Oakland Raiders Week 2 Stock Report

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistSeptember 16, 2015

Oakland Raiders Week 2 Stock Report

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    Justin Tuck
    Justin TuckEzra Shaw/Getty Images

    As strange as it sounds, it’s possible to extract bright spots from the Oakland Raiders’ Week 1 loss when discussing player stock reports.

    Head coach Jack Del Rio made a brief mention of positives in Monday’s press conference, but after any loss there’s a heavy emphasis on the negative.

    This week’s stock report will dig deep to find those positives for certain players and highlight what went wrong on the back end of the defense in Week 1.

    As a prelude to Week 2, we’ll go through player stocks on the downturn and on the rise based on last week’s performances and personnel moves. This report omits players who left the game early due to injury.

Seth Roberts: Stock Up

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    No. 10 Seth Roberts
    No. 10 Seth RobertsCary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

    According to ESPN’s Ed Werder, the Raiders traded wide receiver Brice Butler to the Dallas Cowboys, which leaves more snaps for Seth Roberts as the slot receiver. Butler expressed gratitude to the Raiders fanbase and said hello to America's team via Twitter.

    The Raiders deactivated Butler in Week 1, and Roberts played 41 snaps, per Pro Football Focus. Both Rod Streater and Andre Holmes played 10 snaps last week.

    Holmes and Streater are off to slow starts after missing significant time in the offseason. Now without Butler, expect a high volume of snaps for Roberts going forward.

    Butler and Roberts led the wide receiving corps during the preseason with solid performances. The Raiders place a great deal of confidence in Roberts with Butler’s departure.

    The undrafted wide receiver struggled in his first taste of regular-season action with two drops and three catches for 12 yards. Fortunately for Roberts, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to showcase his potential as a key contributor in the slot.

Keith McGill: Stock Down

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    No. 39 Keith McGill
    No. 39 Keith McGillStephen Brashear/Associated Press

    Cornerback Keith McGill’s stock drops with a reduced role—confined to special teams—in Week 1. Throughout the offseason, McGill competed with D.J. Hayden for the No. 2 spot at cornerback.

    It’s obvious to see why Hayden held onto his starting position. McGill didn’t bring enough to the field in exhibition to unseat the former first-round pick.

    Last week, McGill didn’t take a single snap at cornerback.

    He took meaningful reps with the first team during the offseason, but he fell out of favor in defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.’s system in the regular-season opener. 

    It’s too early to render him a benchwarmer, but after transitioning from potential starter to special teams player, one must wonder where he stands as a cornerback.

Neiko Thorpe: Stock Up

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    No. 31 Neiko Thorpe
    No. 31 Neiko ThorpeHannah Foslien/Getty Images

    Cornerback Neiko Thorpe played in an expanded role against the Cincinnati Bengals.

    Thorpe played 33 total snaps—23 in pass coverage on the outside and none in the slot. Essentially, he played the role that McGill auditioned for in the offseason.

    According to SilverandBlackPride.com writer Levi Damien, Thorpe earned reps with the starting defense in training camp. He's a strong candidate to challenge D.J. Hayden for the No. 2 cornerback position as the season progresses. 

    He allowed three catches for 38 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown pass to tight end Tyler Eifert. In fairness, Eifert at 6’6”, 250 pounds dominated the matchups against the Raiders cornerbacks and linebackers with the exception of T.J. Carrie.

    In the aftermath, Norton will likely continue to use Thorpe on the outside as a fast and rangy pass defender.

D.J. Hayden: Stock Down

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    Tyler Eifert catches touchdown pass on D.J. Hayden
    Tyler Eifert catches touchdown pass on D.J. HaydenTony Avelar/Associated Press

    Del Rio acknowledges the extensive scrutiny on Hayden, but the third-year cornerback warrants the unfavorable analysis with a continuation of poor performances.

    Eifert played a great game, and somehow he matched against Hayden for an eight-yard touchdown catch. We cannot fault Hayden at 5’11”, 190 pounds for losing a battle in coverage with a 6’6”, 250-pound tight end, but it’s the way he surrendered the touchdown that brings frustration.

    When viewing Eifert’s second touchdown highlight provided by NFL.com, it’s clear that Hayden could have deflected the pass if he turned his head around to see the ball coming. His lack of awareness continues to hurt his good positioning in coverage.

    The Bengals tight end caught an imperfect pass with Hayden unaware of his positioning to break up the touchdown.

    Hayden split his duties covering on the outside with Thorpe and continued to struggle, mostly in the slot position. He surrendered seven catches out of nine targets for 67 yards and allowed five of those catches for 52 yards in slot coverage.

Justin Tuck: Stock Up

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    Defensive end Justin Tuck
    Defensive end Justin TuckEzra Shaw/Getty Images

    Defensive end Justin Tuck graded as the top defensive end in run support in Week 1.

    His brilliance didn’t show in the box score, with the Bengals’ running back duo combining for 126 rushing yards and two touchdowns. However, Tuck managed to stop three runs directed his way and knocked down two passes at the line of scrimmage.

    Last week, he played as the forgotten man with all the buzz surrounding edge-rushers Khalil Mack and Aldon Smith. Yet, the 12-year veteran had the best performance among the Raiders front seven.

    Tuck isn't ready to transition into a rotational defensive lineman and may contribute to the front line heavily in a contract year.

    The Raiders can still develop into a solid defense if Smith and Mack live up to their expectations alongside a veteran in Tuck who still gets the job done.

    Follow Maurice Moton on Twitter for news, updates and intriguing discussion about the Oakland Raiders.

    All statistics are provided by Pro Football Focus unless otherwise noted.

    Week 1 statistics and play-by-play analysis provided by NFL.com.


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