Pryor's suspension over, activation next?

554392.jpg

Pryor's suspension over, activation next?

ALAMEDA -- Just because quarterback Terrelle Pryor's five game suspension to begin his NFL career is officially over does not necessarily mean the Raiders rookie will dress for Sunday's home game against Cleveland.The Raiders have been granted a one-game roster exemption by the NFL, the league confirmed late Monday afternoon, meaning Oakland can carry 54 players on the roster this week instead of 53. It also means the Raiders can have eight inactive players on Sunday rather than seven.Because if the Raiders choose to dress him and make him active for the Browns game, they will have to cut or place a current roster player on season-ending Injured Reserve."I think we're going to be in a really good spot as far as Terrelle Pryor is concerned," Raiders coach Hue Jackson said in his weekly Monday media conference.As part of his suspension for what the league described as "decisions that undermine the integrity of the eligibility rules for the NFL draft," Pryor could not practice or travel with the team during the first five weeks of the regular season. He could only sit in on team meetings and work out individually at the team's compound.When the Raiders drafted him in the third round of the NFL's supplemental draft on Aug. 22, it was with the understanding he would be suspended the first five games of the season and he had no qualms about it at the time.But just before the season opener, on Sept. 9, Pryor announced his intent to appeal the suspension. Three weeks later, however, the NFL upheld its own decision and did not shorten the ban, which came to an end following the Raiders' emotional game at Houston on Sunday, their first game since owner Al Davis passed away on Saturday."Yeah, I'm real excited to see him," Raiders offensive coordinator Al Saunders said last week. "We had him for a few days in training camp. Of course, anytime you get a young player, he's been really upbeat. We're looking forward to seeing what he can do."Had he returned to school, Pryor would have had to sit five games at Ohio State for his role in a tattoos-and-cash-for-memorabilia scandal that ultimately cost coach Jim Tressel his job."He's taken to the offensive terminology and the system real well," Saunders added. "He's done a nice job of that. He's been working out every day. So, we're excited when he has the opportunity to join us as a player."Pryor got in three training camp practices and dressed for the Raiders' exhibition finale at Seattle but did not play.

"Suspension officially over," Pryor Tweeted. "I can't wait to join my teammates in practice. Great win Silver and black!!! 'Just win baby'-Al Davis!"

Tom Hanks rants about Raiders leaving Oakland for Las Vegas

Tom Hanks rants about Raiders leaving Oakland for Las Vegas

Tom Hanks went to Skyline High School in Oakland.

He is not happy that the Raiders are moving to Las Vegas.

“When the Raiders leave, I am going on an NFL moratorium for two years," Hanks said on Monday night, according to Peter Hartlaub of The San Franicsco Chronicle. "You cannot take the Silver and Black, put them in an air-conditioned dome in the desert, make them play on artificial turf within a stone’s throw of the fountains of Caesar’s Palace, and call them the Raiders.

“Here’s the thing I don’t quite understand. And I’m not trying to -- this isn’t one of the causes I’m fighting for. I’m just thinking as a fan: It’s a billion-dollar industry, they have billion-dollar TV contracts. All the owners are billionaires. And yet when they want to build a stadium they’re going to use for 10 weeks out of the year, they expect the city taxpayers to buy the building.

“The only good thing that is going to come out of the Oakland Raiders leaving -- and there is nothing good that will come out of that, by the way -- is that the Oakland A’s might get their own ballpark.

“I must say I hate that frigging D.H. rule. I always have, ever since that bastard Charlie Finley installed it. We’re not proud of that over on the other side of the East Bay.”

The Raiders' new stadium in Las Vegas is scheduled to open in 2020.

Defense on the menu as Raiders enter 2017 NFL Draft

Defense on the menu as Raiders enter 2017 NFL Draft

The Raiders offense is stacked. It was before this offseason, when tight end Jared Cook, receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse entered the mix.

Then Marshawn Lynch signed up on Wednesday and filled the last immediate offensive need.

The Raiders have talent and depth at most every offensive position, contrasting the defensive depth chart.

The Raiders need help there, possibly with a few instant impact players taken in this weekend’s NFL draft. The first round starts Thursday evening, with the next two rounds Friday afternoon and the remainder of this draft starting Saturday morning.

Despite clear needs, Reggie McKenzie says position is secondary to his ranking system.

“We’re going to take the best player,” McKenzie said in his pre-draft press conference. “There are some good defensive players in this draft, but we’re going to follow our board like always.”

The Raiders general manager says that could lead to an unexpected draft haul. At least he tried.

“Don’t be surprised if I draft all offensive players,” McKenzie said, unable to keep a straight face. “How about that?”

McKenzie knows his roster is strong, with clearly identifiable needs on defense. The Raiders need a starting inside linebacker. They need a slot cornerback. They need help rushing on the defensive interior. They need safety help.

McKenzie tried to fix some of those areas in free agency, but could find a match beyond weakside linebacker Jelani Jenkins. The draft offers the best opportunity to upgrade on defense, and volume could help fix that unit.

“Hopefully we can get a couple of defensive players that can help our team,” McKenzie said. “But, like we both said, we just want to help this football team, regardless of who comes at a spot whether it’s first or seventh round. And hopefully we get some good players after the draft. That’s the plan, we just want to keep stocking and let the chips fall.”

This draft is critical as the Raiders enter a new phase. He deconstructed the roster and reconstructed it while getting right with the salary cap. Now they need to extend members of the awesome 2014 draft class, including quarterback Derek Carr, guard Gabe Jackson and edge rusher Khalil Mack. Drafted quality must continue to cycle through to keep the team strong and the team’s competitive window open.

McKenzie must keep an eye on the horizon, though a few more quality players could push his unit into serious contention for a conference title.

“What we want as a team moving forward, we just want more impact players,” McKenzie said. “You can never have enough playmakers on both sides of the ball and depth on both sides. That’s when you come in and try to get you the best player who can do those things. We’re not just going to plug holes if that’s what you’re asking. We’re going to get some good football players regardless of who we have here.”