Jon Gruden sizes up Raiders’ youth, vets Crabtree and Lynch

Updated February 28, 2018 - 9:59 am

INDIANAPOLIS — Jon Gruden must have scowled upon first studying it.

Defensive end Mario Edwards Jr., a 2015 second-round pick. Defensive end Jihad Ward, a 2016 second-round pick. Defensive end Shilique Calhoun, a 2016 third. Cornerback Gareon Conley, last year’s first-round choice. Safety Obi Melifonwu, last year’s second.

Those, and others, are among the high selections in recent Raiders draft classes.

High selections. Low production.

Be it due to injury, inability or bit of both, the Raiders have not found impact from their past three drafts. Gruden was adamant the trend must reverse when addressing reporters Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine. He also discussed a couple of key veterans on the team: Gruden’s high on running back Marshawn Lynch and fairly non-commital about wide receiver Michael Crabtree’s future.

General manager Reggie McKenzie, scheduled to meet with reporters later on Wednesday, is expected to address both players’ situations in greater detail.

“We’ve got work to do,” Gruden said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do. We need some talent to rise within this organization, I’ll say that. In our last three drafts, I’m looking at it. Other than Amari Cooper (2015 first-round choice), we need some of these young players to really explode onto the scene. It starts there. We need some young people in the organization right now to emerge.

“A lot of them have been injured. Jihad Ward, I don’t know what happened to him. Obi Melifonwu, Gareon Conley — we need these guys to play, big time. I’m going to start with that. We do have some free agents out there. We have some needs that are obvious. You don’t need to be a football genius. We’ve got a lot of work to do.

Gruden identified interior pass rush, linebacker and secondary among the Raiders’ most pressing needs.

Wide receiver is one, too, particularly if the team parts with Crabtree.

In December, several sources indicated he fell out of favor with the 2017 coaching staff, his attitude around the team amid a difficult 6-10 season was characterized as problematic. The club was prepared to part ways this offseason. Internal attitude toward Crabtree led to him playing 46 of the Raiders’ 121 offensive snaps in their final two games.

With Gruden’s hiring in January, the coaching staff was overhauled.

The Athletic reported Tuesday evening that Crabtree will play for the Raiders this season. Crabtree, 31 in September, is due a non-guaranteed $7 million base salary with another $1.05 million in potential bonuses.

“He’s on the team,” Gruden said, referring to Crabtree’s present-day status. “I would love to coach all these guys. That’s a big reason I was excited to get here. We’ll let you know. We’ll keep you updated as we get more information. I’m going to get a chance to meet with (his) agent. On April 9, I’m allowed to officially start talking with these guys. Reggie McKenzie has a press conference later today. … I’m sure he can update you on a lot of the contractual matters.”

Crabtree and Lynch are represented by the same agent, Doug Hendrickson.

Gruden praised Lynch after he logged 84 carries for 434 yards (5.2 average) with two touchdowns over the season’s final five games. Lynch, who turns 32 in April, is due a $4 million base salary with up to $4 million in available bonuses in 2018. Gruden worked as an ESPN “Monday Night Football” broadcaster on Dec. 25 when Lynch totaled 95 yards on 25 carries against the Philadelphia Eagles.

“He’s still a beast that’s hard to bring down,” Gruden said. “One of the reasons I’m excited to be with the Raiders is to join forces with Lynch. But we’ll see what happens. Obviously, we’ve got to look at the entire roster. But I’m counting on him. I’m counting on him to be a big part of our football team.”

More Raiders: Follow all of our Raiders coverage online at reviewjournal.com/Raiders and @NFLinVegas on Twitter.

