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Jon Gruden’s first NFL draft

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ALAMEDA Johnathan Abram Oakland Raiders Jersey , Calif. (AP)since leaving the broadcast booth has been a busy one.One day after trading back in the first round and making another deal to acquire veteran wide receiver Martavis Bryant, the Oakland Raiders remained one of the NFL’s most active teams in the draft Friday night with a series of trades.Oakland began by trading down in the second round and acquiring defensive lineman P.J. Hall from Sam Houston State with the 57th overall pick, then made another deal to move up in the third round to get offensive tackle Brandon Parker.The Raiders later dealt away two more picks to move up to 87th overall and drafted linebacker Arden Key from LSU.”I thought (general manager Reggie McKenzie) did a great job pulling the trigger, making some trades last night and today to help us basically get five football players,” Gruden said. ”It’s exciting man, it really is.”The flurry of activity at the Raiders headquarters on the second day of the draft was to be expected as Gruden continues to remake the team in his image. In vintage fashion that would have probably made late owner Al Davis proud, Oakland acquired a pair of players from small schools and a third who has a history of off-field issues.”My mom called me and she said maybe Mr. Davis was calling down the picks down from heaven,” Gruden said.The Raiders acquired Hall with an eye on improving the interior of their defensive line. Oakland had 31 sacks in 2017, only 1 from players playing inside full-time.Hall should be an immediate help. The 6-foot-1, 310-pounder had 42 sacks in four seasons at Sam Houston State and was the Southland Conference defensive player of the year in 2016.”I was really surprised,” Hall said. ”I hadn’t heard about me going in the second round at all during this process. It really shocked me once I got the phone call.”An edge rusher who alternated between standing up and lining up with his hand on the ground during his first three college seasons, Hall switched to defensive tackle as a senior where his quickness helped make up for a size disadvantage.The Raiders are thin inside. Eddie Vanderdoes and Justin Ellis were the starters in 2017 but Vanderdoes is coming off a torn ACL in his left knee suffered in Oakland’s final regular-season game. Jihad Ward, the 44th overall pick in 2016, has one career sack in 21 games.”We love (Hall’s) measurables. The only thing he’s not is tall,” Gruden said. ”But this man is extremely powerful. We need an inside pass rusher. I’ve said that since I’ve been here, somebody that can disrupt running plays and penetrate, and this guy can do that.”Hall was taken on the second day of the draft despite not getting invited to the NFL combine in February. The snub, he said, was extra motivation.”I was a little down about it for like a day or two, but after that I felt like it helped me,” Hall said. ”I got more time to prepare for my pro day and I had an excellent pro day. I crushed it. I feel that’s kind of what raised my stock.”To get Hall, Oakland shipped the 41st overall pick to Tennessee in exchange for the 57th and 89th overall picks.Then Gruden and McKenzie worked the phones and made another trade to grab the first pick in the third round. The Raiders traded the 75th, 152nd and 212th overall picks to Baltimore for the 65th, which they used to get Parker.Parker is a two-time Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference offensive lineman of the year who started four seasons at left tackle for North Carolina A&T. According to the Raiders, Parker did not allow a sack during his college career, although he disputed that.”I think I gave up maybe one or two sacks,” Parker said. ”I don’t know where that came from.”Parker’s selection came on the heels of the Raiders drafting Kolton Miller with the 15th overall pick. Miller is expected to compete for the right tackle job while Parker will likely back up left tackle Donald Penn.Key had 26 sacks during three seasons at LSU but left school early after a 2017 season filled with highs and lows. He was limited to eight games last year due to injuries after checking himself into rehab the previous spring.The Raiders see him as another outside edge rusher and a potential complement to Khalil Mack.”He’s made some mistakes Johnathan Abram Jersey 2019 ,” Gruden said. ”He’s had some difficult times in his young life. I know where he’s been for the last several months, I know what he’s been through in his career. He has a lot to prove and we have a lot to prove.”— ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Two drug suspensions threatened to derail Darren Waller’s NFL career before it really got started.Now the leading candidate to replace Jared Cook as Oakland’s top tight end, Waller credits those early setbacks with getting him back on track.“At the time it seemed like a whole lot but I’ve been able to learn that the most uncomfortable work is the one that pays off and makes things much more enjoyable,” Waller said Tuesday at the start of the Raiders‘ three-day mandatory minicamp. “It’s been a whole lot of hard work, a whole lot of just making sure that I’m consistent.”Waller missed all of 2017 after being suspended by the NFL for one year following a second violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy. That came on the heels of a four-game suspension in 2016 when Waller acknowledged using marijuana.Waller returned to the NFL in 2018 but didn’t play until the Raiders claimed him off the Ravens’ practice squad. He played in four games late in the season and caught six passes for 75 yards.Though a small sample size, it was enough to convince Oakland to keep Waller around. When Pro Bowl tight end Jared Cook signed with New Orleans as a free agent, Raiders coach Jon Gruden quickly dubbed Waller a leading candidate to replace Cook.“Since he’s been here he’s been one of our most impressive players,” Gruden said. “He played a key role last year when he got here. He’s got some big shoes to fill. I know he respects that. He’s versatile, he’s smart, he’s fast.He wants to do good.”A sixth-round pick of Baltimore in 2015, Waller was drafted as a wide receiver before converting to tight end in 2016. That was right at the start of his off-field troubles which Waller acknowledged carried over to what he did on the field. He caught 12 passes in 18 games with the Ravens.It’s an issue the 26-year-old Waller said he no longer has to worry about.“That gives me a place to feel good about myself and respect myself when I look in the mirror,” Waller said. “Before, I couldn’t really do that and those kind of things translate to the field where it’s like you’re kind of hesitant out there, you’re not too sure of yourself. But now I wake up and I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing in my life and representing my family in a positive way. That goes a long way into me taking on a heavier load and having the confidence in myself to carry it out.“I just tried to prepare myself to come back and contribute again. I didn’t really look as far as how big my role would be but that if my work was there and I was staying clean and being consistent in what I was doing that my role would increase at some point.”Cook’s departure as a free agent was a big hit to the Raiders offense. In two seasons with Oakland, Cook caught 122 passes for 1,584 yards and eight touchdowns, often serving as a safety net for quarterback Derek Carr.Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock overhauled the team’s receiving corps in the offseason, highlighted by the acquisition of Antonio Brown. That could mean fewer opportunities for the tight ends, although Waller’s maturation should keep him in the mix.At the very least, it’s given Waller another shot in the NFL, something he has reminded himself of this offseason.“Staying clean, number one of course, just doing something every day involving football,” Waller said when asked about his daily routine. “Making sure that I know that all I have is today. I don’t really have any days that are promised and I can’t live my life that way.”Notes: Cornerback Gareon Conley worked out on his own in a nearby weight room. . Gruden said Mayock and representatives for Rodney Hudson have been in talks regarding a possible contract extension for the two-time Pro Bowl center. . The Raiders are discussing holding joint practices with the Los Angeles Rams prior to their Aug. 10 preseason game. . Oakland signed WR Montay Crockett and CB Isaiah Langley. DB Makinton Dorleant and S Montrel Meander were waived.


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