwards Jr.: “My first time I had talked to them was yesterday and then I talked to them again this morning and then my agent called me about four or five minutes before they were on the clock and let me know I was moving out West.”

Q: Are you excited to be reunited with Raiders linebackers coach Sal Sunseri?

Edwards Jr.: “Definitely man, my two years when he was there were great. I learned so much from him and we developed a great relationship and now to go back and play under him again is definitely an honor.”

Q: What’s the weight range that you feel comfortable playing at, because I know you’ve played different positions?

Edwards Jr.: “Talking to them, they like me at the 280-285 weight range, so that’s pretty easy to stay at.”

Q: Do they want you as an end then at that weight?

Edwards Jr.: “They want me as a Leo and to rush and then mismatch on the inside and do things like that as well.”

Q: Did you get caught up in all the pre-draft criticisms about your effort, desire and weight and how do you answer all those criticisms?

Edwards Jr.: “Not really. If they really understood that coming into FSU there was never a set weight for me to be at. The whole motto or the whole goal was as long as you can run and do what we ask you to do I don’t care what your weight is. And I’ve even asked [Florida State Head] Coach Jimbo Fisher to what was just too high of a weight and he replied, if you’re 310, 312 then they have to deal with you being at 310, 312. Don’t worry about the weight just play. It was never a structured weight for me to be at. Then again it was in my sophomore year when we were playing just two quarters and we were done when I was 280-287 and then I also have where my following junior year I’m 310 and I’m playing 70-75 plays a game. We played 14 games and out of eight or nine of them I didn’t step foot off the field. Even if I was 277 right now, nobody can go 100 percent 77 plays straight and be effective. If they really understood how it was set up and that there was really no weight limit for me, then they would understand how things turned out.”

Q: When you come out of high school as a top recruit, do you think that the bar is set so high that if you statically fall anywhere short of that then you are going to hear about it?

Edwards Jr.: “I mean that’s just the world that we live in today. I feel like if I would have controlled my weight my three years that I could have lived up to what my rankings were. However I can’t put myself behind the eight ball. I took full responsibility for that. I understand how it works.”

Q: What do you think of this role, as the Leo position can have a bunch of different responsibilities?

Edwards Jr.: “I’m excited to play anything, honestly. Whatever they want me to play, whatever fits best. I’m not just focusing on one specific thing, whether it’s pass rushing or anything like that. I’m trying to be a complete player. I’m trying to go out there and be great in the run and be great in the pass and go out there and contribute to the team.”

Q: You’ve played in a lot of big college games at Florida State. What kind of an advantage, if any, does that give you over some other prospects?

Edwards Jr.: “We may have played a few other better players, but I was [inaudible]. I don’t think it gives me any advantage over anyone else, because now if they’ve made it to the NFL, that means that they’re good as well. Every game, every week is going to be like a national championship game, because now it’s the cream of the crop. Everybody is good. Everybody is great. Everybody is big, strong and fast, so now you have to go separate yourself from them.”

Q: What was the scene like when you got the news today? Where were you and who was with you?

Edwards Jr.: “I was in Ocean Springs, Miss., with my grandma there, my aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, immediate family. Man, it was great. My whole house shook when they called me name on TV. We were definitely excited.”

Q: How many people do you think were there total?

Edwards Jr.: “Maybe about 20 to 22 people. Not many.”

Q: Your dad said you were a little overconfident coming out of high school. Do you think that was true?

Edwards Jr.: “I could say some of that was true. Coming out, No. 1 in in the nation and all that stuff, you have people saying you’re this and that, and all you’ve got to do is this and this and that. You kind of relax and take the foot off the pedal a little bit. But now, knowing that was the wrong thing to do, because once you get comfortable, as my dad said, you either get worse or you get better. There’s no in between. Me taking my foot off the gas pedal definitely caused me to gain weight and become worse. I just say that me getting a little too comfortable and complacent with where I was ranked kind of had its toll on me coming in overweight.”

Q: When did that light come on for you, when you realized you weren’t giving it what you needed to?

Edwards Jr.: “I would kind of say it came on when I first started in the Orange Bowl my freshman year. Coming into my sophomore year, I played at 280 to 287. Then my junior year, I came in at 310. I would say probably my freshman year. I got up to 310, but I was still a 500-plus squatter, 450-plus bencher, and still running 17 or 18 miles per hour. So it wasn’t that I couldn’t perform, I just couldn’t perform for a long time.”

Q: A lot of scouts think you helped yourself at your pro day. Did it feel like that to you?

Edwards Jr.: “Definitely. I felt like I had a decent enough grade coming out and I knew that if I could do great in my – first of all, getting my weight down and controlling it for a long period of time, from Oregon until now standing in the 270-280 range – then on top of my combine and pro day workout, I felt like I could have helped myself tremendously in the draft.”

