3 of 4
Quick thoughts on the Raiders heading into Week 4.
- Karl Joseph. Jihad Ward. Shilique Calhoun. DeAndre Washington. Cory James. Vadal Alexander. This year’s draft class — all impact players thus far. Oh, and Jalen Richard, Darius Latham and Johnny Holton, UDFAs. They’re not bad either. Connor Cook? Well, Derek Carr.
- Calhoun has a sack this year. Joseph and James immediately elevated a moribund defense. Alexander stepped up when needed and will start this weekend. Latham has been the Raiders best run defender. Richard and Washington are explosive backs who have both made multiple big plays.
- That’s three drafts in a row that have yielded solid — if not spectacular — results.
- This year on a team with more talent and depth than the Raiders have had in nearly 15 years you have two rookie UDFA’s logging significant important minutes (Richard and Latham), and four of the six have started a game (counting Alexander who’s slated to start this Sunday).
- The Raiders scouting department deserves a raise.
- Reggie McKenzie deserved that extension. Good call, Nick.
- Amari Cooper and Clive Walford owe the defense and Derek Carr a case or two after their atrocious drops on third downs killed promising drives. Those plays, as much as anything, kept the Titans in the game late and gave them chances they shouldn’t have had.
- That was his only drop thus far, but his catch percentage of 51.7% with 15 catches on 29 targets isn’t great. He’s made a nice play or two this season but he either isn’t getting the separation he did last season, or Carr is simply not looking his way exclusively.
- It’s likely the latter but Cooper’s drops can’t help Carr’s confidence in throwing to him, no matter how close they became in the offseason.
- I expect Cooper, who is definitely a “revenge against himself” type guy, to have a big game this weekend against Shareece Wright, the only Ravens corner to struggle this season.
- Wright has given up 3 TDs and a few big plays, and Cooper is probably pretty pissed at himself for that drop and a somewhat slow start. I’d start him in fantasy (but I don’t have him – boo!).