We’re a little over a week into the Oakland Raiders’ Training Camp, and a lot has already been revealed at this stage. The rookies haven’t played in a game yet, but the effort they’ve put forth in pads indicates they’re going to have a lot to contribute come gameday. Aside from the development of the younger players, one of the main storylines entering camp was how the secondary would look in Defensive Coordinator Paul Guenther’s scheme.
It’s no secret that 2017 was a rough year for the unit, but with Guenther and defensive backs coach Derrick Ansley now in the mix, there’s reason to believe the group can improve in 2018. Not only have the Raiders added all new personnel across the board, but they’ve added a lot of new faces to the cornerbacks room in particular, one of them being former third-round pick Daryl Worley.
Worley was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in 2016 and played for them the last two seasons. During his time in Charlotte, he started in 25 games, totaled three interceptions, 19 passes defensed, two sacks, and 150 tackles.
After having some off-the-field issues, Worley was waived by the Panthers, but he’s getting a second chance with the Silver and Black.
“It was amazing for me, just to be able to get another opportunity because many people don’t get a second chance,” Worley said Thursday. “I was blessed to be able to get another chance and make the best of it.”
Focused on making the most of his new opportunity, Worley is excited to grow in Guenther’s system, and reconnect with an old college teammate.
“Karl [Joseph] is my guy,” he said. “We had three years together at West Virginia and ended up coming into the NFL at the same time. He got me acclimated to everything even though he had a few weeks in front of me with the coaches, he let me know what they expect. Being able to come in and make the transition with him was very helpful.”
Comfort can make all the difference, and playing side by side with a friend and former teammate won’t hurt by any means. Not only that, but Worley has found himself in a system that he believes works for him, and a defensive backs coach that wants to help him succeed.
“He’s been really good,” Coach Ansley said in regards to No. 36. “Like I said, he’s a professional, very good in the classroom, quick study, takes notes, rarely makes the same mistake twice, big picture guy, can see things develop in front of him, good reactor, he’s a big strong man, so those things really help him play at a high level.”
The regular season might be just around the corner, but there’s plenty of time for the players to continue settling in. After a pair of productive season in Carolina, Worley is anxious to build his résumé, and the 23 year old has an opportunity to ascend considering former first-round pick Gareon Conley is still recovering from his injury.
“It’s definitely time to take us [Worley and Joseph] to the next level,” he said intently. “With both of us being in our third year, it’s time for both of us to elevate our game. Same exact way we did in college. We always push each other, whether it’s on the field or off the field. We have little talks and whether it’s said or not said, we’re always competing to make plays.”
We’ll see how the dynamic duo perform during the preseason, but take notice that Daryl Worley’s stock is rising.