The Raiders signed another key member of their draft class, completing a pact with second-round defensive lineman Jihad Ward on Wednesday.
The Illinois grad signed a four-year contract, and is slotted to earn $5,539,798 over the life of the deal, including a $2,222,944 signing bonus.
Ward was selected No. 44 overall in this year’s NFL Draft, and is expected to be a closed end in the base defense and an interior rusher on passing downs.
Ward is athletic for standing 6-foot-5, 297 pounds and is believed to have great potential. He’s relatively inexperienced at his position, with just three seasons as a defensive lineman.
Ward didn’t have many stats in 2015, but his draft stock rose during a standout Senior Bowl week.
Ward should be a rotational player in 2016, though the Raiders are hoping quick development leads to a greater immediate impact. He is excited about working with line coach Jethro Franklin and coordinator Ken Norton Jr. He believes he’ll respond to NFL instruction.
”It’s up to you if you want to learn it or not,” Ward said. “You just have to keep learning it. Some people make mistakes and you just have to learn from it and get better the next day.”