Q: What are your expectations for rookie mini-camp and how do you approach it? Do you throw everything at them and hope they absorb as much as possible?
Coach Del Rio:"Not everything at them. It's good to get the players in that we selected in the draft along with those that we signed as undrafted free agents. There are a number of tryout guys here this weekend as well. For us, it's an introduction into what Raider football looks like – how we meet, how we practice, how we condition and all of those things to being the process for those guys. We want to bring them up to speed with the veterans that have been here. I think the biggest thing is to help them understand what it looks like to compete at this level."
Q: How do you think Amari Cooper did?
Coach Del Rio:"Are we going to do a daily update on our number one pick? I thought he was fine. He's going to be a good player. He's just coming in and getting started like all of the rest of them. He's a young man transitioning into the league. There's a lot of work to do. Good to have him here and participating."
Q: What do you try to gleam from this as a staff? What are you looking for from them?
Coach Del Rio:"We want to teach. We want to begin to implement our system. We want to help them begin to understand the mentality that we want to have here with the Raiders. We want to teach them what it looks like to be good teammates, how to respect each other while we're here working, those types of things. Guys that are here have been with us now for a number of weeks and they have that foundation. We're trying to catch the guys that are new now, catch them up to the veteran players."
Q: Dante Fowler, Jr. went down with an injury today. You have these rookies coming in and they're trying to prove something. How do you guard against severe injuries?
Coach Del Rio:"You do the best you can. Hopefully he'll be OK down there. You try to educate the guys and help them understand what it should look like and what it can't look like. They'll be examples for me to show at tomorrow's meeting before we come back out again. I can say, 'Hey guys, we cannot do this.' You have to work with each other and work smart. We try to educate them. We do our best to talk about it before we come out here, but quite often in a rookie camp, you have to really educate guys on what it can't be and what you are looking for. We'll work hard at that."
Q: How much classroom time were these guys able to have before you came out onto the field?
Coach Del Rio:"You get a little bit. They got here yesterday and went through physicals and administrative meeting last night to go over a little bit of education on some of the do's and don'ts and then we got into football. We're out there practicing today, so, less than 24 hours. You're limited in terms of how much you can have them and what you can do. We're just trying to do our best to work within that timeframe."
Q: What did you guys like about undrafted WR Josh Harper?
Coach Del Rio: "I believe he's a local guy, right? One of Derek [Carr]'s buddies. Derek was happy about that. (*laughing) *We did not discuss that with him [Carr] prior to getting him here, but I know he was happy to have him join us. But no, he's a guy that has some return ability, that understands a little bit how to create separation and get open – good hands. We're glad to have him in the camp and get started with him."
Q: What do you take from your experience as a rookie in the league to coaching these young guys just starting out?
Coach Del Rio: "There's nothing like the feel of a locker room or the first meeting with a rookie class. You're talking with a bunch of guys, it's their first time in an NFL meeting, as part of an NFL organization, and the nervousness that they're feeling, the anxiety level, is really high. So I can appreciate that. I felt that once as a player. It was quite a while ago, but I can remember. So I am aware of that and as a coach, some of the things that you've learned, that I've learned or that we've learned in terms of what we want to do or not to with these guys. So that's all part of it. It's an exciting time. A lot of these young men are getting an opportunity. Everybody that's here accomplished something to earn his way here, so it's really quite an honor to be here. Whether you end up sticking or not, it's quite an honor to be here. These are young men that have played at a high level to make it to this point in life, where they have an opportunity to be in the Oakland Raiders' locker room. So that's quite an honor for them to do that, and from there, I told the guys last night that I don't really care how you got here. Everybody here is going to be evaluated and we will keep the players that we think can help us win games this fall."
Q: Is there anything you look at from your experience as a player in actually evaluating the players?
Coach Del Rio: "I think it's all part of who I am. You draw on your past experiences and certainly, that was part of it."
Q: With a guy like Amari, who has high expectations, how do you keep him from being overwhelmed by the process?
Coach Del Rio: "I think some of the guys like him, some of the others that played at some of the top programs, have been exposed to talking with you all [the media] and part of that aspect of the job that if you're taken in the first round is going to be part of your job. I think he's prepared for that. I think he'll handle himself just fine. If a kid comes from a smaller school, you may have more work to do to bring him up to speed, but typically, kids that come from some of the bigger programs like he comes from, that's not a real concern."
Q: What sold you guys on the idea that Mario Edwards Jr. would come in and be a pro? I think you used the term "senioritis" on NFL Network regarding his play last year and he has had some weight issues, but you think he's going to come in here and not have any of those issues.
Coach Del Rio: "We just think he's a good young man. They're all prospects. We think he's a good prospect. We're excited to work with him. To continue to bring up whatever negative things you can dig up from the past is not what we're about. We're about going forward from here. From today going forward, what can we do? What can we develop? What can we bring out? How can we help mold him and shape him and develop him into the kind of player we're looking for? So we feel very confident about that and again, looking forward to getting started."