A weekly series recapping three players on the Oakland Raiders whose stock is on the rise after playing well, and three players whose stock has taken a hit after a poor performance.
At the conclusion of a hard fought victory over the Marcus Mariota led Tennessee titans, the Oakland Raiders are again on the upswing as we enter Week 4 and and a matchup with the Baltimore Ravens.
After an up and down game from multiple players, we look at our version of a stock watch — three players who stood out and three players who had very rough showings in Week 3.
Let’s start with players whose stock is on the rise.
If there is one offensive player that Oakland drafted this past offseason that I was unsure about, it was definitely Vadal.
Just look here at what I tweeted after the draft regarding Vadal, and comparisons he received to budding star Gabe Jackson:
So maybe I was a tad harsh, but in no way did I think he could come in and play valuable minutes this season on this offensive line. But with injuries to Matt McCants and Austin Howard pushing them to the inactives list, and Menelik Watson (again) going down with an injury, Oakland was forced into a bind.
Do they move Kelechi Osmele to LT and Penn to RT, as they did against New Orleans? Or do they put the untested Vadal at RT against one of the NFL’s best linemen in Jurrell Casey?
Mike Tice rolled the dice with option number two, and it paid off, as Vadal showed improved footwork and quickness on the edge — two of his biggest issues coming out of LSU.
With the right tackle position up in the air, we may see Vadal continue to step up, therefore, his stock is definitely on the rise.
Time and again over the past six seasons, since fan favorite Kirk Morrison was traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Raiders fans have had to endure a mind-numbing amount of missed tackles from the ILB position. Be it Ricky Brown, Travis Goethel, Miles Burris, Kaluka Maiava, Malcolm Smith, Ben Heeney — the list goes on as Oakland fans have continued to suffer.
Then steps in little known sixth-round draft pick Cory James, from Colorado State. After a rough outing by Heeney in Week 2, Cory James was elevated to the starting ILB spot.
And while it wasn’t a perfect game by any means, throughout the game, James stepped up and made a play, but more importantly, stepped up and made a tackle, like this example (excuse the typo on the tweet):
Again, there are still issues to clean up regarding assignments and whatnot, but that is to be expected with a sixth-round rookie. Regardless, James is definitely trending upwards, and we can continually hope we have found our ILB of the future.
Finally, the ‘hitman’ is free. It may have taken longer than we had hoped, but KJ42 is finally free.
From leading the team with 10 tackles in 61 snaps, to just flying around and making plays in all facets of the game, Karl Joseph truly made his presence felt.
See here for example, Karl may not make the play himself, but his ability to create pressure and impact the play with his presence was definitely a catalyst for this Raiders defense, and I expect many good things to come of Karl Joseph as his Raiders career progresses.