Tracking Raiders' Latest UDFA Signings
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Last season, Rod Streater made the Oakland Raiders as an undrafted free agent and had a very productive rookie campaign with 39 receptions for 584 yards and three touchdowns. Undrafted rookies can make an impact in Year 1, but they can also make the roster and take some time to develop.
When Reggie McKenzie was with the Packers, they signed Tramon Williams as an undrafted free agent, and he's become one of the better cornerbacks in the league. It took Williams three years to become a starter and two to see regular playing time.
Every year at least one guy makes the team who wasn't drafted, and the lack of depth on the Raiders could open the door for three or four such players to make the team this year. Hopefully, McKenzie's second group of undrafted free agents yields a gem like Streater or Williams.
The Raiders announced 14 total signings with many previously reported signings not on the list. It's likely that the Raiders will bring many of them in for a try out during mini camp if they aren't signed by another team.
QB Kyle Padron
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Reggie McKenzie said in his post-draft press conference that he'd like to go into training camp with four quarterbacks, and Kyle Padron would be the fourth on the roster behind Matt Flynn, Terrelle Pryor and Tyler Wilson.
Padron is 6'3" and 220 pounds, which is a good size for a quarterback. Padron attended Southlake Carroll High School, one of the football powerhouses in Texas. Current NFL quarterbacks Chase Daniel and Greg McElroy both attended Southlake Carroll, and Texas is a breeding ground for NFL quarterbacks.
In 2010, Padron was a solid starter at SMU and completed 59.4 percent of his passes for 3,828 yards, 31 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 14 games. In 2011, Padron was benched in favor of J.J. McDermott who finished the year with just 17 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
Padron transferred to Eastern Washington then completed 59.1 percent of his passes for 2,491 yards, 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 11 games.
It's been an interesting path for Padron, but unless something drastic happens he should be considered a camp arm at this point.
OG Lamar Mady
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Lamar Mady is 6'2" and 317 pounds with 33.5" arms, which seems to fit the profile of a guard prospect. Mady's NFL.com profile calls him a potential fit in the zone-blocking scheme, which just indicates he's light on his feet.
Mady put up 35 reps on the bench press at the combine but didn't test well in other areas. Mady did show off his quick feet in position drills, which may have kept the Raiders interested.
The Raiders need offensive line depth, and Mady seems like a good undrafted guy to give a chance to during training camp to see how he holds up having come from Youngstown State, which is an FCS school.
OT John Wetzel
John Wetzel handles a top draft prospect in Bjoern Werner.
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John Wetzel is a big, powerful right tackle with heavy feet according to NFL.com. Wetzel held one of the elite pass-rushers in the country, Bjoern Werner, to zero sacks or tackles for a loss in a blowout loss. Wetzel could very easily move to guard in the NFL.
Wetzel's best position would be probably be guard at the NFL level, which would put him in direct competition with last year's third-round pick Tony Bergstrom or veteran Mike Brisiel. The Raiders used the draft to upgrade at tackle, but they desperately needed help at guard.
Until proven otherwise Wetzel is just a guy and will get his chance in camp to impress the coaches and scouts.
WR Sam McGuffie
Sam McGuffie's incredible hurdle.
According to NFL.com's Bucky Brooks, McGuffie also had a 40.5-inch vertical leap, 11'2" broad jump and 4.02-second short shuttle. Those are eye-popping numbers at 5'11" and 200 pounds that would have placed him at or near the top of the combine in each category.
Brooks also notes that McGuffie has a history of concussions, which may have been why the Raiders were able to get him as an undrafted player. In 2008 as a true freshman, McGuffie had 661 yards from scrimmage at Michigan but suffered three concussions that year.
After missing the 2009 season, McGuffie came back in 2010 with 1,267 yards from scrimmage and nine touchdowns in 12 games for RIce. In 2011, McGuffie missed five games due to injury and wasn't really a part of the offense. McGuffie moved to slot receiver in 2012 and had 603 receiving yards and five touchdowns on 54 receptions.
If his concussion issues check out, the Raiders may have found themselves one heck of a future slot receiver.
WR Conner Vernon
Vernon has great hands.
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Conner Vernon was a hyper-productive wide receiver at Duke. Over the last three seasons, Vernon had 3003 yards on 228 receptions and 18 touchdowns and finished his career as the ACC's all-time leader in receptions and yards.
The knock on Vernon and why he went undrafted is that he didn't play against great competition and he lacks great speed. However, he showcased great hands at the combine and ability to shift into an extra gear to track the deep ball.
Sigmund Bloom's scouting report on Vernon projects how his skills will translate to the NFL level:
Vernon will contribute on special teams, and he can fit in as a slot receiver, even though he doesn't have the typical small/quick game you usually see in the slot. Vernon will need to work on beating the jam to get more time as a outside receiver, but he'll be a very good fourth or fifth receiver in a West Coast offense.
The Raiders have four receivers currently on the roster and two of them project to the slot role, but it never hurts to add another option. If Vernon can learn to beat the jam and work on his blocking, he could be an undrafted gem.
LB Billy Boyko
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Billy Boyko played four years at Lehigh, with 104 tackles last year. The Raiders could certainly use depth on defense and Boyko seems to have the prerequisite measurables.