College Bio

Entered Florida State as the nation’s No. 1 recruit and lived up to the billing as he developed into an All-ACC First Team selection and All-American as a junior in 2014…appeared in 36 games with 26 starts in his career and had 89 tackles, 23 TFLs and eight sacks.

2014: Versatile second-year starter led the Seminoles with 11 tackles for loss in 13 games, while playing defensive end, defensive tackle and Jack linebacker…also played fullback in some jumbo goal-line packages…All-ACC First Team selection by the coaches and media and two-time ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week…collected Sports Illustrated All-America Second Team accolades…established season-high marks in tackles (44), pass break-ups (5) and forced fumbles (2)…ranked second on the team with three sacks…registered new career-highs with nine tackles against Virginia, including four for losses; also forced a fumble to win second ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week honor…forced a fumble on FSU’s first defensive play and finished with three TFLs versus Wake Forest…able to play on the inside and on the edge on FSU’s defensive line…his 23 career tackles for loss was four shy of FSU’s all-time top 20…appeared on the Bednarik, Nagurski and Lombardi Watch Lists.

2013: Seminoles starter at the right end and a key contributor to the nation’s third-ranked total defense (281.4 ypg) and No. 1 scoring defense (12.1 ppg)…the sophomore was named one of the top defensive linemen in the conference by both the coaches and the media…in his second season in Tallahassee made 11 starts and appeared in 12 games, making 28 tackles…became a major force when it came to splash plays in 2013 with two fumble recoveries, a forced fumble, 9.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks, an interception and a TD return…recovered a fumble and returned it 37 yards for a touch- down at Clemson…had a monster performance in the BCS National Championship Game, totaling a career-high 3.0 tackles for loss in- cluding a sack… had six tackles against Auburn…recorded 2.0 TFLs and 1.0 sacks on four total tackles against Miami…intercepted a pass and made two tackles, including 0.5 sacks, at Wake Forest… had three tackles and then-career-highs with 2.0 TFL, an eight-yard sack and a forced fumble at Florida…posted three tackles in the season opener at Pitt…finished with four tackles and 1.0 tackles for loss against Nevada…made one tackle – a 3-yard loss – and broke up a pass against Idaho.

2012: Appeared in 11 games and made his first career start in the ACC Championship Game replacing Cornellius Carradine…the only five-stars from Rivals, Scout and 247Sports…unanimously ranked No. 1 at his position whether it be defensive end or defensive tackle…the top player coming out of the state of Texas… Scout said it is hard to find a player as big and explosive as Edwards…of his 72 tackles as a senior 32 were for a loss including 11 sacks…named the state of Texas Class 4A Defensive Player of the Year as a junior by the Associated Press…recorded 127 tackles, 50 tackles for loss and 18 sacks leading Denton Ryan to a state runner-up finish…recorded 69 tackles and three sacks as a fresh- man on top of catching 17 passes for 361 yards and three TDs…his high school coach raved about his work ethic as he and his father, former FSU star Mario Edwards, work out together at 6 a.m. each morning…Edwards wears the same number (15) as his dad did at FSU…chose Florida State over Texas, Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, among others.

Only true freshman to register a start for FSU on the defensive side of the ball…came into the ACC Championship with seven tackles on the season and doubled that number in one game, registering seven versus the Yellow Jackets, including a tackle for loss… made three tackles and registered his first pass break-up against Northern Illinois in the Orange Bowl in his second career start… recorded his first career sack on the road in a win over Maryland… was projected to redshirt in 2012, but was forced into action due to the loss of Brandon Jenkins in week one and then into the starting line-up after losing Carradine in week 12.

Oakland Raiders Set To Release Veteran Wide Receiver James Jones

May 3, 2015 10:28 PM PT

Featured photo By Shawn Jonas

Alameda, California –  Fallon Smith of CSN Bay Area broke the news of the Oakland Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie has notified veteran wide receiver James Jones that he will be released.

Jones had signed a three-year contract with the Raiders . The move will clear 3.4 million dollars in salary-cap savings and will cost the Raiders no dead money in the move.

The 31 year-old James Jones will be entering his 9th NFL season in 2015. The San Jose, California native signed with the Raiders in 2014 after spending 7 seasons with the Green Bay Packers. He attended Gunderson High School and is a San Jose State alum.

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Photo by Shawn Jonas

He played all 16 games with the Raiders and had 73 receptions for 666 yards and 6 touchdowns in 2014. His career totals, 383 receptions for 4,971 yards and 43 touchdowns.

The Raiders have new found depth at the wide receiver position since signing Michael Crabtree in free agency and drafting the highly touted Amari Cooper with the 4th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft on Thursday.

