The undrafted rookie cornerback was a stud return man in college at South Carolina State. He got his first chance to show something with a second-quarter punt return, but didn’t go after the ball and let it bounce to take away his chance to a return.
It may be cruel, but some of these players will only get one chance like that to show something. He also got called for a special teams penalty and his already slim roster hopes lost weight.
Mickens also needs to create some juice as a returner, because the wide receiver opportunities are going to be slim. He too got just one chance and muffed the punt. There was a Raiders penalty on the play anyway, but anyone who can’t hold on to the ball isn’t going to get a good shot to make the team.
He’s essentially the fourth offensive tackle for the Raiders. If they keep nine offensive linemen, his job should be safe. But if they only go with eight, it’ll probably come down to McCants and seventh-round pick Vadal Alexander.
McCants could’ve have made Del Rio happy with a personal foul penalty for instigating. Alexander had his own 15-yard flag, a facemask after Connor Cook threw an interception. That’s at least a little more tolerable.
Bonus demerits: Linebacker Ben Heeney got out there and played a few days after getting nicked up in practice, but he struggled to fill run gaps and didn’t add to the confidence in the Raiders linebacker corps. Wide receiver Johnny Holton caught a 21-yard pass from Connor Cook, but did so after bobbling it and having to corral it with his legs. It was a nice improv move, but use the hands next time. Linebacker Cory James was demolished at the goal line on a run by John Crockett. Wide receiver Amari Cooper made next to no effort to go after a Derek Carr pass that was intercepted. Initially, it looked like Green Bay had a long return on it thanks to Cooper not even making the tackle, but a replay showed Cooper barely got his hands on him as he was going down to rule him down by contact.