Curry officially a Raider


Curry officially a Raider

ALAMEDA -- The Raiders' trade for Aaron Curry is complete. The former Seattle linebacker passed his physical Thursday afternoon.
Curry didn't wait to alert the Raider Nation, issuing the following on Twitter."Raider Nation!!!!! STAND UP!!!!! RaiderNation RaiderNation RaiderNation Silver n Black JustWinBaby," is what the No. 4 pick of the 2009 NFL draft tweeted.Also, Raiders legacy linebacker Bruce Davis took to the social network site and announced he was being let go, the week after he blocked a punt in Oakland's emotional victory at Houston, in what appears to be the corresponding roster move.
"Twit fam, I regret to inform you that the Oakland Raiders told me today that they no longer need my services. I still love @RaiderNation," Davis tweeted.The Raiders have reportedly agreed to send a seventh-round pick in the 2012 draft and a conditional pick in 2013 to Seattle for Curry, who re-worked his initial six-year, 60-million contract before this season began. He can now become a free agent at the end of the 2012 season.On Wednesday, the Raiders tried out 10 players -- linebackers Prescott Burgess, Phillip Dillard, Stanford Keglar, Kevin Malast and Gerris Wilkinson; defensive backs Don Carey, Quentin Demps, Darcel McBath and DeAngelo Smith; and guard Chris Harr.The Raiders, obviously, found what they were looking for in Seattle.Raiders linebacker Darryl Blackstock is a close friend of Curry from their days playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Blackstock at Virginia, Curry at Wake Forest, and said Curry should not be labeled a bust."A.C.? That's my dog," Blackstock said."A lot of energy. I remember him as a recruit when I was at UVA, and he just brought a lot of energy. He's a great dude. Awesome, awesome football player. Awesome man. We've upgraded our team by getting him, just for the quality of a person he is."With the Seahawks, Curry struggled mightily against the pass. According to Stats, Inc., Curry has given up eight of eight passes thrown his way this season. In his career, opposing passers have completed 62 of 76 (81.6 percent) for 613 yards and six touchdowns against him.Curry does not have an interception in his career and opponents have a 126.6 passer rating against him.Troubling? If it is, the Raiders aren't letting on."He's athletic, he can run, he tackles, he takes on linemen, he takes on backs," said coach Hue Jackson. "I think he's a really good football player. Obviously I can't speak to what went on up there, but I know what's going to go on here. So I'm excited about getting him, once we can get everything done. It's hard to comment about everything when you know everything's not done, but hopefully things will get squared away here soon and we can move forward."Jackson was asked if Curry, who has primarily been a strong-side linebacker in his career, was varied enough to play multiple positions.You better know he is," Jackson said. "But I don't want to put him in a whole bunch of spots. I want to let him play one thing and let him become great because I think the guy has great talent."In college, Curry was a pass-rusher who caught Raiders speedster Jacoby Ford one time in a game against Clemson."It was me and him, just one on one and I tried to make a move and I spun and he wrapped my legs up," Ford said. "It was a good play. That's what great players do, they make plays and that's exactly what he is."With Seattle, Curry's responsibilities changed. And his production suffered."I've been in his shoes," Blackstock said. "You're this (certain) guy in college, then you have to adjust to a whole lot of different concepts at the pro level and if you don't do it to the quality of their liking, they call you whatever they want. Can the man play football or not?"Blackstock believes he can."Football is being in the right system. You have to adjust to something new and when you've been doing something for so long, it's like asking a receiver to play tight get taken out of your element and the organization feels like your production is low, and they label you as a bust, or whatever they want. It has nothing to do with you as a football player. He's a football player."I watched him on film a couple of times, he was doing great to me, as far as the energy, how he was playing. How his assignments were, I'm not the coach or the one evaluating him."He'll be judged by the Raiders and their fans soon enough.

McKenzie focuses Raiders' 2017 draft on defense, beefs up secondary

McKenzie focuses Raiders' 2017 draft on defense, beefs up secondary

ALAMEDA – Raiders general manger Reggie McKenzie made nine selections in this weekend’s NFL draft. That was a requirement given the state of his roster, featuring a stacked offense and a Swiss-cheese defense. It has holes.

He spent significant draft capital trying to upgrade the middle of his defense especially, adding three defensive backs, two defensive tackles and a fifth-round pick in Marquel Lee who will compete to start at middle linebacker.

He needs a few immediate impact players on the defensive group headlined by first-round cornerback Gareon Conley and second-round safety Obi Melifonwu.

“How much do I think I can get out of this group? I hope a lot,” McKenzie said Saturday after the NFL draft was complete. “They’re all going to come in and compete. We’re signing guys post-draft also. We’re going to give them all the opportunity to compete with the veterans that we already have on board. We hope that out of it all, the competition part of it, the cream rises and we have a very good 53-man roster.”

