Two Raiders rookies just seized larger roles -- perhaps for good
For a while, it seemed like Amari Cooper was the only notable Raiders rookie.
That all changed on Sunday when the team turned to second-round pick Mario Edwards Jr. and fifth-round pick Neiron Ball. Both rookies produced immediate results against the Broncos.
Edwards Jr., the former top high school recruit, played 50 snaps. The defensive end shined with four tackles, a sack, and a quarterback hurry -- particularly when defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. switched up alignments and ran a 3-4 front.
Ball shined as a coverage linebacker when Norton Jr. switched back to a 4-3 scheme. He could stick in a passing-downs role there; starter Curtis Lofton has proved incapable in pass defense.
Norton Jr. now has time to work with both rookies. The Raiders don't play again until Oct. 25th -- that's ample time to further incorporate the two into a defense.