Oakland Raiders: A few players to watch in preseason game vs. Rams

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 14: Justin Ellis
OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 14: Justin Ellis /
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Oakland Raiders
OAKLAND, CA – OCTOBER 15: Keith McGill #39 and Erik Harris #41 of the Oakland Raiders react after a play against the Los Angeles Chargers during their NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 15, 2017 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

Erik Harris

Erik Harris has been the story of the preseason, no question. Well – other than Khalil Mack holding out, but we’re trying to focus on the positive right now.

Harris’ story of getting to the NFL is one that’s not only feel good, but inspirational. Most considered him a longshot – at best – to make an NFL roster. And those odds only got longer, when you talked about Harris being a starter in the league.

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  • But, he’s worked hard for the Raiders since joining them last season, where he was a core special teamer.

    With a new coaching regime coming in, HC Jon Gruden made it clear that virtually all positions were up for grabs, and he didn’t care who a guy was, or how much he made, that if he can play, he’d have a spot on the team.

    Harris, given an opportunity he maybe didn’t have last years, has seized on that chance, and is making the most of it. And he’s most definitely caught the eyes of Gruden and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther.

    With Karl Joseph, Obi Melifonwu, and Shalom Luani on the roster, as well as the re-signing of Reggie Nelson, and free agent add of Marcus Gilchrist, Harris was almost an afterthought. Most figured he’d be a core special teamer again.

    But, Gruden hasn’t been able to rave enough about Harris, praising his ability from practically day one. Harris has showed out so well, he’s possibly on the verge of locking down a starting role in the defensive backfield.

    At the very least, given that Guenther will be rotating multiple players in multiple packages, to give different looks and coverages, he’s looking at least getting some significant snaps once the season starts.

    It’s been a long, strange trip for Harris, but he looks like he may be ready to finally break out on a big stage.