According to Michael LoRe of the Lehigh Vally Express-Times, Boyko ran the 40-yard dash in a hand-timed 4.5 seconds. Boyko's coach called him the best defensive players in their league, praised his aggressiveness and called him the MVP of the football team.
Boyko seems like exactly the type of football players the Raiders are looking to add for depth. Whether Boyko is able to make the jump the the NFL is the question, but it's hard to bet against him.
DB Adrian Bushell
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Adrian Bushell is an undersized cornerback that isn't fast, but don't write him off. Bushell is aggressive, has good footwork and is instinctive. Bushell could either play nickel cornerback and special teams immediately and work his way into certain defensive packages.
Here's the bottom line from NFL.com's scouting profile:
Bushell has the versatility to play both inside and out, and could be a potential weapon out of the slot due to his blitzing ability.
The Raiders have only one cornerback on the roster that currently projects as a pure nickel guy, so there's some opportunity for Bushell to compete for a roster spot.
P Bobby Cowan
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It's going to be an interesting punting competition during training camp between 2012 undrafted free agent Marquette King and Bobby Cowan, a 2013 undrafted free agent out of Idaho. Cowan is also a left-footed kicker, which sometimes makes it harder on punt returners.
King is the favorite for the job, but he's hardly a lock to become Shane Lechler's successor. Cowan averaged 44.7 yards per punt in college and punted 70 times as a senior for and average of 43.1 yards per attempt.
King's consistency needs to improve and if he doesn't Cowan could threaten him for the job.
C Deveric Gallington
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Deveric Gallington started 38 consecutive games on the offensive line for Texas Tech, to end his career and wasn't really on the draft radar despite having good size at 6'3" and 319 pounds.
Gallington is going to have an uphill battle to make the roster strictly as a center, so he'll likely have to be able to play guard as well.
S Shelton Johnson
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The Raiders need depth at free safety and think highly enough of Wisconsin's Shelton Johnson to bring him in for depth. Johnson is 6'0" and 196 pounds won the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award and was Academic All-Big Ten.
Reggie McKenzie likes high-character players like Johnson and he'll have a chance to compete for a roster spot this fall. Johnson even knows that he'll probably have to make the team on special teams.
"You come in hoping to make your name in special teams," Johnson said (via Fox Sports Wisconsin). "That's kind of how it is. But I feel like I have a plethora of abilities. I feel like I can do anything anybody asks me to as long as they give me the time to do it. I feel like I'm versatile. I think I can fit in anywhere, honestly."
Johnson ran a 4.40-second 40-yard dash at his pro day, so he appears to have the speed needed to play in the NFL as a versatile free safety.
TE Brian Leonhardt
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Bemidji State sounds like the name of a fake college, but it exists up in Bemidji, Minnesota about an hour west of Grand Rapids. Bemidji State is a Division II school and Brian Leonhardt didn't exactly dominate the his level of competition.
Leonhardt ranked third on the team with 25 receptions for 343 yards and three touchdowns as a senior. Leonhardt wasn't even the leading receiver, but he does have good size at 6-foot-5 and 263 pounds.
In an interview with NFLDraftZone.com, Leonhardt said he compares his game to Rob Gronkowski and would love to meet Tom Hanks. Leonhardt probably doesn't realize that if he makes the squad, he might have that chance because Hanks is a huge Raiders fan.
There is going to be a huge competition level jump fro Leonhardt, but he has NFL size and that could give him a chance at a tight end position that is crowded, but that lacks a clear-cut starter.
LS Adam Steiner
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What more can be said about a long snapper? No one is threatening Jon Condo's job, so the presumption here is that the Raiders just need another guy in camp or if Condo were to go down with an injury.
Last season, Condo was concussed in Week 1 and the Raiders lost to the Chargers largely due to a few bad snaps by Travis Geothel, but there is no way the Raiders are going to keep a roster spot for a backup long snapper.
Steiner is the definition of a camp body, but if he's impressive the Raiders will keep him on speed dial.
DT Kurt Taufa'asau
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Kurt Taufa'asau (pronounced: Tou-Fou-Sou) is a big defensive tackle from Wyoming University, but he's originally from American Samoa. The Raiders could certainly use some help on the interior and must have seen something they like about Taufa'asau.
The Raiders attended Wyoming's pro day according to to KGWN-TV in Cheyenne, Wyoming and Taufa'asau is considered to be quite athletic for his size.
RB Deonte Williams
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Deonte Williams is a local product. The Oakland native went to high school in Elk Grove (outside Sacramento), attended Junior College at Sierra College in Rocklin (also outside of Sacramento) and transferred to Cal Poly.
"It's an amazing feeling. Growing up being a Raider fan, being born in Oakland, and you know my whole life always cheering for the Raiders and to put that uniform on, that's black and silver. Whoo! I can't wait, I really can't wait. Words can't explain it, I'm just a Raider at heart," said Williams during a phone interview with KSBY 6 in San Luis Obispo.
Raiders fans have to like that Williams is a huge fan of the team and he'll have a chance to earn a roster spot behind Darren McFadden as well. Williams ran a 4.53-second 40-yard dash and only the Raiders and Chargers attended his pro day according to the San Luis Obispo Tribune.
Williams is 5-foot-11 and weighs 210 pounds with a thick lower half. Williams was also productive at Cal Poly, rushing for 1547 yards last season.