UFAs To Keep An Eye On In Raiders Rookie Mini-Camp


Everyone, including the staff here at Just Blog Baby, covers the NFL Draft and all of the picks ad nauseam. That said, history shows that undrafted free agent rookies have close to as good of a chance of making the roster as some late-round draft picks.

Most Raider fans are familiar with the signing of undrafted free agent and Fresno State product Josh Harper, but there are some other rookies who didn’t hear their names called on draft weekend who could make an impact in silver and black.

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Here are three other undrafted rookie free agents Raider Nation should be paying close attention to.

Jimmy Hall, Linebacker, Northwestern — Due to my experience covering the Big Ten, I’m fairly familiar with Hall and what he brings. He’s undersized at his position by most measures — as he is built more like a strong safety. Despite that, he is rarely not one of the first defenders to the ball and a sure tackler when he gets there. I’ve seen him take down some of the best running backs the Big Ten has to offer in the open field, including Melvin Gordon.

He’s the kind of player you just want on your roster — even if he’s only playing special teams. As I mentioned earlier this week on Yahoo Sports Radio, the kid will run through a wall if you ask him to. I can see him having a nice career in the league — similar to former New England Patriots special teams standout Larry Izzo.

Leon Orr, Defensive Tackle, Florida — Leon Orr had a fairly controversial departure from college football last November, with concern for his family being at the center of it. On film, Orr is a monster at the defensive tackle position. He’s built like a traditional rush end, carrying his 6-5, 320+ pound frame more like Clay Mathews than Vince Wilfork.

From what I’ve seen, he was rarely stopped by a single lineman, using his athleticism to go trough or around any center or guard unlucky enough to face him alone. I like how he battle with his hands to shed blocks and become an effective pass-rusher from the inside.

Gus Johnson, Running Back, Stephen F. Austin — Johnson could be in a pretty good spot, given the uncertainty and instability at the running back position in Oakland. I was critical of the Raiders for not taking a running back in such a deep draft at the position. Good on Reggie McKenzie and Co. for bringing in the 2014 Southland Conference player of the year to compete for a job.

Johnson reminds me a little of Detroit’s Joique Bell — another small school guy who has been able to carve out a role in the league. I’ll be anxious to see what he is able to do behind a solid offensive line. Despite the success he had at Stephen F. Austin, there were several times while watching his highlights and film where I felt bad for the kid due to how hard he had to work for his yards and how little help he got from his offensive front.

Next: Raiders Focused 2015 Draft On Helping Derek Carr

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