3 Clem­son stars high­light Raiders rookie class

The Tribune (SLO) - - Sports - BY JOSH DUBOW

ALAMEDA, CALIF.

Coach Jon Gru­den has al­ready al­tered one as­pect of rookie mini­camp for the Oak­land Raiders based on what the team did in the draft.

Gru­den said the coach­ing staff will don Clem­son shirts on the fi­nal day of the week­end mini­camp in homage to the three draft picks from the na­tion­alcham­pion Tigers.

“I guess that’s kind of the joke around here,” first-round de­fen­sive end Clelin Fer­rell said Fri­day, the first day of rookie mini­camp. “We just added a bunch of Clem­son guys and (de­fen­sive line) Coach (Brentson) Buck­ner was a Clem­son guy. I mean, I wouldn’t doubt it. I wouldn’t be mad if I see some more around here, that’s for sure.”

Oak­land has plenty right now af­ter tak­ing Fer­rell fourth over­all, cor­ner­back Trayvon Mullen in the sec­ond round and re­ceiver Hunter Ren­frow in the fifth round.

Gru­den was so im­pressed by what he saw on tape scout­ing those three that he wouldn’t mind adding some of their team­mates in the next cou­ple of drafts.

“I got this to say about Clem­son; you got to watch all their tape be­cause they are the best team in col­lege foot­ball and they got a lot of good play­ers at ev­ery po­si­tion,” Gru­den said. “Some of the un­der­class­men will keep us wear­ing that or­ange color next year, I hope, be­cause they are loaded.”

The Tigers trio weren’t

the only play­ers with win­ning pedi­grees that the Raiders added in the draft. They also took Alabama run­ning back Josh Ja­cobs 24th over­all, giv­ing them four play­ers from last sea­son’s na­tional cham­pi­onship game.

Gru­den said adding play­ers with cham­pi­onship pedi­grees was im­por­tant as the Raiders try to re­build af­ter post­ing just one win­ning record in the past 16 sea­sons.

The rookies hope to con­trib­ute to build­ing a win­ning cul­ture in Oak­land.

“It’s a lot more fun to win than lose,” Ren­frow said. “We won a lot of games at Clem­son. It’s not just one per­son, it takes a whole team buy in. That’s why I’m ex­cited. I haven’t met a lot of the team yet, but I’m ex­cited to kind of get in and in­ter­act with them. It was such a good thing to bring in a guy like Clelin so early be­cause he’s one of those guys that just brings peo­ple along. He'll say, ‘All right, fol­low me. We’re go­ing to go and we’re go­ing to go do what it takes to win.’ Same with Trayvon as well and Josh Ja­cobs at Alabama. They know what it takes to win and it’s been fun to be around them.”

In other news, Gru­den said the team has de­cided not to ex­er­cise the fifthyear op­tion on 2016 firstround safety Karl Joseph, mak­ing him el­i­gi­ble to be an un­re­stricted free agent next off­sea­son. The Raiders drafted Joseph’s po­ten­tial re­place­ment, Jonathan Abram, in the first round but Gru­den said the team still likes Joseph and could still bring him back next sea­son.

Gru­den also pro­vided some clar­ity on the of­fen­sive line, say­ing sec­ondyear player Kolton Miller will re­main at left tackle to start the off­sea­son pro­gram with high-priced free-agent Trent Brown start­ing off on the right side. Miller al­lowed a league-high 16 sacks and a league-worst 65 pres­sures last sea­son, ac­cord­ing to Pro Foot­ball Fo­cus, but will get another shot at pro­tect­ing Derek Carr’s blind side.

“We like that as a launch­ing pad for us,” Gru­den said. “Trent played very well at right tackle for San Fran­cisco, played left tackle very well for New Eng­land and gives us some ver­sa­til­ity.”

Guard Gabe Jack­son will re­main on the right side as the team searches for a re­place­ment for Kelechi Osemele at left guard with Den­zelle Good likely to get the first shot.

“The door is wide open at left guard,” Gru­den said. “We are go­ing to con­tinue to look at play­ers that can come in and com­pete at that po­si­tion.”

The Raiders also placed run­ning back Isa­iah Crow­ell on in­jured re­serve af­ter he tore his Achilles ear­lier this week. That led to the move to bring back Doug Martin for depth in a po­si­tion group that in­cludes first-rounder Josh Ja­cobs and third-down back Jalen Richard.

BEN MAR­GOT AP

Oak­land Raiders wide re­ceiver Hunter Ren­frow makes a re­cep­tion dur­ing rookie camp prac­tice Fri­day.

BEN MAR­GOT AP

Oak­land Raiders de­fen­sive end Clelin Fer­rell per­forms a drill dur­ing a rookie camp prac­tice Fri­day at the team’s training fa­cil­ity in Alameda, Calif.

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