The Raiders depth chart looks something like this Amari Cooper, Rod Streater, Michael Crabtree, Andre Holmes, Brice Butler, Kenbrell Thompkins, Seth Roberts, and newly added 7th round draft pick Andre Debose.

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Unofficially, Oakland also signed Freson State wide receiver Josh Harper. Harper reunites with quarterback Derek Carr. They played together for three years and in Carr’s final season Harper caught 79 passes for 1011 yards and 13 touchdowns.  Carr’s other main target at Fresno State, Davante Adams, was drafted by Green Bay in 2014. Harper’s catches went up as a senior due in large part to seeing a larger portion of the passes in 2014 with 131 targets. In improving from 79 to 90 catches his receiving yards also went up to 1097.

Youth is the theme to this offseason moves for the Raiders and the trend continues with tonights release of James Jones. Reggie McKenzie obviously believes he has his franchise quarterback and he is surrounding him with young talent to hopefully build a winner and go on a nice long run.

The Oakland Raiders Select Alabama Wide Receiver Amari Cooper Fourth-Overall In The 2015 NFL Draft

April 31, 2015 9:58 PM PT

Alameda, California– With the fourth-overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders selected WR Amari Cooper (Alabama). The 2014 Fred Biletnikoff Award winner and Hesiman Trophy finalist joins the Silver and Black after a three-year career with the Crimson Tide (2012-14), totaling 228 receptions for 3,463 yards (15.2 avg.) with 31 TDs. Here is some more information on the Raiders’ first-round selection, as well as a closer look at some highlights from Cooper’s illustrious collegiate career.

In three years at Alabama, Cooper emerged as one of the nation’s most explosive and polished receivers. Below is a look at his offensive totals at Alabama.

RECEIVING

Year      School       Games     Rec     Yds       Avg    TD

2012   Alabama       14             59    1,000    16.9   11

2013   Alabama       12             45      736     16.4      4     

2014   Alabama       14          124    1,727   13.9     16

 TOTALS                       40          228    3,463   15.2    31

AWARDS

2014 Fred Biletnikoff Award winner — Nation’s top wide receiver –

2014 Unanimous All-American and Preseason All-American

2014 SEC Offensive Player of the Year and First Team All-SEC
Third in 2014 Heisman Voting (1,023 points)

2012 Consensus All-American (FWAA, Sporting News, CBSSports.com, CollegeFootballNews.com and Scout.com)

2012 SEC All-Freshman (selected by coaches)

TITLES

Two-time SEC Champion (2012, 2014) – BCS National Champion (20

He had 228 catches for 3,463 yards and 31 touchdowns in three seasons. That includes a standout junior season where he had an NCAA best 1,724 receiving yards.
Here is a brief look at where Cooper’s offensive exploits ranked among his peers in the SEC and NCAA, along with some other notables from his Alabama career:

Receiving Touchdowns

• Ranks first in SEC annals (since 1956) with 31 career TDs
• Finished first in the SEC, and second in the NCAA, with 16 TDs in

2014
• Second in the SEC with 11 TDs as a freshman in 2012, an Alabama freshman record

Receptions

• Ranks third in SEC history (since ‘56) with 228 career receptions
• Topped the SEC and NCAA in 2014 with 124 receptions, setting the

SEC record
• In 2012, finished with 59 cathces, second all-time among Alabama

freshmen

Receiving Yards

• Second all-time in SEC history (since ‘56) with 3,463 yards
• Led the SEC, finishing second in the NCAA, with 1,727 yards in 2014 • His 1,000-yard season in 2012 was good for fifth in the SEC that season, and the third-best yardage total among Alabama freshman

Jack Del Rio, ” Polished”

“The repetitions that he’s had playing the position, running the route tree and doing all the things that he’s done to develop himself, makes him a guy that has that label of being polished,” Del Rio said. “That’s why. He’s earned it.

“It’s rare when you find guys that come into the league and they have that kind of polish on them coming out. Typically, guys have something they haven’t done. He has pretty much done all those things. He knows how to get off press. He knows how to attack defenses, find the soft spots and run the full complement of the route tree. So that sets him apart in terms of the rest of this (draft) class.”

Jack Del Rio answers a question about if you ink Amari Cooper in as a starter from day one.

“I think the way we like to do things is to come in and earn your role and compete,” Del Rio said. “But the expectation level should be high for a young man that comes in that is selected that high in the draft. But he’ll need to prove it on the field and earn it. That’s how, really, it is with everybody. There certainly is a high expectation that goes along with somebody selected that high.”

 

General Manager Reggie McKenzies Comments:

“Cooper was high on our board from the start,” general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “Honestly, it didn’t matter about the position. It was about the player. We thought we had a chance to get a really good player.

“It’s nice when it goes hand in hand, when you have a player that fits one of your needs. It was great when that fell into place.”

