Rookie CBs DeMarcus Van Dyke and Sterling Moore listen up during practice. Photo by Tony Gonzales.
The Raiders held their eighth practice of training camp on a warm Friday afternoon in Napa, Calif. They practiced today in front of Raider Legends, which included Jim Plunkett, Art Thoms, Jerry Robinson, Morris Bradshaw, Gary Weaver, Mike Dotterer, Clem Daniels, and Robert Jenkins. The team wore full pads and upped the intensity from the last two days. Players were feisty and competed to prove that they deserve to wear the Silver and Black. While rookie WR Denarius Moore continued to impress, the rookie defensive players rose to the challenge and showed that they are adjusting to football at the highest level.
"They are doing good. I mean DVD [DeMarcus Van Dyke] is making plays," said Head Coach Hue Jackson. "I can't wait to get Chekwa back out there. I like a lot of our young talent and even some of the young free agent guys like Sterling Moore. These guys are out there competing each and every day. The young linebackers we have, I mean the guys take a lot of reps, but I am just happy with our young players from over the last two years. The draft classes that we have had; this organization has put a lot of really good young talent on this team. It is a tribute to what we do with our process of drafting players."
The young defensive players are ready for the challenge of transitioning to professional football. "I think the mental aspect is a lot different," said LB Bani Gbadyu. "The veterans are mentally faster than us and that is the biggest difference that I see between the NFL and college. All you can do is constantly study and prepare for what is in front of you. I mean look and see how they do things, the good things that they do and replicate it."
CB DeMarcus Van Dyke, the Raiders third round pick (81st overall) out of the University of Miami, noticed the difference in speed. "In the offseason I worked with Andre Johnson, Leonard Hankerson, and Roscoe Parrish, good receivers in the NFL," said Van Dyke. "So I came in and caught on good with the speed of the game. Mentally you have to come in with a positive thought because a positive thought creates a positive outcome. So I came in with a positive thought and picked the brains of the coaches and players, Rod Woodson, Michael Huff and Tyvon Branch."
Rookie CB Chimdi Chekwa believed his time playing college football prepared him for the NFL. "Ohio State really prepared me for the NFL and in talking to the guys who left Ohio State and came to the league, I was told that it wouldn't be too much of a cross over, just understand what you are supposed to do."
The biggest difference for Chekwa is the level of professionalism required to succeed in the NFL. "You really have to come up here and compete. I think that is the biggest difference that I've seen," said Chekwa. "You don't have anyone looking over your shoulder. You have to be a professional and watch film on your own; they don't make you do it."
DE Mason Brodine, out of Nebraska-Kearney, is working hard every day to prove himself. "You just have to know that you are at the same level as everybody else and come out and be ready to play," said Brodine. "I just work hard every day. I go 110 percent and that is all that I can ask for. I'm getting used to the tempo because the speed of things is a lot different than college."
The rookies will continue to compete with the veterans during tomorrow's afternoon practice. Log on to Raiders.com, Facebook, and Twitter for complete coverage.