McKenzie follows a draft board thoroughly constructed through hundreds of scouting reports and cross checks, and extensive evaluation at combines and pro days. He trusts it. It has certainly treated him well before, which productive hauls in 2014 and 2015 especially.

While he lost out on some likable players taken before his slot, McKenzie believes the Raiders added quality and depth in previously lacking position groups. He stuck with size and athleticism at times over college production and, as always, beefed up both the offensive and defensive lines.

“I think the way it fell, we got a lot of players, at the end of the day, it looks like we needed,” he said. “We felt like we got a lot of good players with high talent levels from top to bottom. Some are going to be more raw than others. We’re going to have to see down the line, more so. I think talking to the board, you said, ‘Job well done.’”

McKenzie also focused on fixing a lackluster pass defense with speed. Conley can be a shutdown cornerback outside or in the slot. Melifonwu is a heavy hitter who can play both safety spots and is expected to contribute as a rookie. The secondary must improve to prevent big plays and help Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin get after the quarterback.

“You have to have speed to play the game the way it’s going now,” McKenzie said. “You have to be able to play in space. You have to be able to match up. We took all of that into consideration when we brought these players in. To the players that you mentioned, Obi and Conley, both of those guys have great range, speed, very athletic. So, they make tackles in space. That’s one of the things that we looked at. Make sure short to medium plays don’t turn into big plays. I think they will help in that scenario.”

Here’s a full list of Raiders draft picks:

Round 1 (No. 24 overall): CB Gareon Conley, Ohio State
Round 2 (No. 56 overall): S Obi Melifonwu, Connecticut
Round 3 (No. 88 overall): DT Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA
Round 4 (No. 129 overall): OT David Sharpe, Florida
Round 5 (No. 168 overall): LB Marquel Lee, Wake Forest
Round 7 (No. 221 overall): S Shalom Luani, Washington State
Round 7 (No. 231 overall): OT Jylan Ware, Alabama State
Round 7 (No. 242 overall): RB Elijah Hood, North Carolina
Round 7 (No. 244 overall): DT Treyvon Hester, Toledo


Raiders 2017 UDFA tracker: McKenzie adds safeties, mining for more gold

Raiders 2017 UDFA tracker: McKenzie adds safeties, mining for more gold

ALAMEDA – The Raiders have had great success mining gold from undrafted free agency. Jalen Richard and Darius Latham were kings of last year’s crop, which was six strong by season’s end. with Seth Roberts and Denico Autry other examples of undrafted free agents done good in recent years.

Can Raiders scouts find more helpful pieces from those left out of the NFL draft? Time will tell on that one, but finding the right undrafted players is something the team takes seriously. Scouts revel in undrafted players who make it in the league.

“It’s very rewarding,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “If we sign him as a free agent, we may have had him on the board as draftable, but getting guys post draft, that helps you down the road. To maintain a consistent winner, you have to hit on some of those guys. You have to. The way that the contracts are these days, you have to have some of those type players to help you win football games year in and year out.”

The Raiders will search for those players into Saturday evening to fill the 90-man roster. McKenzie secured some of his top targets with four seventh-round picks, though several more have signed with the club. Here’s a list of those who have signed with the team thus far:

-- OL Jordan Simmons, USC: The hulking offensive lineman signed with the Raiders, he announced on social media. Simmons stands 6-foot-5 and 335 pounds, and will turn pro after being denied a sixth year of college eligibility. The talented guard had an injury-riddled career.

-- WR Isaac Whitney, USC: Whitney is yet another undrafted Trojan to join the Raiders roster. He announced the signing on social media. He didn’t have many college stats, but is fast with the size the Raiders prefer in outside receivers.

-- WR Keon Hatcher, Arkansas: Hatcher will reportedly join the offseason receiver group in hopes of taking a roster spot. He had 44 catches for 743 yards and eight touchdowns in his final college season. (Houston Chronicle)

-- WR Ishmael Zamora, Baylor: The Bears official website reported that Zamora will sign with the Silver and Black. He had63 catches for 809 yards and eight touchdowns in 2016. He was suspended three games for abusing a dog in an incident that was caught on video. 

-- S Ahmad Thomas, Oklahoma: The Raiders need safety depth, so it was smart of Thomas to sign in Oakland. He was a three-year starter and a team captain. (Houston Chronicle)

-- S Anthony Cioffi, Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights’ official Twitter account reported a four-year starter in college will give the pros a try in Oakland.

-- DT Jordan Wade, Oklahoma: The 6-foot-4, 295-pound defensive tackle will join the Raiders. (

-- TE Pharaoh Brown, Oregon: The Ducks didn’t have a single player drafted, but Brown will join the Silver and Black. The tight end announced a signing on Twitter. He had 33 catches for 426 yards and five touchdown.

Check back for further updates...