NFL Draft? Check, so next thing on the agenda for the Oakland Raiders is Rookie Minicamp.
The three-day minicamp starts Friday, but before the newest Raiders touch down at 1220 Harbor Bay Parkway, now seems a like a perfect time to answer your questions about the 2018 draft class.
Per usual, thanks for all your questions, even the ones that didn't make the mailbag; I read all of them.
Alright, let's get down to business.
EP:Boy, you guys sure have a lot of questions about a dude who isn't even on the roster right now…
I'm just messing around, though, I understand why all the inquiries are coming in; in 2017 there were two Raiders defenses, the one with *Bowman, and the one *without.
Anyways, Bowman's status – or lack thereof – on the roster has been a major talking point all offseason, and give General Manager Reggie McKenzie credit, he's answered the questions each time they've been posed to him.
No surprise here, but McKenzie was asked about the veteran linebacker, again, over the weekend, and his messaging remained consistent, as he said there's always a possibility that Bowman ends up back in
Silver and Black.
I wish I had a better answer you, Jeff, but that's the best we have right now.
EP:Ahh yes, the classic "health of Gareon Conley" question. Well, according to Coach Gruden, both Conley and safety Obi Melifonwu are really close to getting back on the field, in fact, both were able to participate in walk-thru before Veteran Minicamp last week.
I think so," Coach Gruden said when asked about Conley and Melifonwu. "They participated in the morning session, the walk-through. They did some of the individual work this afternoon. They're real close, but for obvious reasons, we're being careful with them this early in the process."
You asked about Conley's availability for Week 1, and while I don't have a crystal ball – which would be pretty cool – it sure looks like the former Ohio State Buckeye will be ready to rock for training camp and beyond.
That's good news for the Silver and Black too, as a healthy Gareon Conley will help the Raiders secondary immensely in 2018.
EP:Okay, first things first; as of this writing, the Silver and Black have 11 wide receivers on the roster, and there's no way that number is going to stand pat through training camp.
Yes, there's an abundance of talented players in Coach Edgar Bennett's room, but if you just look at the numbers, there's no way that 11 of these guys are going to be on the roster long-term.
I'm not telling you anything you already didn't know.
Anyway, I digress; let's get back to your question about the Raiders offense in 2018.
Here's the thing that I think is really exciting about the Raiders this year; after ten years in the broadcast booth, scheming, and studying the game, I don't think any of us truly know what Gruden's offense will look like in his first year back on the sideline.
If I were to guess, and like I said, this is a guess, I would posit that the Raiders offense would be very balanced in its attack.
We know that Gruden likes to dominate the trenches, and control the line of scrimmage, and the Silver and Black are certainly built to do that with their monster offensive line as well as Marshawn Lynch.
With Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson doing their thing out wide, the Raiders will also be able to stretch the field if they so choose.
I know it's a bit of a cliché, but balance is typically the name of the game; that said, I'm just like you, and can't wait to see what wrinkles Gruden unveils this year.
EP:A bit of a look down the road, but I'll allow it.
I tell our very own @KyleMartinMedia all the time that Week 1 of the NFL season is always funky. Year after year we figure out that the first week of the regular season is rarely if ever indicative of what a team will do for the rest of the year – just for fun, go back to last year and check the Week 1 results.
That being said, if the Raiders can open the Gruden era with a big "W" at home in primetime, against a really good Rams team, outstanding.
But, if for whatever reason, the Silver and Black stumble in Week 1, don't worry, it's a long season, and while I know each game is vitally important, no team is very defined by just one game.