Raiders only meeting with Amari Cooper was at the combine. They didn’t bring him in for a workout. They learned about Cooper by talking to people around the Wide Receiver.   They also had some inside knowledge of the player. Linebackers coach Sal Suneri’s son Vinny was a defensive at Alabama with Cooper from 2012-13.

He’s a character player supremely focused on football, but McKenzie also lauded Cooper’s on-field ability, which the Raiders have studied for some time.

“It seems like he can run a route with his eyes closed,” McKenzie said. “He’s exceptionally quick. He’s fast and he understands the game. You can tell the guy’s been playing football and playing that position all his life. You can tell that. He’s an extremely hard worker and you don’t hear any negatives about this guy, so it’s no wonder he’s as good as he is because the intangibles outside of his skill set are extremely high.”

“When Cooper was there, we were excited,” McKenzie said. “We had an idea of kind of how the draft would go, but when Cooper was officially there, it wasn’t a whole lot of debate.”

 

Amari Cooper’s Conference call Q & A

Q: Considering the Raiders weren’t one of the teams that brought you in for a visit, how shocked were you to hear your name called when they were on the clock?

Cooper: “I wasn’t that shocked. I kind of knew they liked me.”

Q: How did you get that feeling that they liked you?

Cooper: “Just talking to them at the combine.”

Q: You were targeted 170-something times last year. As an NFL rookie, you might not be targeted that many times. Is that going to be frustrating for you?

Cooper: “No. I’m just going to work as hard as I can and whatever results yield from that, I’ll be fine with it.”

Q: People talk about how polished you are. What are some of the things that you think you still need to work on most?

Cooper: “Just being consistent in my performance. Looking the ball all the way through every single time, so that I can catch the ball as many times as it’s thrown to me. High-pointing the ball every time. Just the small things to make me a better player.”

Q: Do you know anything about Derek Carr?

Cooper: “From what I’ve heard, he’s a really great, young quarterback. To be honest, I didn’t watch many NFL games last year. What I’ve heard, he’s a really good quarterback and I can’t wait to build a rapport with him.”

Q: How much did Lane Kiffin help you to develop to the player you are?

Cooper: “He wanted to see every player reach their fullest potential. He harped on the small things with me, like looking the ball all the way through and high-pointing the ball so that I can be the best player that I can be.”

Q: How did you develop your approach? Where did that come from?

Cooper: “Just being diligent and conscientious as a receiver. Just trying to be the best I can be. I think for the most part, it’s come because I’ve played this position all my life. Usually when you get a wide receiver at the college level, they haven’t played wide receiver their whole life.”

Q: How young were you when you started playing wide receiver?
Cooper: “Third grade. From the time I started playing football, I’ve always played the same position.”

Q: How did you choose to play wide receiver in the third grade?

Cooper: “I didn’t choose it. I wanted to play running back because when you’re young, all teams really do is run the ball. We had two great running backs, one was the coach’s son and the other one was really good, but they knew I was a great athlete, too, and they used me at receiver.”

Q: One thing that you are better at than most prospects is your route-running. How much of that have you focused on?

Cooper: “I’m a wide receiver. There are only two ways you can get open at wide receiver, your releases and the top of your route. The whole route-running process is really important. I just focused on it and try to be the best that I can at it so I can create as much separation I can for my quarterback.”

Q: Did you watch any specific wide receiver on film to pattern yourself after?

Cooper: “When I started playing wide receiver at a very young age, my coaches tried to teach me how to run a route. I was already good at it because I had been doing it already in my backyard, I just didn’t know what the routes were called. I was pretty good at cutting so it came pretty natural and pretty easy.”

Q: What’s your experience level with California and the Bay Area?

Cooper: “I’ve been there twice just recently. I went there for a Nike shoot and for [ESPN’s] Sports Science. My first time being there was in the past month.”

Q: So, in fourth or fifth grade, you’re in your backyard running routes?

Cooper: “No it was before that. It was when I was like five or six before I started playing organized football. Me and my friends were in the backyard just playing football.”

Q: So you’d just run the routes and they’d throw to you?

Cooper: “Yeah, we would just play against each other. We’d try to guard each other. We had to find ways to get open, that’s what I mean when I say I was already running routes. I was just finding ways to get open. When I had to run a slant route or a comeback route, which the coach called it, I was already familiar with running and getting open so it came easy.”

Q: Would you say it was perfecting your route running that led to your breakout season last year?

Cooper: “It was a combination of different things. I think my mindset is probably the most important thing. Being able to stay positive through whatever injury I had or whatever situation I was going through and focusing on the best player I can be and the best teammate I can be.”

Q: What drew you to football as a kid?

Cooper: “Probably this place called The Barnyard, it was my after school program.”

What They Are Saying

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