Multiple rookies earn contract after Raiders tryout

Updated May 7, 2017 - 8:02 pm

ALAMEDA, Calif. — It was at rookie minicamp in 2016 when Jalen Richard arrived.

The running back participated in the Raiders’ three-day event on a tryout basis. He was flown to Oakland on a round-trip itinerary, but he didn’t make the return flight. He signed a contract that kept him in the Bay Area, and the rest is history.

That history could repeat.

Najee Harris, a linebacker from Wagner College, was among those who turned a tryout into a three-year contract this weekend, sources said. LaTroy Lewis, a defensive lineman from Tennessee, and Chris Casher, a defensive lineman from Faulker, are known to have done the same. The total number of try-out players who signed Sunday currently is unclear, a full list expected to be announced no later than Monday.

Wagner is a Division I school in the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly I-AA).

Harris started 10 of 11 games there in 2016, totaling 44 tackles, one sack and an interception. He also broke up five passes in coverage. This followed a junior season in which he had 58 tackles, 10 of which were for a loss, with four sacks, two interceptions and four breakups.

Linebacker is considered among the shallowest positions on the Raiders’ depth chart.

Defensive line depth, too, is an area they’ve looked to upgrade. Lewis does not project as a three-technique, given his 6-foot-3, 254-pound frame. But he earned his invite to minicamp after recording 36 tackles with 2½ sacks as a senior in 2016. Casher, who has a similar frame, finished his college career at Faulkner as a transfer from Florida State.

Richard set the bar high as an undrafted rookie free agent.

He set an NFL record for the longest first carry of a career, dashing for a 75-yard touchdown against the Saints in Week 1. He finished the year with 83 carries for 491 yards, adding 29 catches for 194 yards and two touchdowns. He also contributed in the kickoff and punt game with 402 and 306 return yards, respectively.

Follow all of our Oakland Raiders coverage online at and @NFLinVegas on Twitter.

Contact reporter Michael Gehlken at Follow @GehlkenNFL on Twitter.

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