Raiders show interest in former Baylor WR Gordon

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Raiders show interest in former Baylor WR Gordon

If the Raiders need depth at wide receiver, you'd think they'd seek out a veteran to mentor the young pass catchers already on their roster, right?Probably, but that did not keep them from kicking the tires on former Baylor wideout Josh Gordon at his Pro Day in Houston on Tuesday as one of 21 NFL teams in attendance before Thursday's supplemental draft.At first glance, Gordon does not fit the Raiders' needs at all, what with his only having one year of starting experience.But the 6-foot-3, 224-pound Gordon, who has run the 40-yard dash in 4.50 seconds, is an intriguing prospect after catching 42 passes for 714 yards and seven touchdowns as a sophomore in 2010 before being suspended by Baylor last year after failing a drug test, reportedly for marijuana, transferring to Utah and applying for the NFL's supplemental draft without playing a down for the Utes. Two years ago, he was considered a rising star with second-round talent. Now? Many see him falling to the fourth or fifth round."The supplemental draft isn't the way you want to go into the NFL when you're growing up, but considering my circumstances, I've got to attack it with a full head of steam and do the best I can," Gordon told the Houston Chronicle. "Having a chance to play in the NFL is a dream come true for me and my family. I appreciate having this opportunity. If I'm not drafted, I'll be happy to get a chance as a free agent."The Raiders maintain their first-round draft pick from the Carson Palmer trade but are without a second-rounder as a result of the deal.And after using a third-rounder on quarterback Terrelle Pryor in last year's supplemental draft, it's hard to see Oakland doing the same two years in a row, even with a new regime.Besides, the Raiders have a potentially potent receiving corps in Darrius Heyward-Bey, Denarius Moore, Jacoby Ford, Juron Criner, Rod Streater and Louis Murphy, not counting Eddie McGee and Duke Calhoun.

Amari Cooper seeks counsel from former three-time All-Pro Lions WR

Amari Cooper seeks counsel from former three-time All-Pro Lions WR

ALAMEDA -- Todd Downing and Calvin Johnson go way back. The Raiders offensive coordinator got to know the retired Detroit receiver during four seasons coaching Lions quarterbacks, a relationship benefitted current Silver and Black receivers this week.

Johnson is in Alameda as a special guest and advisor for the first week of Raiders OTAs, offering tips and tricks learned during an excellent career.

“(Downing) thought it’d be a great idea for our wide receivers to just pick his brain and have him be around and give us a point here or there,” Del Rio said. “Talk about some of the things that he did so well in his career and how we might be able to have some of our guys learn from that. It’s great to have him out here.”

Amari Cooper gravitated towards Johnson, and has spent significant time picking his brain

“I’ve just been asking him a whole bunch of questions,” Cooper said after Tuesday’s OTA session. “How does he run certain routes? What was his regimen like? And how he was so productive? He’s a really cool guy. He’s been giving me some really great feedback, so he’s nice to have around.”

Johnson’s a unique talent, a difficult cover at 6-foot-5, 236 pounds. Cooper operates in a smaller frame and has different receiving strengths, but still found wisdom in working with Megatron.

“He just gave me some really good tips on like how I can run some of my routes,” Cooper said. “…he’s a different receiver than I am, obviously. But I really admire the way he high-points the ball and that’s something that I try to do as well.”

Cooper does most everything well, and has had a productive start to his NFL career. He’s just the third receiver in NFL history to exceed 70 receptions and 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons – Odell Beckham and Marques Colston are the others – and made the Pro Bowl after both campaigns.

He continues to tinker with his approach and offseason workouts, trying to finish seasons stronger and become an even more dynamic player. Cooper has no problem learning from others, especially the greats.

“I seek advice all the time,” Cooper said. “My rookie year, when I was fortunate enough to go to the Pro Bowl, I asked Adrian Peterson like when did he start working out, how did he go about his offseason. And I tried to pattern after him a little bit.”

Cooper is smarter and working better thanks to information absorbed from others, which he hopes will help him become a deadly weapon.

“I know he’s just scratching the surface of what he wants to accomplish in this league,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “Very prideful. Amari has always been very serious about the game and works hard at everything, really. His conditioning level and understanding what he needs to be able to do to play at a high level. Again, talking and having a guy like Calvin here as we’re getting started in these OTAs, to be able to share some of the insight of what he experienced playing that position is very valuable for us.”

Lynch 'soaking up the system,' easing into Raiders OTA practices

Lynch 'soaking up the system,' easing into Raiders OTA practices

ALAMEDA – Marshawn Lynch didn’t bring his helmet to Tuesday’s OTA practice. Didn’t need it then, or on Monday. It's uncertain when he'll need it next.

Not for a cameo appearance during individual drills. The veteran running back wasn’t available during team sessions, and spent most of the two-hour practice working in the team’s performance center.

Lynch skipping full-speed work isn’t cause for alarm. First of all, it’s May. Second, Lynch is in great shape but still ramping back up after a season away from NFL football. It would make sense to ease him back in during the spring.

Head coach Jack Del Rio didn’t say when Lynch’s activity would increase, but wasn’t concerned one bit about Lynch’s limited OTA participation – he routinely skipped them while playing in Seattle -- and praised the Oakland native’s level of involvement in the Raiders offseason program since a new contract was worked out and his rights were acquired from Seattle on April 26.

“He’s coming along. He’s doing great. There are no issues there,” Del Rio said. “He has been here like he said he would. He has really been committed. He said, ‘Coach, this is home for me. It’s not like I’m going home and I won’t be here. He is committed to being here and is excited to be a Raider. We’re excited to have him.”

Lynch was on the practice field for some team periods analyzing plays with offensive teammates, and was working out with them after the session. Del Rio didn’t delve into when Lynch’s on-field activity would increase, but there’s no reason to rush a veteran player who ultimately must be ready come September.

“He’s doing great,” Del Rio said. “He’ll continue to do the things we’re asking him to do. He is really soaking up the system, and has done a great job fitting in.”

That’s clear. He gets on well with left tackle Donald Penn and kicker Sebastian Janikowski, and gravitates toward fellow former Seahawks like edge rusher Bruce Irvin and defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. General manager Reggie McKenzie said last week Lynch was already entrenched in the Raiders locker-room culture, which was evident in how teammates talked about him.

“Getting Marshawn has been great,” Penn said. “He brings a lot of energy here and a lot of momentum. It feels good having him here. We joke around a lot, having fun. You all probably don’t know Marshawn, but he’s a pretty funny guy. He’s really cool, and it’s good having him around here.”