Training Camp Notebook: Another Good Day At Work For The Raiders' Defense

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Cornerback Sean Smith, Safety Reggie Nelson, and Cornerback David Amerson

Friday night Oakland Raiders Owner Mark Davis announced that the organization had signed General Manager Reggie McKenzie to a four-year contract extension that would run through the end of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Saturday afternoon, McKenzie spoke to a select group of media members, sharing how the deal came together and his excitement to be tied to the Raiders for an additional four years.

The effect of McKenzie's contract extension has been felt throughout the organization, from McKenzie and his staff to the coaching staff and even the players.

One player who was particularly thrilled to hear about the general manager's extension was tackle Menelik Watson – one of McKenzie's earliest draft selections back in 2013.

"Reggie is one of the greatest people I've ever met," Watson said. "Like I've said before, he took a big chance on me, being a guy who had just been two years into football. My whole thing is repaying him, and just being thankful for what he did for me in terms of changing my life. I'm so happy for Reggie that he has his new contract, his new extension."

Since he was hired as general manager in Jan. 2012, McKenzie has consistently put together quality draft classes and built up the Silver and Black's roster from the ground up. He has routinely shown a keen eye for talent as well, hitting on multiple players throughout the entirety of the draft and building up a young core for the Raiders in the process.

"We have some great building pieces at every position," Watson said. "We have some great young guys like [wide receiver] Amari [Cooper], [defensive end] Khalil [Mack], me, [guard] Gabe [Jackson], all those young guys. We have great building blocks for the future."

As impressive as the talent is that McKenzie has acquired over the past several years, where Watson really believes the general manager's deal will pay dividends for the organization is off the field.

"It's huge, the consistency," Watson said. "I think it just spells consistency and sturdiness within the Raiders, and I think that's what we've been looking for, for a long time. I'm so happy for Reggie. I'm his biggest fan and I always will be."

Notables:

  • Rookie safety Karl Joseph secured his first interception in Silver and Black – albeit it in practice – Saturday afternoon, as he leapt up and brought down an errant pass that was thrown as a result of a miscommunication between the quarterback and wide receiver. After hauling in the football, he was immediately greeted and congratulated by defensive end Khalil Mack.
  • Cornerback DJ Hayden also enjoyed a second consecutive positive day on the football field, bringing down an impressive interception during the team's seven-on-seven drills.
  • Undrafted rookie free agent running back Jalen Richard showed a little spark in Friday's session, taking a handoff from quarterback Matt McGloin and proceeding to bounce outside and turn upfield for a sizable gain.
  • Hall of Famer Willie Brown was also on the field Saturday afternoon. He spent part of the practice coaching up the defensive backs, particularly Sean Smith, Neiko Thorpe, and TJ Carrie as they were going through their one-on-one drills against the team's receivers.
  • Brown wasn't the only Hall of Famer in attendance Saturday, as baseball Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson, who is also a Raiders season ticket holder, also took in practice. Following the day's work, he spoke with General Manager Reggie McKenzie, Head Coach Jack Del Rio, as well as quarterback Derek Carr.

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