While a player’s first mini-camp means almost nothing in the grand scheme of his entire career, first impressions are very important for everyone, even for NFL players.
The Raiders rookies had a chance to make a good first impression this weekend during the Raiders first 2013 mini-camp.
While we don’t know how the coaching staff feels about every prospect, some Raiders rookies made a good first impression with the assembled media – and some failed to make any impression at all.
By nature of the mini-camp not allowing contact, the winners and losers are all offensive because defenders aren’t really able to show much – especially the linebackers and defensive-linemen.
WR Brice Butler – Butler was probably the biggest standout of the day. The Raiders were working on 3rd down scenarios today, per head coach Dennis Allen, and that resulted in a variety of down the field passes with which Butler was able to excel.
Showing his great speed and an underrated ability to adjust to a ball in flight and put himself in a position to make some difficult passes down the field. As a seventh round selection, Butler is no lock to make the team so making plays early will go a long way for him.
WR Conner Vernon – Vernon joined the silver and black as a rookie free agent after being undrafted. However, the 6’0” receiver had a solid career at Duke, being particularly known for his solid hands and being able to get some yards after the catch.
On Saturday, he demonstrated his hand-eye coordination, not having any noted drops by any of the media present. While any undrafted free agent faces an uphill battle to make the squad, Vernon took the first step, today, by catching the balls that were thrown to him. TFDS' Levi Damien said that Vernon was a "crisp route runner, doesn't break stride, watches ball in."
RB Latavius Moore – Like Butler, Moore was drafted which already gives him a leg-up on making the squad. He helped himself even so, by show-casing good hands coming out of the backfield and making some solid receptions on swing passes. The more areas of the game Murray can show himself to be proficient, the more likely he’ll not only make the final squad but will see decent playing time in 2013.
RB Deonte Williams – The running back spot is as open as any on the team with only starter Darren McFadden guaranteed a roster spot. So Williams, who dropped a couple of easy passes had a poor day in front of the media. He can rebound, of course, but every practice counts for an undrafted free agent. Especially a practice the counted GM Reggie McKenzie and owner Mark Davis among those in attendance.
WR Sam McGuffie – another receiver that came to the Raiders after going undrafted, McGuffie had a forgettable day. He didn’t make any catches or plays worth mentioning, and, as TFDS’ Levi Damien said on twitter about McGuffie not standing out, “no news is not good news.”
QB Kyle Padron – It’s very unlikely that Padron would make the active squad. If anything, he’s playing for a practice squad position. Padron most stood out today, however, making some errant throws including a number underthrown. That lack of arm strength may mean Padron’s time with the Silver & Black will come to an end before even regular training camp.