DeAndre Washington, an Oakland Raiders fifth-round draft pick from Texas Tech, has been as good as advertised and appears be settling in nicely as the complementary back for running back Latavius Murray.
Washington showed off his ability both running (eight carries for 43 yards) and receiving in the preseason-opening 31-10 win over Arizona last Friday, and included was a 32-yard gain on a reception when isolated on a linebacker.
"I think that's why they brought me in, to create mismatches against opposing defenses," Washington said. "On that play, they were guarding me with a D-end so I had to make my money on that play."
The Raiders' starting offense didn't do as much on the ground, save for one decent burst by Murray.
But Del Rio expects a big upgrade for the NFL's 28th-ranked rushing attack. Even with the addition of Washington, Del Rio hopes to run the ball enough so that Murray can get another 266 carries - or even more.
"I want to have more rushes. I don't want to have less," Del Rio said. "We want other guys to be involved and run it as well. We never truly established that last year. It had to be good numbers for us to run it well. We want to be able to run it well, period - whether the numbers are good or not."
-- Cory James, a fifth-round draft pick out of Colorado State, has made a strong impression as an inside linebacker and even replaced starter Ben Heeney in a recent practice when Heeney came out due to injury.
"He's picking up our scheme very well," Del Rio said. "He's a guy that's going to be productive. He flies around. He gets to the football. We've been happy with him the entire spring and he had a good showing in his first game."
James said he "made a lot of mistakes but I made some good plays and am happy about that."
Both James and Korey Toomer, a third-year player out of Idaho, played well on special teams in addition to linebacker.
"That's definitely what I'm out here trying to do," Toomer said. "I want to show them that whatever they need me on - special teams, defense. I'm the guy that's able to do it. I pride myself on being athletic and that's what these coaches want to see."
-- The Raiders camp was a short one - just 14 practice sessions - but Del Rio thought overall it was productive.
Camp ended Tuesday, with the team finishing off a brief practice then high-tailing it out of the parking lot for the Bay Area to resume preparation for Thursday's game at Green Bay (8 p.m. ET).
"It's been a good, productive time up here," Del Rio said. "It's been a good place to hold camp. The people here treat us great. The organization does a nice job putting this event on. I'm happy with the way things went."
The Raiders are likely to continue holding their camp in Napa for the foreseeable future. Logistically, having the Napa Marriott next to the practice fields is more conducive to a smooth camp than trying to bus players to and from hotels near their club facility for practices and weight sessions.
-- Quarterback Derek Carr is happy to get back home and be practicing in the club facility, but apparently has gotten used to having Amari Cooper around.
Carr requested Cooper as the roommate so the two could talk football and enhance their on-field connection.
"I'm going to miss Coop, but he can come to the house any day he wants," Carr said. "We have an extra bedroom."