Head Coach Jack Del Rio
Last season, Oakland Raiders running back Jalen Richard made a strong impression on the coaching staff during his tryout at rookie mini-camp. From there, Richard continued to perform at a high level through training camp and the preseason, eventually making the 53-man roster. Head Coach Jack Del Rio noted Richard's rise through the ranks during his media session Friday afternoon.
Del Rio's presser came on the heels of the first rookie mini-camp practice, which took place at the team's facility in Alameda, Calif., Friday afternoon. He stated every player that participates has the opportunity to take the next step.
Here are the quick hits from his media session:
Del Rio emphasized the team's willingness to let the rookies compete.
"As we all know from last year having Jalen [Richard] make it from the tryout into camp then from camp into a big role on opening day down in New Orleans, anything is possible with these young men. That's what we talk about. Once they get here, it doesn't really matter how they got here, we're going to let these guys compete."
He commented on safety Obi Melifonwu's athleticism and physique.
"He's very gifted. He has a good head on his shoulders. He comes in, and he's just trying to soak up our system right now. Athletically, he's very blessed. He has highway speed that you look for. Athleticism, changing direction and then he'll come up and hit you. We like the tape. We think he's a good football player and we're happy to start working with him."
Del Rio discussed cornerback Gareon Conley's versatility, and ability to play inside and outside.
"Yeah, we're going to learn all that we can about him. Gareon is, we think, a talent. I think he can play inside and outside. We'll see what the best combination for us is. Just let him come in and compete. Again, much like Obi, I think for these guys first let's really understand how we do things. How do we lineup and stretch. Let's start there. You go from there. They're good, young men. They're excited about the opportunity to be here and get started."
**The Raiders Head Coach spoke about his familiarity with offensive tackle David Sharpe.
With the 129th overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft the Oakland Raiders selected offensive tackle David Sharpe.
I'm very familiar with him as a young man. We look forward to working with him. He's a big, talented guy. We think he can play either side. Again, much like we're doing with all of these guys, they're going to get a chance to come in and compete and earn their way. We're looking forward to getting started with him. He's a big man. He has really good feet. We think his best football is in front of him."
He discussed recognizing a player's talent; whether they're a first rounder or an undrafted free agent.
"It takes time. Yeah, it takes time. Certainly when you have a higher opinion to start with, if you're starting out and you're a first round pick and you see something flash the first day, that's what you expected to see. When you have a tryout guy, you didn't expect to see that. But if you do see it, you're like, 'Hmm, that's pretty good. Maybe we should bring him back.'"