This time last year, T.J. Carrie was just a no-name seventh round pick. He was no lock to make the Raiders roster whatsoever.
Boy, how times have changed. Carrie is entering this summer as the team's top cover man after a standout rookie year. And with that, comes an all-business mindset.
"Last year as a rookie, they're willing to give you those mistakes and opportunities to fail because you're learning, getting acclimated to the NFL and to the season and the different aspects of what you have to do," the Ohio product told Silver & Black Times. "But coming into the next (year), you're projected to be a starter. They expect more of a higher level form you as an athlete, so the pressure is definitely building higher."
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Carrie might be built to meet higher expectations. He notched 44 tackles with a pick and eight pass breakups in only four starts last season.
The Raiders want Carrie to stretch that production out for 16 games. He'll have no choice; Oakland's other starting-caliber cornerbacks are DJ Hayden and unproven fourth rounder Keith McGill.
Separately, they're nothing to write home about. Together, and led by Carrie, the group could produce more than the sum of its parts.
"That's why you draft," Carrie said. "You draft to build and bring in younger talent who can fortunately carry the role down the road. So, the expectation for them is just as high as the veterans."
Expectations are sky high for the six-foot cornerback. Carrie can either play like a veteran or regress like a rookie.