Five Raiders who need to pick up the pace in training camp

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ALAMEDA — Raiders coach Jon Gruden has made it clear from the outset that he’s not interested in reputation, draft status or the size of a player’s contract.

Performance matters.

Based on the off-season program, organized team activities and a mandatory mini-camp which concludes Wednesday, here are five (actually six) Raiders who will need to hit the ground running when the Raiders report to Napa for training camp on July 27:

Defensive lineman Mario Edwards Jr.: A second-round draft pick in 2015, Edwards played 14 games last season after struggling to stay healthy but wasn’t overly productive and did not provide the inside pass rush that was desperately needed when playing tackle. So far, Edwards hasn’t overwhelmed at either base end or three-technique. The additions of P.J. Hall and Maurice Hurst make it imperative that Edwards stay on the field produce early on in Napa. Otherwise, Edwards could be trade bait for a lower-round pick or simply be released before beginning his fourth season.

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Wide receiver Seth Roberts: Received a contract extension from Reggie McKenzie and the previous staff loved his downfield blocking effort. But Roberts’ has been inconsistent at best as a slot receiver and has not jumped off the page in Gruden’s system this off-season. If Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant are healthy, they’re virtual locks. Considering Gruden’s love of utilizing tight ends and running backs, it’s hard to envision keeping more than five wide receivers. Ryan Switzer has shown a knack for playing the slot as well as returning punts and looks like a good bet to stick. That puts Roberts in a group with Johnny Holton, seventh-round pick …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports


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