Raiders

McCaffrey won't have to convince Del Rio, Raiders he can excel in NFL

McCaffrey won't have to convince Del Rio, Raiders he can excel in NFL

Christian McCaffrey was an excellent college football player. The Stanford running back was a Heisman Trophy candidate two years back, and proved dynamic rushing and returning in his career as a Cardinal.

That hasn’t shut up the skeptics. Some question his ability to excel at the professional level, an issue that bothers McCaffrey to no end.

“I play with a chip on my shoulder always,” McCaffrey said in a Thursday press conference at the NFL scouting combine. “I feel like a lot of people don't give me credit for my skills and talents. That's just the way it is. But I also don't really care too much. I don't feel like I'm crazy disrespected. I have a chip on my shoulder at all times. That's been my whole life.”

The Raiders are one team McCaffrey won’t have to convince. He was scheduled to meet with the Silver and Black at the scouting combine, though a major decision maker already knows him well.

Head coach Jack Del Rio has known McCaffrey for years, dating back to his high school days. Del Rio’s son Luke – now a quarterback at Florida – played with McCaffrey at Valor Christian just outside Denver.

The Del Rios and McCaffreys became friends back then, when Del Rio was Denvers defensive coordinator. Del Rio has watched the son of former Broncos receiver Ed McCaffrey on tape and from the bleachers, and believes he’ll excel in the NFL.

“First of all, Christian McCaffrey is an amazing young man,” Del Rio said. “He and my son Luke played together at Valor Christian (High School, in Colorado) before he went to Stanford. I’ve seen Christian, and I heard people question whether he’d be able to go from the high school level to the college level. Then he tore it up. Now there will be questions about his transition to the pro game. I think you’re going to see the same thing. This guy is a great football player, and I think he will have an impact in this league.”

He could make that impact in Oakland. McCaffrey is projected as a late first-round pick, and could well be available when the Raiders select No. 24 overall. They need help at defensive tackle, cornerback and inside linebacker, though running back might be an issue if Latavius Murray leaves in free agency and the Raiders don’t sign someone to rush with DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard.

The Raiders could use a strong, physical back. McCaffrey doesn’t fall into that category, but he’s a versatile talent that would intrigue an imaginative offensive coordinator. The Raiders could look to the draft for rushing help, though it’s a deep class at that position and Reggie McKenzie has proven adept mining running backs from the later rounds.

McCaffrey won’t last that long. He has detractors and plenty of fans, who should take him in the first two rounds.

McCaffrey believes he can be a three-down back for the Raiders or anyone else, though he’s an excellent return man and a quality receiver out of the backfield or in the slow.

“Something I really pride myself on is not just being a running back that can catch the ball but if I move out to the slot, I become a receiver. If I move out to X or Z, I become a receiver and not just a running back,” McCaffrey said. “I really try to pride myself on route running, catching and being able to be a mismatch anywhere on the field.”

Raiders' Sean Smith charged with assault

Raiders' Sean Smith charged with assault

Raiders cornerback Sean Smith has been charged with assault, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced on Thursday.

The charge is for assault of his sister's boyfriend in Smith's hometown of Pasadena. Smith allegedly beat and stomped the boyfriend's head on the morning of July 4, 2017 in Old Town Pasadena, the district attorney said.

Smith faces formal felony counts of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and battery with serious bodily injury to the victim.

The 30-year old plans to fight the charges levied against him. 

"Sean maintains his innocence at this time," Smith's attorney, Daniel Rosenberg told NBC Sports Califorinia on Thursday evening. "We are going to be entering a plea of not guilty and fighting these charges."

A warrant was filed on Aug. 16. Smith's arriagnment is scheduled for Sept. 29. 

Smith was not present at Thursday's Raiders practice, the last session of training camp. He surrendered to Los Angeles County authorities, posted an $80,000 bond and has been released from custody.

If convicted as charged, Smith could face a maximum sentence of seven years in California prison. 

A Raiders spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The case is still under investigation by the Pasadena Police Department. 

This is another blow in a rough summer for Smith. He has struggled on the practice field during training camp and faces an off-field legal issue. Smith is guaranteed $9.5 million for the 2017 season. 

More to come...

After speaking with Marshawn Lynch, two things are crystal clear

After speaking with Marshawn Lynch, two things are crystal clear

NAPA – Marshawn Lynch spoke with the media Thursday for the second time as a Raider. He was quick-witted, disarming and, as always, not suitable for work.

It was five minutes of peak Marshawn, where he brought light to his charitable endeavors, called himself the “daddy” of his position group and cleverly sidestepped all things nation anthem.

He was asked four questions on other topics before elephant in the room was mentioned. It didn’t stick around long.

“I think the elephant left the room because a little mouse ran in here,” Lynch deadpanned. “Didn’t they say elephants are scared of mice or something? That [expletive] left the room, cousin.”

[RATTO: Lynch reminds media how much control he exerts over any interaction]

Two more related questions came down the pike. The first was about Del Rio letting players be themselves. He answered a different question instead.

“Yeah, because on ‘doctor-24,’ it’s a designed way that you’re supposed to run it but I have all freedom to go any way that I choose to run it,” Lynch said. “I would say, yes.”

The final anthem-esque query was deflected in a similar fashion.

“When we run ‘74’ or something like that, where I have to scan and read on both sides, that is pretty difficult. For the most part, I’m a veteran so I can make it work.”

Two things were crystal clear after speaking with Lynch.

He didn’t miss football one bit during his year in retirement. Lynch said this spring he decided to return after the Raiders were approved to relocate away from his native Oakland. He wants to represent his hometown well and give them something to cheer before the team leaves for Las Vegas.

That’s why he’s fired up even for Saturday’s exhibition against the Rams – he’s expected to make a cameo in that game – his first in Oakland wearing silver and black.

“It’s truly a blessing and just to have the opportunity to go and do that is a good [expletive] feeling,” Lynch said. “It’s a good [expletive] feeling.”

Lynch has always been active in the community, and hopes him playing here will bring more visibility to what’s being done to help kids in Oakland.

“I plan on continuing to do what I do in the community,” Lynch said. “It’ll probably be that now that I’m here, more people that are in the community might actually come out and support what it is that we’ve got going on.”