Raiders rookies learns ways of NFL
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP)
The rookies for the Oakland Raiders are getting a crash course on the NFL this weekend.
They were handed thick playbooks, started installing systems and are getting to participate in their first practices as professionals during Oakland's rookie minicamp this weekend.
''It's pretty crazy,'' offensive lineman Tony Bergstrom said. ''It's a lot of mental gymnastics out there. They're throwing everything at you at once. You're coming out here and you're trying to pick it up against movement and all sorts of defensive fronts. You kind of feel like you're drinking out of a fire hose for a little while. Things will start to slow down in a couple of days once this minicamp gets over.''
The Raiders held their second of three days of rookie practices on Saturday. The draft picks, undrafted free agents and any players on tryouts who make the cut will then join the veterans next week when organized team activities start.
''The rookies are obviously behind from a mental and a physical standpoint,'' coach Dennis Allen said. ''They're going to have to work hard and work fast to get caught up because if they don't get caught up pretty soon they'll fall behind. It's real important to have this camp for them.''
The Raiders have few high-profile rookies after not picking until the end of the third round in last month's draft. Bergstrom was their highest selection out of Utah at 95th overall, followed by San Diego State linebacker Miles Burris in the fourth round.
The rest of the class included defensive linemen Jack Crawford and Christo Bilukidi, receiver Juron Criner and linebacker Nathan Stupar.
Bergstrom is working at left guard, where he is expected to compete with veteran Cooper Carlisle for playing time this season. Burris is probably the other rookie in the best position to get a chance to compete for a starting role.
''He loves football, you can see it already,'' defensive coordinator Jason Tarver said. ''He got better today from yesterday. Excited about Miles. Love to put him in the mix with these linebackers and compete. The group got better. Now, we're going to put him in there, we're going teach him how to play and let him compete. Competition makes you better.''
In all the Raiders had 60 players at the camp with six draft picks, 13 undrafted free agents, 11 selected veterans and 30 players here on tryouts. The Raiders still have nine open spots on their 90-man roster.
Four years ago, Oakland fullback Marcel Reece was a tryout player from one of these camps who impressed the staff and earned a contract. He is now a key part of the Raiders offense.
Allen pointed out two players who stood out to him in Rod Streater and Nevada linebacker Kaelin Burnett.
''We've all been a part of a lot of teams where you find guys that can play for you that you bring in on a tryout basis,'' Allen said. ''We wanted to have a chance to look at a lot of guys and we were able to do that.''
Two of the veterans were working off to the side because of injuries, receiver Eddie McGee and recently signed tight end Andre Hardy, who is a converted basketball player from Cal-State Fullerton.
Quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who was on the field just once as a rookie last season, was not eligible for this minicamp but has been working out with the team and is expected to be at OTAs next week.
Allen also said he is looking to get more facts regarding the recent arrest and charging of receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey for misdemeanor drunken driving.
''It's a situation that we're aware of and we're monitoring,'' Allen said. ''We'll see how the whole legal proceedings carry out and then we'll kind of go from there.''