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Hill: ‘Crazy’ Raiders draft pick could quickly become fan favorite

Updated May 4, 2024 - 8:48 pm

Dylan Laube wasn’t sure he would be picked in the NFL draft, so he really couldn’t be choosy about which team he preferred to select him.

It turns out landing with the Raiders in the sixth round could work out very well for the running back out of New Hampshire.

“I know the fan base is crazy, and I’m crazy, too,” he said Saturday by phone from his native Long Island. “Whether I’m on special teams or in the backfield or in the slot, I’m going to make it fun for the fans with the way I play and who I am.

“I’m going to make it so enjoyable for the fans, and I’m going to have a great time out there. I’m going to enjoy the process, but I’m going to do it at 110 percent every single day. Expect a lot from me.”

That certainly sounds like the kind of player who will thrive in an Antonio Pierce locker room and one fans are likely to embrace, especially one who has been so vocal about his desire to make an impact on special teams.

But he knows he must make the roster first, which is not always a guarantee for a sixth-round pick. If he falls short, Laube insists it won’t be due to a lack of effort. He’s had to work for every opportunity he’s been afforded in football.

‘Wasn’t a lot of buzz’

Laube had no Division I Football Bowl Subdivision offers out of high school. Perhaps it was because he wore No. 40 and sported an old-school neck roll in a double-wing offense.

“There wasn’t a lot of buzz about me,” he said. “I had the stats and stuff, but I was a scrawny, white running back from Westhampton.”

The area was more of a lacrosse hotbed, and Laube thrived in that sport, too. He had plenty of high-major offers, but football was always the dream.

So he took the one scholarship he had from New Hampshire and redshirted a year to get stronger. By his junior year, he was an All-American and draft eligible. Calls and texts from agents, financial people and combine training camps were flooding in, asking to work with the rising star.

Then came the FBS offers, hoping to lure a recruit they all once missed on to the big stage for one final college season. But Laube had more work to do, and he believed his team could compete for a national title. So he stayed.

“I considered everything. But I’m a very loyal person and no school had even talked to me coming out of high school, so why would I leave the one school that truly believed in me as a player and a person?” he said. “At the end of the day, I didn’t want to turn my back on the school that gave me a chance.”

Now he’s been rewarded by becoming the first New Hampshire player drafted in more than a decade. But reaching one of his biggest life goals just means it’s time to set new ones.

“Make the team, make the active roster, play in a game, start a game, and then it goes on and on from there,” he said. “It’s just about building blocks. I have that new baseline, and now you want to stack it up brick by brick. It’s just those small goals that are going to help you reach the big goals.”

For Laube, that starts with Thursday when he makes the trip to Las Vegas for the opening of rookie camp Friday. After a couple of days of shock at finally learning his NFL fate, Laube has been back in the gym and on the field the last few days so he can hit the ground running once he arrives in Las Vegas.

“I don’t think it’s settled in yet, honestly,” he said. “I’m not there yet. But at the same time, I’m thinking, ‘I’m in the NFL now, so I have to be a professional.’ But this has been a dream. Once I step foot in the facility, I’ll realize I’m actually there. Coming from a small school and a small town, not a lot of people have done it before.

“I’m still working and doing what I have to do, but at the same time, it’s like, ‘Damn, I’m a Las Vegas Raider.’”

No further questions

One of the best parts of being a sports fan is the ability to question the decision-making of the teams and coaches without any of the real consequences.

It’s a tremendous pastime.

But I’m going to make a declaration here right now that I will no longer question Golden Knights coach Bruce Cassidy.

I was stunned when he switched from goaltender Logan Thompson to Adin Hill, who had been sitting on the bench and would be entering a tense series completely cold. It was the kind of move that could easily backfire and have the sharks swarming with criticism.

But Hill was fine in Game 5 and unbelievable in Game 6, and the Knights will now get to try to extend their season with a Game 7 in Dallas.

Hill is obviously the likely starter. But if Cassidy starts Thompson, he probably has a reason.

Heck, if he decides to play no goalie, that’s probably the right decision.

There is no guarantee the Knights will win. Far from it, as they are an underdog.

But my bet is that any potential loss will not be due to a bad decision by Bruce Cassidy.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on X.

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