The Oakland Raiders took the field on Friday for the first time of 2016 training camp with some key pieces returning.
Both of the presumptive starting safeties, veteran Reggie Nelson and rookie Karl Joseph, saw the field with their teammates for the first time this offseason after missing Offseason Training Activities and mandatory mini-camp. Joseph has been rehabbing a torn ACL he suffered last year while at West Virginia, while Nelson has been out with an undisclosed injury.
Nelson and Joseph reported to Napa early to participate in the pre-camp workouts to help shake off some of the rust. The 14th-overall pick was excited to be back on the field for the first time since early in last year's collegiate season.
"It was my goal [to be here by training camp] and I'm just happy to be out there with these guys," Joseph said.
Missing practice was defensive lineman Denico Autry who was seen on Thursday wearing some protective gear on his wrist when he was checking in for training camp. Other than that, the team is starting camp relatively healthy.
"It's great to be out here,' head coach Jack Del Rio said after practice. "We've got an excited group of guys ready to go to work and for the most part we're coming in healthy."
Some quick observations from the first day of training camp:
- The Raiders added another defensive lineman to the roster, Darrick Lott. Head coach Jack Del Rio said after practice that the running back Roy Helu, Jr. was no longer on the roster for the corresponding transaction move. Scott Bair of CSN Bay Area is reporting that Helu was placed on IR, though an injury settlement may soon be coming.
- Joseph appeared on the field with a sleeve around his knee, though looked comfortable and didn't appear to be hampered at all by that injury. It's good to see him on the field working out with the team, as missing time as a rookie is always difficult.
- Second-year tight end Clive Walford was also back on the field for the first time this offseason. Walford looked slightly bigger, but didn't seem to be hampered by any injuries suffered from that ATV accident early in the offseason. Walford is expected to be a big part of the offense and looks to be a big playmaker when on the field and healthy.
- One of the best camp battles this year is expected to be at the right tackle position. So far it appears that Menelik Watson has the edge, working with the number-ones while veteran Austin Howard worked with the twos.
- Rookie running back DeAndre Washington got some touches with starting quarterback Derek Carr and the ones, catching a couple of balls out of the backfield. His experience receiving at Texas Tech is showing early in Raiders camp as he could be a dangerous receiving weapon out of the backfield if used correctly. It'll be interesting to see how big of a role he may get, especially with the news of Helu.
- Undrafted free agent wide receiver Joe Hansley continues to be a name to keep an eye on. The speedy wide receiver took an underneath route the distance after hauling in the ball and turning it upfield after using a well-placed block by his fellow receiver.
- Both the second and third-team offenses were forced to "up-downs" after difficult team drills. Backup quarterback started it by throwing a pick-six, then followed it up with a fumbled exchange with the center. Rookie quarterback Connor Cook and his offense ended practice with up-downs after he threw behind a receiver that was picked off, followed up with a ball high to the receiver that he couldn't bring down. The defense certainly had the upper hand today, though that is usually expected early in training camp.
The Raiders will return to the field Saturday morning, with practice beginning at 11am again.