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Raiders’ Reggie Nelson happy to be reunited with Jack Del Rio, says he’s `different dude’ from Jacksonville days

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Free safety Reggie Nelson is happy to be reunited with Jack Del Rio. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

Free safety Reggie Nelson is happy to be reunited with Jack Del Rio. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

ALAMEDA _ Reggie Nelson put to rest any thought that there was residual bitterness about the way he left the Jacksonville Jaguars when Jack Del Rio was the head coach.

Nelson, an unrestricted free agent safety who signed with the Raiders Thursday, was a first-round draft pick who lost his starting job in his third year in Jacksonville and was dealt to Cincinnati for cornerback David Jones _ who had been a Bengals waiver claim.

“I’m excited man. I was a different dude when they drafted me,” Nelson said in a conference call. “I’m a veteran now, wiser. I’m just excited to see what he’s got going on in Oakland and to be a part of that. I mean, I love Jack and always have. I’m excited to be reunited with him.”

The contract, according to NFL.com, was for two years and worth up to $16 million. Nelson becomes the third starting player added since the start of free agency along with cornerback Sean Smith and linebacker Bruce Irvin.

Nelson, who turns 33 in September, is coming off his best season with the Bengals, making his first Pro Bowl and intercepting eight passes. He will replace Charles Woodson, who retired following the season.

But rather than arrive as the wise old hand as Woodson did, Nelson comes to the Raiders believing he’s got a lot to learn.

“Trust me, you can’t replace Charles Woodson at all,” Nelson said. “the only thing I can be is Reggie and continue to play my game and get better. I can’t worry about filling (his) shoes because he had one heck of a career. You’re talking about a Hall of Famer.

“The only thing I can do is what Ken (Norton) and Jack ask me to do and play the game and continue to go get that ball.”

Getting the ball is something Nelson has done well over a nine-year career with 30 interceptions, 80 passes defensed, nine forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.

What Nelson has in common with Woodson is that as a safety past the age of 30, he found there wasn’t a big market for his services despite a career year.

“I mean, I was shocked. I expected to be signed,” Nelson said. “But patience is a virtue. I was just being patient and waiting on the right time. After Oakland came and Jack was in Oakland, so I felt comfortable coming back with Jack.”

Nelson was enthused about playing for not only Del Rio, but Norton, the defensive coordinator, and defensive backs coaches Rod Woodson and Marcus Robertson, noting their years in the league as successful players.

“I’m just anxious to learn from these guys and keep learning,” Nelson said. “You always can learn something new to the game and some excitement that they can give, to give you that burst . . . I can’t wait to keep scratching with them to be a part of something.”

Nelson has started seven postseason games, something he hopes to continue with the Raiders.

“Reggie (McKenzie) and Mr. Davis have been doing a great job putting pieces of this puzzle together,” Nelson said. “I’m just excited I could be a piece of the puzzle that they have. They’re adding pieces like Sean Smith, Irvin, that’s just crazy, and that’s not even including the draft. I can’t wait to get going.”

The No. 21 overall pick out of Florida in 2007, Nelson played on a national championship team and was the winner of the Jack Tatum Award in 2006, given annually to the nation’s top defensive back.

Nelson had five interceptions as a rookie with Jacksonville and two in 2008. Nelson struggled in 2009, was criticized publicly by Del Rio at one point and benched for the final two games of the season before being traded to the Bengals.

 

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Thec

    We will see….

  • Guest123

    I wouldn’t trade up nor back until day 3

  • dukeblue11

    He didn’t get burned for laying hits. He took the hits when he could get them but if he couldn’t he wrapped the legs. Outstanding tackler

  • Guest123

    He’s a round 2 option

  • Teabag McKenz

    I’m pretty sure he meant defensive starter.

  • Guest123

    Butler you have way overrated

  • ever been to Roman Nose near Watonga? We’ve been going there for family reunions since the 80’s. Cool place!

  • Teabag McKenz

    That’s been my sleeper for a while now, fit the bill of what Jack looks for.

  • Thec

    I cannot interpret what is “meant” i only know what is in the article.

  • Guest123

    Bell is a playmaker trumps a sure tackler

  • Thec

    hahahahah so does the NFL and some pundits in comparing him to MO Wilkerson and Linvel Joseph, so I am not in the minority…

  • ncraider

    You from the triangle

  • Skewlboy
  • dukeblue11

    From West Virginia. Go down there at least once a year for a game though.

  • R8der4evr

    Won’t get past Seattle, read about it

  • Thec

    I will say this, I trust the org and the process…
    Who ever they select I am down with.

  • ForHundred8

    Lol so much for Raiders at Rams. Nice to see us on prime time, even if it’s just pre-season.

  • dplunk

    don’t sleep on Javon Hargrave DT South Carolina State in the mid to late rounds

  • Guest123

    JONATHAN BULLARD | Florida 6030|285 lbs|4SR Shelby, N.C. (Crest Senior) 10/22/1993 (age 22) #90

    YEAR (GP/GS) TKLS TFL SACK FF GRADE 1st-2nd Round

    2012: (13/2) 27 5.0 1.5 0 (DE) MEASUREABLES Arm: 33 5/8 | Hand: 10 | Wingspan: 81 1/4

    2013: (11/8) 33 2.5 1.5 0 (DE) COMBINE 40-YD: 4.93 | 10-YD: 1.68 | 20-YD: 2.82 | BP: 23 | VJ: 32 | BJ: 09’08” | SS: 4.56 | 3C: 7.31

    2014: (12/12) 52 8.5 2.5 0 (DT) PRO DAY N/A (positional drills only)

    2015: (14/14) 66 17.5 6.5 0 (DT)

  • Thec

    I am down with who ever, as long as we get one and the disc dont…

  • R8der4evr

    I would if the guy we want is available say in the 2nd or 3rd round

  • Thec

    I am down with who ever the org sees worthy to wear the Silver and Black.

