The NFLPA* held their equivalent to the yearly NFL Rookie symposium this week. The NFL had canceled their mandatory version of the event due to the extended lockout so the NFLPA* stepped up and held their own non-mandatory version. A lot of NFL rookies were not in attendance, including Raider rookies Joseph Barksdale and Denarius Moore.
When the Raiders drafted LSU offensive tackle Joseph Barksdale back in April, his biggest criticism was that he had a tendency to do the bare minimum. Well, before a single NFL game has been played we are already seeing signs of that philosophy and it can’t be too comforting to his fellow players and coaches.
Denarius Moore suffered from similar criticism. The biggest knock on him, and the likely reason he dropped into the fifth round, is that he would “disappear” in games. He would have great games with big yardage and then have games without a catch. He had five games in his senior season in which he caught two or less balls.
“Disappearing” is a perfect word to describe the actions of these two Raider draft picks thus far. Not only were they not at the Rookie Symposium, they also were not in attendance for the player organized camp last May.
These two aren’t the only Raider rookies not to show up for the symposium — Stefen Wisniewski was also not in attendance. However, Wisniewski was at the mini camp with his new teammates. On top of that, there has never been a question about Wisniewski’s commitment or work ethic.
Four other Raider rookies were in attendance at both the camp as well as the symposium — Taiwan Jones, DaMarcus Van Dyke, Chimdi Chekwa, and Richard Gordon. So why can’t Barksdale and Moore find time in their busy schedule for either of these events?
Work ethic is a term that has become very important to the Raiders of late. They saw firsthand just how easy it can be to squander talent and destroy a promising career through lethargy. So far, Barksdale is quite literally following the same path as former LSU Tiger and Oakland Raider JaMarcus Russell. Better check his tongue to see if it is purple.
Moore “taking plays off” is something former Raider cancer, Randy Moss, was known to do.
Before anyone starts making excuses for these two, we all heard the same excuses for Russell. He was late to camp because he was “closing on a house,” he missed the final team meeting because he “had a family emergency,” while he was spotted drunk in Vegas.
These might seem like big leaps in character judgment for these two, but not showing up for any of these player organized functions shines a light on some red flags they already had. People like to say it is “too soon” to judge them on their actions, but I disagree. Once a player leaves high school, there is no such thing as too soon. The problem is that once it is no longer “too soon,” it is more likely too late.
This team needs high character, hard working players if they hope to continue to improve. These two have shown neither.