Las Vegas Raiders OTAs: Biggest standouts from the final week

The Las Vegas Raiders were back on the practice field on Tuesday for what was the eighth session of organized team activities, but it was also the last that was open to the media. After the final two practices of OTAs, the Raiders will then prepare for their three-day mandatory from June 11-13.

After seeing the defense win the day last week, it was the offense that had the better day on Tuesday, according to beat writers on the ground. However, Las Vegas’ unit did not have Maxx Crosby, who was among those not taking part.

For a more general overview of what went on during the final open practice of OTAs, make sure to check out our takeaways article. You should also check out our new team page for more stories, and daily Raiders content in general.

Now, a look at who stood out the most on Tuesday, based on observations from beat writers who were in attendance.

Raiders standouts from OTAs

The quarterbacks

According to Tashan Reed of The Athletic, Gardner Minshew and Aidan O’Connell continue to split reps in practice, so nothing new on that front. What was new, however, was the fact that both had a better day than the last open session.

Per Levi Edwards of Raiders.com, the pair bounced back after the defense won the day during the previous open practice of OTAs.

Overall, it was the offense’s time to shine Tuesday. Both Gardner MinshewII and Aidan O’Connell stepped up to make some big throws to a variety of receivers.

Reed also noted that the two quarterbacks “have performed fairly evenly.” Don’t expect any kind of conclusion to this competition until at least training camp, and quite possibly right up until the start of the season.

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The wide receivers

Both Jakobi Meyers and DJ turner had a pair of touchdown catches, but it was Turner who had one of the top plays of the day, per Edwards, who noted that Tucker grabbed a touchdown with a great toe drag in the back of the end zone.

With the additions the Raiders have made at the position recently, Turner is going to need more days like that to make the roster and have a shot at securing any semblance of a role on offense.

Tre Tucker also caught Edwards’ eye. The second-year receiver “looks even faster” than he did last season.

The tight ends

Michael Mayer, Brock Bowers and Cole Fotheringham all stood out, with Mayer nabbing a pair of touchdown catches during red-zone drills. Fotheringham made “some big catches” and Bowers “continued to make plays in space.”

Along with Harrison Bryant, the Raiders are going to have one of the best tight end groups in the NFL in 2024. Bowers in particular will be really fun to watch with all the ways he can be utilized.

DL Christian Wilkins

According to Edwards, Wilkins was “everything as advertised” and showed great explosiveness off the line of scrimmage. But it wasn’t just his play on the field that stood out, he also received plenty of praise from teammates and coaches, per Levi Damien of Raiders Wire:

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QB Gardner Minshew on who the biggest standout is: “I’d say Christian Wilkins. That dude is running so fast every single play. Wherever the ball is, don’t look, like, you’ll see him soon. It’s really impressive being around a guy that’s nonstop working the way he does.”

LBs coach Mike Caldwell: “He had a play the other day where he might need to be in my room. He’s so athletic and he plays with so much passion he’s like a linebacker in so many ways. He’s active and has a great motor… We’re just excited to have him here.”

Malcolm Koonce: “He’s definitely a character. He definitely brings another personality to the room and stuff like that. He’s enjoyable to be around. He’s a great guy.”

CB Nate Hobbs

While we didn’t see any word on Hobbs’ performance, he did receive a ton of praise from cornerbacks coach Ricky Manning Jr., who noted how important Hobbs is to the defense in 2024.

“Nate is the key to unlock our defense,” he said. “That nickel spot is very special. That star spot is very special. Being able to play inside and outside is a unique characteristic to have. Just like Michael Carter with the Jets last year, a pivotal piece of that defense, that’s what Nate Hobbs is. That’s what the star position has become. He’s the key to unlock our defense and he’s great at it. He’s going to continue to ascend and with his growth our defense grows. And it allows PG [Patrick Graham] our coordinator to call certain things because he can trust that Nate can get it done and get it communicated to everybody and we can work well together.”

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Hobbs will have a little extra motivation to take his game to another level in 2024, as the former fifth-round pick is in a contract year.

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