Raiders' defensive draft needs

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Raiders' defensive draft needs

No doubt the Raiders' defense was their Achilles' heel last season. Enter Oakland's first defensive-minded coach since John Madden in Dennis Allen and, oh yeah, a general manager who played linebacker in the NFL in Reggie McKenzie.That said, the Raiders figure to address needs on the defensive side of the ball in the draft...DEFENSIVE LINE
Who's here: DE Lamarr Houston, DT Tommy Kelly, DT Richard Seymour, DE Matt Shaughnessy, DE Mason Brodine, DT Desmond Bryant, DT Jamie Cumbie, DE Hall Davis, NT Travis Ivey, DE Dave Tollefson.REWIND: Signing with Raiders a homecoming for Dave Tollefson
Draft needs: Simply by pure numbers, it would seem the Raiders have it covered on the D-line. But not so fast. Especially not with Allen promising multiple fronts, which would necessitate at least contemplating taking a defensive tackle such as Alabama nose tackle Josh Chapman if he's still on the board at No. 95. The Raiders have also reportedly worked out Nevada defensive end Kaelin Burnett and South Florida defensive end Claude Davis.
Josh Chapman
LINEBACKERSWho's here: SLB Philip Wheeler, MLB Rolando McClain, WLB Aaron Curry, WLB Travis Goethel, OLB Carl Ihenacho.Draft needs: Extremely thin at linebacker, the Raiders might focus here early and often in the draft. Thing is, there might not be a difference-maker to be had. Oakland has reportedly worked out Houston's Sammy Brown and Washington State's Alex-Hoffman-Ellis but the most intriguing draft prospect out there is also the guy slipping off so many draft boards because of so many purported character issues -- Arizona State's Vontaze Burfict. It will be interesting to see how the Raiders react if Burfict is still on the board when they pick.
Vontaze BurfictDEFENSIVE BACKSWho's here: CB Ron Bartell, CB Shawntae Spencer, FS Michael Huff, SS Tyvon Branch, CB DeMarcus Van Dyke, CB Chimdi Chekwa, SS Mike Mitchell, DB Terrail Lambert, DB Pat Lee, DB Bryan McCann, DB Curtis Taylor, DB Brandon Underwood.Draft needs: A change in philosophy -- no longer simply a man-to-man coverage team -- will allow the Raiders to branch out when it comes to scouting potential DBs. The Raiders have shown interest in Iowa safety Jordan Bernstine and Albion cornerback Chris Greenwood, so they are interested in adding depth. Greenwood, though, is perhaps the most intriguing prospect, given that the Division-III All-American is tall (6-foot-1), fast (4.34 in the 40) and has already drawn comparisons to Antonio Cromartie.

Jordan BernstineSPECIALISTSWho's here: PK Sebastian Janikowski, P Shane Lechler, LS Jon Condo.
Draft needs: The three just represented the Raiders at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii and are the best at their respective positions in the AFC, if not the entire NFL. Hard to imagine the Raiders using a draft pick here. They'll sign someone for camp to spell their kickers in Napa, but that's about it.Projected starters in italics

Report: Former Raiders RB arrested for domestic violence

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AP

Report: Former Raiders RB arrested for domestic violence

Trent Richardson is reportedly in some trouble.

Richardson was arrested on Thursday night for domestic violence, according to TMZ Sports.

The former running back was taken into custody on a third degree charge, the report states, with bail being set for $1,000.

The arrest was made in Hoover, Alabama.

The Browns selected Richardson with the third overall pick in the 2012 draft.

He was traded to the Colts in 2013 and played for Indianapolis in 2014.

He signed with the Raiders in 2015 and appeared in three exhibition games, but did not make the team.

The 26-year old was cut by the Ravens last August.

Downing: Carr will have increased influence on Raiders game plan

Downing: Carr will have increased influence on Raiders game plan

Derek Carr and Todd Downing are tight. A strong friendship was forged between the Raiders’ franchise quarterback and his position coach these past two seasons, one that should help the Raiders now that Downing will call plays.

The Raiders new offensive coordinator will use his young signal caller as a resource formulating a game plan. Carr has a bright offensive mind – he called his own plays in high school and in college at times – and Downing plans to use it to put his quarterback in positions to succeed.

Carr’s influence in preparation will expand over previous seasons under coordinator Bill Musgrave.

“Where I see him needing a little bit more command is just being able to share his thoughts of game plans,” Downing said Wednesday in a conference call. “Being a student of the game, as he already is, but vocalize what he likes and doesn’t like. I think my relationship with him is something that’s going to give him the opportunity to voice his opinions. I look forward to him really taking charge of expressing his thoughts on the offense.”

Carr has always had freedom to adjust at the line of scrimmage, but that could increase with Downing in charge. Derek Carr’s brother Davis Carr told 95.7 The Game as much a few weeks ago, a topic Downing addressed on Wednesday.

“There’s been a lot made about his command at the line of scrimmage,” Downing said. “There’s certainly going to be opportunities for Derek to do that. That’s not something I feel we’ll even have to get into until we’re much further into this offseason and into training camp.”

Downing had opportunities to interview with other teams this offseason, but head coach Jack Del Rio wanted to pair Downing and Carr together. The young duo have similar personalities and a strong working relationship based on a love of the game.

“My relationship with Derek starts there,” Downing said in Wednesday interview on 95.7-FM. “We both love coming to work each day and respect the heck out of each other. When you have that kind of relationship with any coach, you’re taking a step in the right direction. Derek’s the leader of our franchise. In my opinion, he’s the best young quarterback in football. We’re fortunate to have him. Why wouldn’t I be in a good mood every time I am around him?”

Carr made great progress working with Downing the past two years, and was an MVP candidate in 2016. Downing sees continued room for growth and refinement as next season approaches.

“I think Derek made big strides in 2016, just in terms of his command of the offense, being the field general, being able to get through progressions more efficiently,” Downing said. “His footwork took big strides. I certainly want him to remain focused on all of those attributes. You don’t want to feel like you’ve arrived in a certain area of your game and then have it go backwards when the next season starts. Certainly, I want him focused on all of those.”