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Antonio Pierce excited to get things going for rookie minicamp

When the Las Vegas Raiders were on the clock with the No. 13 pick two weeks ago, they made an easy decision.

Antonio Pierce addressed the local media for the first time since the NFL Draft in which the Silver and Black selected eight players. Pierce had previously stated this offseason that the team would look to amplify the quarterback position through the draft. However, according to him and General Manager Tom Telesco, they decided to look elsewhere once the top six quarterback prospects were taken before their selection.

They were stunned to see two-time John Mackey Award winner Brock Bowers still on the board. An offensive weapon of his caliber was just too rare to pass up in that spot.

"We didn't think he would be there at 13," Pierce said Friday morning. "I was just shocked to see it and it was like, 'OK, you started counting. Wow, no brainer there.' ... He's all about ball and he's a winner. He's tough. He wants to get better."

Pierce was pleased with how his first draft as an NFL head coach went, crediting Telesco and his scouting department for easing the process. He described a sense of cohesion among the staff with the ability to bounce things off of each other and identify players that will fit the vision for the team.

And as always, Pierce made it clear what identity he's chasing and how his latest draft picks could contribute to that.

"We've got some gritty, grimy, nasty, back-alley guys," he said. "More importantly, we got size. I think you look at the two O-linemen, both gritty, tough, physical, length, power. You look at what we did on the backend, speed with the secondary and got a MIKE linebacker in Tommy [Eichenberg], who when you come from Ohio State and you talk to the players there, he was kind of the bell cow for them. Then we got this little running back from New Hampshire man, and he's unique.

"It's a very good group of guys. I think the coolest part about the whole draft was getting on the phone with them and hearing their excitement, wanting to be Raiders. So, I think it was a good match."

As the new Raiders approach their first practice of rookie minicamp, every player comes in on level playing field with hopes and aspirations of playing in one on Sundays.

"We've got 32 Raiders here," Pierce said. "I don't care if he's the 13th pick or the guy that's trying out. They've got a Raider uniform on, we're going to treat them accordingly. They earned the right to stay here, they earned the right to get more reps. I'm just excited to get them here, man. It's just good to get a full roster. ... We can kind of like put this thing together, right, start to build this team and what we want it to look for, for the 2024 season."

Head inside Raiders Headquarters as the 2024 rookie class arrives for minicamp.

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