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Five Raiders Who Have Impressed Through The First Five Weeks Of 2015

As Head Coach Jack Del Rio said earlier this week, the bye week provides a great time for self-scouting and self-analysis from the coaching staff down to the players.

The natural break also gives us a chance to look back and take stock of what has occurred through the first five weeks of the 2015 campaign, and see which players have really impressed in the early stages for the Silver and Black.

Cornerback David Amerson

Since arriving in Oakland via wavers from the Washington Redskins in late September, Amerson has been nothing short of impressive for a Raiders secondary ravaged by injuries.

In just three weeks, Amerson has been inserted into the starting lineup for the Silver and Black, and has provided quality coverage on the opposing team's wide receivers.

"He's been a great addition," said cornerback DJ Hayden. "They brought him in right away so he could play. It's really just me Neiko [Thorpe] and Dave right now, so he's been a good addition. We were going to need some more corners because of Nate [Allen] going down and moving TJ [Carrie] to safety."

It'll be interesting to see what happens to Amerson's playing time when Nate Allen returns from injury and TJ Carrie presumably returns to playing cornerback.

Linebacker Neiron Ball

The rookie linebacker played primarily just on special teams through the first quarter of the season, but earned his first extended run on defense Sunday against the Broncos and performed well in his expanded role.

When all was said and done, Ball played 36 snaps, primarily in passing situations, and effectively shut down Broncos tight end Owen Daniels.

"I'm just here to do whatever they [the coaching staff] say," said Ball.  "I'm a team player and whatever they ask me to do, that's what I'm going to do. I definitely take pride in whatever my role is, but I feel like that just wasn't on me, shutting down the tight end. I feel like that wasn't my credit. I feel like it was a team effort."

Heading into the bye, Ball has 7 total tackles and 1 sack.

Wide Receiver Amari Cooper

The rookie from Alabama has been as advertised, if not better, through the first five games of the season.

He has flashed the precise route-running ability that he was heralded for in college and has also shown an ability to make defenders miss after the catch.

Through five games, Cooper leads the team with 386 receiving yards and an even more impressive 196 yards after catch. He has already developed a solid on-field rapport with quarterback Derek Carr, and the pair seem poised to continue their upward trajectory as the season wears on.

Wide Receiver Seth Roberts

After spending the 2014 season on the Raiders practice squad, Roberts entered Training Camp 2015 as a longshot to make the active roster, but that's precisely what he did.

And not only did he make the roster, Roberts has been very impressive in the early stages of 2015; he is tied for the team lead in receiving touchdowns with 2, and was mere inches away from a third, and has provided a solid third option for Carr behind Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree.

Both Carr and Head Coach Del Rio have lauded Roberts' work ethic and improvement since he first arrived in Oakland, so be sure to keep an eye on the former West Alabama Tiger when the Silver and Black return from the bye week.

Linebacker Malcolm Smith

When Smith was signed in free agency this offseason, it was thought that the former Super Bowl MVP would just add depth to an already stout linebacker group.

However, with Khalil Mack's move to the defensive line and the departure of Sio Moore, along with Smith's impressive training camp and preseason, the USC-product has found himself with a starting role on the Raiders defense.

And he has performed admirably in his starting role, playing every defensive snap in Sunday's loss to the Broncos, tallying 3 total tackles in the effort.

Through five games, he has 2 total sacks, 3 tackles for loss and 2 passes defensed, and has provided consistency in the Raiders linebackers corps.

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