Each week during Training Camp, Raiders.com will be checking in with one of the 2021 draft picks to see how their transition to the NFL is going so far.
First up is defensive end and third-round pick Malcolm Koonce with a peek into his experiences from the first week of camp:
That first day of Training Camp, walking into the facility kind of just felt like the same thing as OTAs. It felt like a familiar place but not all that familiar.
But slowly, I'm starting to build up a routine so it's starting to feel like home.
It's kind of weird being an official NFL player. I think that's the main thing that's stood out so far for me.
It's little moments in passing that bring that feeling around, like some guy at the hotel we're at asked me for an autograph. Coming from college, you're used to just doing a regular type of practice and going back and just chilling. Now, you've got fans getting incorporated so it's a little different but it's great.
I'm focused on taking it one day at a time right now. There's still a whole bunch of new stuff that I'm learning, so I'm just trying not to play too slow because I'm sitting there thinking too much or stuff like that. My mentality is just taking it one day at a time, doing it at my own speed.
I'm only a rookie. I can't think that I'm a Pro Bowler just yet. I've just got to take it one day at a time, one step at a time and I should be able to get through.
The veterans are a big help. I've connected with Yannick Ngakoue a lot. I've been asking him a whole bunch of questions on how he moves and stuff because our build is kind of similar.
Same thing with Maxx Crosby too, him being another dude from the MAC [Mid-American Conference]. I've just been asking him questions like 'How different is it going from the MAC to playing on this level?'
Really, the whole D-line room – if anything comes up, I can ask them a question and they've always got answers. It helps to be around guys who have been in your shoes before and can share some advice.
As for coming out to Las Vegas, I knew it was going to be hot, but I didn't know it was going to be this hot. I was prepared for hot, but not this hot.
I've been pouring lots of cold water on my head and down my back to get through, so I think I'm faring pretty well, but it's still hot.
Tuesday is our first day in pads and it's something I'm looking forward to. Especially playing D-line, a lot of the walkthrough stuff, you don't know how hard you should go. You can't grab certain things. So, I can't wait to put on pads and actually start playing real football.
The Raiders return to Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center for the start of Week 2 of 2021 Training Camp.