Contact reporter Michael Gehlken at mgehlken@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GehlkenNFL on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Raiders Videos
Vegas Nation: Gruden Gives "Final Exams"
Vegas Nation host Bryan Salmond and Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken go over the Raiders improvement throughout training and how Gruden has been pushing the Raiders.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Deciding On Opening Day Kicker
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken and Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney go over he Raiders choosing an opening day kicker and Doug Martin's potential.
Vegas Nation: Mandatory Mini Camp
Vegas Nation host Bryan Salmond, Raiders beat writer Micheal Gehlken and Review-Journal sports writer Ed Graney go over day one of the Raiders mini camp.
Vegas Nation: Derrick Johnson standing out at OTAs
Vegas Nation host Bryan Salmond and Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken go over the Raiders OTAs and how the team is adjusting to new coaching style of head coach Jon Gruden.
Vegas Nation: Week Two Of OTA's
Vegas Nation host Bryan Salmond and Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken go over the start of week two of the Raiders OTA's.
Vegas Nation: NFL Owners Meeting Day 2
Vegas Nation host Bryan Salmond and Review-Journal sports writer Gilbert Manzano go over the NFL owners meeting.
Las Vegas Stadium construction site drone footage
The Raiders set up a drone at the Las Vegas Stadium construction site on May 20, 2018.
Las Vegas Stadium Milestones
Las Vegas Stadium Milestones as of May 16, 2018.
Vegas Nation: NFL Owners Meeting Day 1
Vegas Nation host Bryan Salmond and Review-Journal sports writer Gilbert Manzano go over the NFL owners meeting.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Participate In First Day Of Practice
Vegas Nation host Bryan Salmond and Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken go over the Raiders first day of practice.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Minicamp
Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken goes over the Raiders minicamp and questions surrounding the Raiders picking defensive lineman Maurice Hurst from Michigan.
P.J. Hall, Maurice Hurst and Jon Gruden Talk About Mini Camp
P.J. Hall, Maurice Hurst and Jon Gruden go over the Raiders Mini camp.
Reggie McKenzie On Final Day Of NFL Draft
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie talks about the Raiders final draft picks.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Final Draft Picks
Vegas Nation host Bryan Salmond, Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken and Review-Journal reporter Gilbert Manzano go over the last day of the draft pick for the Raiders.
Gruden On Day Two Of Nfl Draft Picks
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden discusses the teams second day draft picks.
Raiders trade again, draft DT P.J. Hall and OT Brandon Parker
Raiders trade again and draft DT P.J. Hall and OT Brandon Parker. The team moved back again Friday, this time exchanging the No. 41 overall pick for the No. 57 selection. It then selected former Sam Houston State defensive tackle P.J. Hall. The Raiders parted with No. 75, trading up 10 spots to select former North Carolina A&T offensive tackle Brandon Parker.
Gruden On Bryant Joining Raiders, Bryant On What He Has Left To Prove
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden talks about what Bryant will bring to the Raiders and Bryant talks about what he has left to prove.
Gruden, Miller On First Round Pick
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden and first round pick Kolton Miller talk about the NFL draft first round pick for the Raiders.
Las Vegas Raiders Stadium can help economic boom, expert says
Study after study has concluded that stadiums aren’t effective economic development drivers. But a leading urban growth researcher says Orlando and Las Vegas are exceptions because of the strength of their regions’ tourism economies. The Raiders are building a 65,000-seat, $1.8 billion indoor stadium at Interstate 15 and Russell Road using $750 million of public money authorized by the Nevada Legislature. Las Vegas has a leg up on many cities, because it has an airport at which business people can catch a nonstop flight to virtually any domestic destination. Panelist Cathy Tull, chief marketing officer of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said the presence of out-of-town media for playoff games featuring the Vegas Golden Knights has given the city media mentions that money can’t buy. Another issue receiving the panel’s attention is the need for mass transit with all the teams, venues and anticipated visitation they will generate. Panelists also discussed the prospect of attracting big events like the Super Bowl, the NFL draft and NCAA tournaments.
Reggie Mckenzie On Raiders First Draft Pick
Raiders general manager Reggie Mckenzie on Raiders first draft pick.
Vegas Nation: First Round NFL Draft Pick
Vegas Nation host Bryan Salmond, Review-Journal writer Gilbert Manzano and Raiders beat writer Michael Gelhken go over the first round of the NFL draft picks and the Raiders choices.
Vegas Nation: NFL Draft preview
Bryan Salmond and Michael Gehlken breakdown the Raiders offseason moves as well as what they could be looking at in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Vegas Nation: Wide Receiver
Vegas Nation video host Bryan Salmond and Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken look at the wide receiver position for the upcoming NFL Draft.
Vegas Nation: Raiders secondary
Vegas Nation video host Bryan Salmond and Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken look at the Raiders secondary for the upcoming NFL Draft.
Vegas Nation: Running Back position
Vegas Nation video host Bryan Salmond and Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken look at the running back position for the upcoming NFL Draft.
Vegas Nation: Join Vegas Nation for NFL Draft updates
Vegas Nation video host Bryan Salmond and Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken will provide updates about everything surrounding this year's NFL Draft.
Vegas Nation: NFL Draft: Defensive Line
Vegas Nation video host Bryan Salmond and Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken discuss the defensive line and what can happen in the 2018 NFL Draft.
David Humm's life celebrated at South Point
Raiders owner Mark Davis, former Nebraska coach Tom Osborne were among those who paid tribute to David Humm during a ceremony at South Point Arena in Las Vegas on April 6, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review Journal)
Vegas Nation Stadium Show
Ed Graney, Rick Velotta and Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken go over the progress on the Vegas Stadium and how it will affect some of the players and staff.
Vegas Nation: Gruden hoping free agents can establish culture
Michael Gehlken reports from the NFL Meetings in Orlando, including what the Raiders are doing there as well as what Jon Gruden meant by "throwing it back to 1998."
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like