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What To Watch For At Rookie Minicamp


Defensive End Shilique Calhoun, Running BackDeAndré Washington and Quarterback Connor Cook

The Oakland Raiders' rookies are finally about to hit the field.

After arriving at the team's Alameda, Calif., facility Monday, the rookie class – along with the players signed as undrafted free agents – will hit the field together Friday, kicking off their three-day Rookie Minicamp.

Headlined by former West Virginia defensive back Karl Joseph, here are the storylines to keep an eye on this weekend as the rookies hit the field for the first time.

Who Will Be On The Field?

Fans hoping to get a glimpse of Karl Joseph on the field will have to wait – the Raiders' first round draft pick is recovering from a knee injury and is hoping to be a full go by the time the Silver and Black report to Training Camp 2016 in July.

However, Joseph aside, will the Raiders see full participation from the rest of their rookie class at their first minicamp? It will definitely be something to keep an eye on as the weekend progresses.

Where Will Ward And Calhoun Line Up?

On the second day of the Draft, the Raiders selected a pair of players lauded for their versatility throughout their college careers.

Both Jihad Ward and Shilique Calhoun have played multiple positions on the defensive side of the football, and as it stands now, it's unclear where they'll be lining up on Sundays, which isn't too surprising – Head Coach Jack Del Rio repeatedly says he wants his players to be multiple.

Currently Ward is listed as a defensive lineman and Calhoun is listed as a linebacker, and while it's admittedly too early to put too much stock in where they'll be lining up, it will interesting to note nonetheless.

Cook Goes Under Center

The Raiders made arguably their most intriguing pick of the 2016 NFL Draft in the fourth round, selecting Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook No. 100 overall.

Cook, was widely regarded as a Day One talent, and after seeing him still on the board in the fourth round, General Manager Reggie McKenzie saw an opportunity to bolster the team's depth, and traded up to grab the former Michigan State Spartan.

"It's a situation that you look at the board, and it was a player that we still had up there," said McKenzie. "It was a great opportunity for us to explore trying to get up there. We found a partner and we made the deal. He's a good player. We just felt like he was too good of a player not to try."

Derek Carr is the starting quarterback for the Raiders, in 2016 and hopefully for years to come, but Cook does undoubtedly possess talent throwing the football, and he'll be a captivating figure as the team hits the field.

A First Look At DeAndré Washington

Heading into 2016 it was no secret that the Silver and Black had to address the issues with their running game

Yes, Latavius Murray ran for over 1,000 yards in 2015, but behind him, the second-leading rusher on the team was Derek Carr, and that simply can't be the case going forward.

Enter DeAndré Washington.

While it's easy to look at his measurables – 5'8" and 204 pounds – and assume the former Texas Tech Red Raider will be just a third-down weapon, Reggie McKenzie believes that Washington is more than capable of being an every-down back in the NFL, and will turn some heads once he puts the pads on.

Will he do just that? Only time will tell.

The Sleepers

It seems like each season, an undrafted player or two flies under the radar and ends up making the final roster come Fall.

With an impressive group of undrafted free agents now under contract, be sure not to forget about this group of players – you just might see a few of them contributing on Sundays.

Just like the 2016 Draft Class, they'll get their first chance to make an impression on the coaches beginning this weekend.

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