Raiders wide receiver Rico Gafford admits being shocked by the inquire of.
“I’m like, ‘I’m within the National Football League, changing my location appropriate now is one thing that is believe of queer to me,’” Gafford remembers pondering.
As a rookie on the be aware squad hoping to preserve within the league, he kept these thoughts to himself. Gafford, a cornerback, switched aspects of the field and worked as a huge receiver when the Raiders wished help at the location because of an ruin.
Two years later, he has made his first opening-day NFL roster. He credits his capability to focal level entirely on playing offense at some level of the offseason.
“The closing two years I used to be internal and outside of roles, whether it used to be offense or defense,” Gafford said. “So going into this offseason, I knew that I used to be going to be playing wide receiver 100 p.c, and that in present for me to change into a guy that is playing on Sundays, I’d need to entirely commit myself to working on my craft and improving as a receiver.”
Gafford looked in one in vogue-season sport that first season, playing mostly particular teams. He had been launched by the Tennessee Titans after signing as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Wyoming. Gafford used to be added to the Raiders’ be aware squad two days later and made his first NFL look in a Christmas Eve purchase over Denver.
When Gafford returned for his 2d season in 2019, there used to be aloof some uncertainty about where he would match in. He worked mostly at wide receiver and started as soon as more on the be aware squad sooner than making four appearances as an full of life participant. He made one open and caught two passes for 66 yards, including a 49-yard touchdown.
“After I purchased a risk, I appropriate took merit of it,” Gafford said. “So, it used to be believe of a resolution they made, but it used to be one thing that I used to be like, ‘Look, (it’s) Jon Gruden.’ That’s a legendary guy, so no subject he wants me to discontinuance, I’m going to discontinuance it.”
While the 24-Twelve months-archaic Iowa native is beginning to identify himself, he’s aloof willing to discontinuance no subject it takes to retain his location.
“(Two years within the past) I used to be appropriate a tool guy and did no subject the coaches suggested me to discontinuance,” he said. “Gave them a peek and gave it the absolute most life like that I would possibly perhaps perhaps presumably. So, going from my rookie Twelve months to now, I undoubtedly need to be a guy that will perhaps perhaps step on the field the least bit times and play 24/7 and be up each and each Sunday, and that comes correct down to no subject the coaches need to discontinuance.”
That attitude would possibly perhaps perhaps very successfully be retaining him within the league, but it’s velocity that bought him there. Gafford’s 40-yard trudge time is listed at 4.27 seconds, although one scout at his school pro day clocked him unofficially at 4.19.
“He has a form of issues we appropriate can’t coach called velocity,” general supervisor Mike Mayock said.
Gafford now hopes to reward the Raiders for showing faith in him.
“I’m very entirely jubilant and thankful for the coaches believing in me and giving me the different to catch the 53-man roster,” he said.
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