  • On TV Aug. 27th at home vs Titans. Cool.

  • Raiders2001

    I think Braxton Miller would be a good get for us. He could be used like Percy Harvin was with Musgave in Minn. He’s built well. Can run the zone read and surprisingly runs good routes for a former Qb. He should only get better.

  • The Machine

    John Middlekauff
    ‏@JohnMiddlekauff

    5s5 seconds ago

    More I talk with NFL people the more I hear about the potential Vernon Hargreaves drop in the draft

  • Guest123

    This isn’t a drinking game at the bar. This is high stakes poker. Need to let the draft come to you.

  • dplunk

    sho you’re right

  • Ronin559

    I wouldn’t trade up with this draft class, there will not be much of of drop off grade wise between picks 5 and 25. The cost to move up to No 4 is not going to be worth it. I would always be willing to trade down though, there are so many guys in the 2nd and 3rd round that will be starters. Picking up an extra pick in those rounds would be a big time help.

  • Guest123

    Middlekauff isn’t connected, just spitballing and seeing what sticks.

  • ncraider

    The Amish are all Raider fans

  • Guest123

    Maybe not, but if we get Rankins, it won’t matter

  • The Machine

    Like you are doing right now?

  • Ronin559

    But if you have you sights set on 2 guys who you think will be there 7 picks later, why not trade down? The extra pick could allow you to gamble in the 2nd and still get a quality player with the other 2nd rounder.

  • Guest123

    BACKGROUND: A two star recruit out of high school, Vernon “Big Vern” Butler received offers from SEC programs Ole Miss and Mississippi State, but he fell in love
    with Louisiana Tech and chose to play his college ball in Ruston, Louisiana. He was a back-up as a true freshman and sophomore, but saw his snaps increase each
    game and earned his first start in 2013. Butler became a full-time starter in 2014 as a junior and recorded a career-best 56 tackles and 13.5 tackles for loss, earning
    All-Conference USA Honorable Mention honors. He returned for his senior season and earned First Team All-Conference USA honors with 50 tackles, 10.0 tackles for
    loss and a career-best 3.0 sacks. Butler accepted his invitation to the 2016 Senior Bowl.

    STRENGTHS: Wide-hipped and carries his weight well…short-area quickness and lateral range to work up and down the line of scrimmage and sidestep blocks…strong
    upper body to create movement off the snap, using his balance and length to extend into blocks and convert initial step to power…coordinated movements to work
    off blocks and stay within striking distance – sees through blockers with improved tracking awareness…excellent pursuit speed and playing range for his size…active
    hands and reach to stack the corner and work to get free…hits behind his pads with the closing surge…plays with energy and shows the same intensity in the fourth
    quarter as the opening drive…consistent competitor and senior captain with a strong football appetite (Louisiana Tech quarterback Jeff Driskel: “He loves the game of
    football”)…sturdy and battle-tested, starting every game the last two seasons.

    WEAKNESSES: Plays too upright off the snap and relies on his upper body power instead of using leverage and knee bend…strong when squared, but struggles to
    control blocks when not nose-to-nose, limiting his ability to break free and make stops on ballcarriers in the gap…narrow-shouldered and needs to do a better job
    keeping blockers from his body, maintaining space to better create separation…active hands and limbs, but needs to show more purpose and strategy behind his rush
    moves – minimal sack production in college.

    SUMMARY: Butler lined up all over Louisiana Tech’s multiple front, spending most of his time at three- and five-technique spots and moving inside to nose tackle in
    passing situations. He flashes on tape with the lower body athleticism and upper body power to stack blockers and make stops at or behind the line of scrimmage
    (23.5 tackles for loss as a starter). Butler plays balanced on his feet with coordinated movements, but needs to improve his pad level to better clear single blockers
    when not squared up. Although he needs to develop his pass rush technique, Butler will appeal to both even and odd fronts with his relentless playing temperament,
    lateral quickness and power to control the point of attack

  • Skewlboy

    Weer 3 too. Closest thing we’ll see of the starters till week 1 of regular season

  • Davy Jones

    Awfully hard to criticize Reggie for this FA. This one is as good as 2014 was bad. I mean, what more could you want him to do?

  • Kenny Stapler

    Week 3 is the final dress rehearsal too. Best game to have right there imo. Should be exciting.

  • dukeblue11

    And its the third game of the preseason. The self proclaimed ‘dress rehearsal” where the starters play about 3 quarters

  • Kenny Stapler

    Are you saying the regular season is going to stink?

  • Thec

    I have read all the write ups however, who is he compared to?

  • Alex7!

    you have connections to prove Middlekauff isn’t connected?

  • ncraider

    Our company cafeteria has red and blue (closer to UNC than Duke blue) trays. It is always funny to watch any graduates pick through the trays to get the right color

  • Guest123

    Thing is you really can’t predict your guy will be there. You can do that in rounds 4-7. Huge gamble inside round one.

  • Dakota

    I just feel the need to post this after such a successful offseason. Congrats to Mark and Jack….and Reggie too! Big expectations now:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mn9AxPut5sk

  • Alex7!

    he’s been my choice for a long time for our 3rd round pick, or late 2nd.

    Would get plenty of PT as a WR, KR, PR. Would immediately be 2nd-most explosive player on O.

  • O.co is always Odorous and Odious

  • Alex7!

    is this a math test?!?!

  • R8erEduc8er

    Agreed. I’d take him in rd 3.

  • dplunk

    : ) keep jabbing away partner

  • Guest123

    Wish we had reeled in Weddle, but I’m not complaining