Next, we’ll look at three players whose stock has taken a hit after the first game of the season.
Be it in coverage or in run support, Keith McGill definitely looked lost multiple times Sunday afternoon. It was very surprising to see him come off the bench ahead of fan favorite T.J. Carrie, and it was clear all game why that should not have been the case.
McGill is a player I have been critical of since the moment he was drafted, and he has done nothing entering his third season to change my mind on him. He is a liability in coverage, and was by far one of the worst tacklers I’ve ever scouted when he entered the draft.
I expect him to be leapfrogged by either Carrie or second-year CB Dexter McDonald in the near future.
The former Super Bowl MVP was brought in on a 2-year, $7M deal to provide a spark to a beleaguered linebacker corps. While he brings value as a smart player who is well-versed in Ken Norton Jr.’s hybrid defense, Smith showed Sunday why many believe he is only a replacement level player.
While Malcolm wasn’t spectacular, he does a decent job in coverage as well as in his ability to diagnose the run. Despite this, he is undersized at 6’0″ 228 pounds, and it shows as a tackler, where he falls off far too many attempts for any fans liking.
Raider Nation can only hope he is outplayed for his starting job, but judging by the lack of depth behind him, we can expect Smith to start most of this season.
Where to start with our dear friend D.J.? The fan favorite for most hated player on the roster has to easily be fourth year cornerback D.J. Hayden.
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After a game which saw him come onto the field in relief before stud slot corner T.J. Carrie, Hayden has been blasted continuously by fans for a game in whiche he gave up multiple TD’s and commited two pass Interference penalties, and one defensive holding.
Time and time again, Hayden allowed big catches to second-year receiver Willie Snead, who torched the Raiders secondary with nine catches for 173 yards and a touchdown. You had to look but two steps behind to see Hayden in a busted coverage.
Many called for his release in the offseason, and he did nothing in the season opener to quell those thoughts.