Oakland Raiders: 5 Unheralded Players Making a Splash at Training Camp

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Jun 17, 2014; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Kory Sheets (30) carries the ball at minicamp at Raiders Practice Facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

4. Kory Sheets – Running Back

Former CFL superstar and Grey Cup MVP Kory Sheets was added by the Raiders very early in the offseason after two impressive seasons for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.  A fifth-year pro out of Purdue, Sheets bounced around the NFL with stops in San Francisco, Miami and Carolina with his only regular season action coming in 2009 in Miami – one carry for five yards.  He injured his knee in training camp for the Dolphins the following year and then was waived during training camp in 2011 and spent the last few weeks of that season on the Panthers practice squad.  In 2012 he began his CFL career, and in two years in Canada amassed over 3700 all-purpose yards, including nearly 2900 yards rushing.

Sheets has great speed vision, speed and elusiveness and is a threat to break a long one at any time, as he has already shown in camp and in Canada.  He is also a capable pass-catcher out of the backfield, as evidenced by his 86 receptions in two seasons in Canada, this trait has impressed coaches in camp as well. While he does struggle in pass protection, his receiving ability will likely have him spending more time running routes when he finds himself on the field in game situations.  He will likely compete with George Atkinson III for the 4th running back spot on the roster, but with the injury histories of  Darren McFadden, Maurice Jones-Drew and Latavius Murray, it’s likely both backs will be featured heavily in preseason and may end up seeing the field at various points in the regular season as well.  While Sheets has the edge over Atkinson as a receiver, Atkinson is a much more accomplished kick returner.  Sheets turned 29 in March and understands that this opportunity with the Raiders may be his last shot in the NFL.  He has the hunger and desire to make it, along with an impressive set of physical tools and football skills that have been on display in camp.  Should he even be able to duplicate a fraction of his success in Canada consistently this preseason, there’s a good chance for him to make this roster.