ALAMEDA, Calif. — Neiko Thorpe is one of the reasons why NFL scouting departments keep digging.
Thorpe was signed by the Raiders essentially as an afterthought as a “future” signing in January. Thorpe, who spent time in the CFL after getting cut by the Chiefs last year, has been anything but an afterthought in training camp though. He has a strong chance not only to be on the 53-man roster, but to be part of the regular-season cornerback rotation.
Oakland coach Dennis Allen has raved about Thorpe, 24, in recent days. On Sunday, Allen credited Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie and his staff for signing the big, confident Thorpe, who the team first used at safety before moving him to cornerback.
“I think his physical ability gives him an opportunity to have success,” Allen said of Thorpe. “I mean, you look at kind of the trend in the National Football League now with the big corners. This guy is a big corner, long arms. He’s rangy, he can run. So, I think he’s got corner skills and really he’s got a corner’s mindset. There’s a little bit to that, kind of sense of confidence, maybe a little air of arrogance about yourself as far as knowing that you can go out and cover guys. I think to be successful in this league, you’ve got to kind of have a little bit of that, and he’s got it.”