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Erik Harris sees promise in undrafted rookie Javin White: 'He has a lot of potential'

Down the halls of the Las Vegas Raiders' new facility, Javin White's name has reverberated from meeting rooms and during the team's daily media availability.

The Oakland native and former UNLV Rebel has caught the attention of the coaching staff and his teammates as of late due to exceptional play on the field and his boisterous attitude, exhibiting a unique level of leadership as an undrafted rookie.

To combat the limitations of COVID-19, a handful of Raiders held player-organized workouts this offseason to gain familiarity with one another and it was then when veteran safety Erik Harris noticed the unfamiliar voice of White.

"So, I didn't know [White] before I got out here and then I got in the weight room and the dude was loud and energetic — but it was a good loud," Harris said. "He was encouraging people, he was working out hard and he was coming to the little get-togethers — the workouts or whatever you want to say."

Harris saw that White was trying to assert himself and it resonated with him. In the few months they've been working together, the duo has built a close bond, with White often referring to Harris as "big bro." 

As a former undrafted free agent himself, Harris understands what it takes to establish a role on a team and he recognizes that White has the tangibles to be successful, which prompted him to take the 23-year-old under his wing.

"He's willing to learn, he's a hard worker," Harris added. "He has a lot of energy, so I'm excited for him. I think he has a lot of potential and obviously it's all about limiting the mental errors and just showing up on film."

When Harris joined the team in 2017, veteran safety Reggie Nelson was the OG in the defensive room, but Harris has grown into that role in the last couple of years. He isn't the flashiest player on the field, but the 30-year-old defensive back has earned praise because of his attention to detail, which he's trying to impart on White.

"Work and try to be as versatile as you can and pay attention to all the small details," Harris said. "I feel like that's one thing that separated me throughout my years — even though it was a long journey — I feel like, I'm standing where I am because I paid attention all those years. If the coach tells you to put your foot on the white line versus behind the white line that's the difference. Its small things like that, that can go a long way."

White and the rest of the undrafted free agents are facing an uphill battle, working relentlessly to earn meaningful snaps, despite being unable to suit up for preseason games. The silver lining, however, is that practice squads are increased from 10 players to 16 players this season, but even with an improved chance of being signed, White knows his spot isn't guaranteed.

"I think the biggest advice [Harris] gave me is nobody's job is secure," White said. "A lot of people think their job is secure, but this is the NFL. You may have one good game and think you're on top of the world, but the next day the [coaching staff] may be bringing you up in a negative perspective. So, it's all about going out there like it's your last day because you never know when it'll be your last day."

Harris always professionally goes about his business and it's clear White wants to do the same. The former California (Pennsylvania) product has paved the way for guys like White to be successful in the league.

Head out to Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center and view photos from another day of Raiders practice at 2020 Training Camp.

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