The Raiders have turned tryout players into valued contributors over the years.
Marcel Reece was signed in 2008 after a tryout, and he made several Pro Bowls as a Raiders. Quarterback Matt McGloin was a late tryout signing back in 2013, beat out fourth-round pick Tyler Wilson and started six games as a rookie before becoming Derek Carr's backup. Running back Jalen Richard is the latest odds defier, after turning a 2016 tryout into a major role as a rookie. Defensive lineman Branden Jackson was also signed after last year's tryout, and eventually ended up on the 53-man roster.
The Raiders gave three players a chance to join that group. They signed defensive end Chris Casher (Florida State, Faulkner) and linebackers LaTroy Lewis (Tennessee) and Najee Harris (Warner College) to the 90-man roster after strong tryouts during last weekend's Raiders rookie minicamp.
The new Raiders play positions of need, and will compete for a spot on the 53-man roster. While that's undoubtedly a longshot, the Raiders' history with undrafted talent should provide hope. A total of seven undrafted players contributed in a small way at least to last season's 12-4 record.
"Anything is possible with these young men," Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. "That’s what we talk about. Once they get here, it doesn’t really matter how they got here, we’re going to let these guys compete. We’re looking for men that are locked in to doing the right things and guys that can help us win. Regardless of how you got here, you have a shot."
Those additions brought a swift, harsh ending for previously signed undrfted free agents. Safety Ahmad Thomas (Oklahoma), offensive tackle Jordan Wade (Oklahoma) and DE Dwayne Norman (Duke) were waived Monday in corresponding moves.