NAPA — The Raiders placed running back Roy Helu Jr. on injured reserve, likely ending his career in the Silver and Black.
Helu last week was put on the physically unable to perform list after missing all of the offseason program following surgery on both of his hips. The move to IR takes him off the roster and likely sets the stage for an injury settlement as the Raiders move on from the former San Ramon Valley High star.
Helu had a disappointing one season with the Raiders, managing to play in just nine games and finishing with 39 rushing yards on 17 carries. He’s never been as productive as his rookie year in Washington in 2011, when he combined for 1,019 yards rushing and receiving.
Even as of his last season in Washington in 2014, he was strong as a receiver out of the backfield. He caught 42 passes for 477 yards that year.
But in Oakland, he struggled with injury and missed most of camp and wasn’t effective even when he suited up.
“Certainly we hoped to get a little more last year out of him,” coach Jack Del Rio said. “And then he elected to have some things done this year in the offseason and at this point, we’re going to move forward with the team.”
To fill Helu’s roster spot, the Raiders added defensive tackle Derrick Lott. Lott spent last season on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad and spend some of this offseason with the Philadelphia Eagles. The Raiders also activated seventh round pick Vadal Alexander from the non-football injury list.
The only player on the active roster who didn’t suit up on Friday was defensive end Denico Autry, who appears to have a right hand or wrist injury. UPDATE: Autry has been placed on the physically unable to perform list.
*** The first couple of days of camp before the pads come on are usually light on excitement and that was mostly the case.
Among the few highlights were an pick six by defensive end/linebacker James Cowser of backup quarterback Matt McGloin. SaQwan Edwards also had a late interception of Connor Cook.
*** The first-team defense suited up exactly as one (or at least I) would’ve predicted. In its base form, it’s essentially a 3/4 or 5/2 defense depending upon how you want to look at it.
The three interior first team lineman were Mario Edwards Jr., Justin Ellis and Jihad Ward. The edge rushers, of course, were Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin. Malcolm Smith and Ben Heeney occupied the inside linebacker spots. The secondary had Sean Smith and David Amerson at corner and Reggie Nelson and Karl Joseph at safety. D.J. Hayden entered as the slot/nickel corner.
*** At right tackle, the only real starting job up for grabs, Menelik Watson had the first repetitions, although Austin Howard also rotated in. Jon Feliciano looks to be the so-called seventh lineman. He backed up at center (where he had two fumbled snap exchanges) and will also likely be the top backup at guard.
Second-team running back also featured DeAndre Washington getting the initial reps, followed by Taiwan Jones and Jalen Richard.