For the first time in a very long time, I am positive about the Raiders NFL draft. Lets look at what each players’ role may be for next years season.
1: Khalil Mack OLB-Buffalo
Most have never seen Mack play but with all that everyone is saying, the Raiders may have drafted the best defensive player in the draft. A high character guy with a great attitude and work ethic, it’s the type of player that you build a defense around. He can play standing up or in a stance and he will be starting day 1.
Strengths: He’s a super fast play-maker who is a great tackler. He dominated in college especially rushing the passer. Potential super star.
Weakness: Buffalo is a small school so the level of competition wasn’t great.
2. Derek Carr QB-Fresno St.
Next years draft has a better mix of QB’s than this years draft in my opinion so a pick here wasn’t life or death. The Raiders though loved Carr’s physical tools. Carr loves football, and he’s mature, and he has a great work ethic. He’ll be on the bench next year with Matt Schaub running the show.
Strength: A rocket for an arm. He can make all the NFL throws. He throws well on the run and is a good leader. Good character guy who is a hard worker.
Weakness: Did not play against top competition and did not have to deal with much of a pass rush for much of the year. In the USC game, he was rushed often and he looked terrible. He’ll have to play better against a rush.
3. Gabe Jackson G-Mississippi St.
Jackson was a total steal. He was considered the best guard in the draft and many felt he was a for sure second round pick. He did not give up a sack in the last 2 years and was dominant at times.
Strength: Good all around player who has great size. Another hard worker who can start right away. This may complete the Raiders OL.
Weakness: Has to keep his weight in check but otherwise he’s a solid player.
4. Justin Ellis NT-Louisiana Tech
Ellis was a good run stopper and was a load to block at times. He can become too heavy and it limited his play due to fatigue issues so he has to keep his weight down. He’ll provide depth for the DL.
Strength: Strong and physical who is a load to block at times.
Weakness: One dimensional bull rusher who needs to get into better shape and learn to stay in his gap.
4. Keith McGill CB-Utah
A physically gifted athlete who played well at CB for the Utes. He’s a big corner; 6′ 3″, 210 lb: who has a lot of potential.
Strength: He’s fast, athletic and a good cover corner. He is big and has great size.
Weakness: He’s not very physical and not a very good tackler. He will have to improve his toughness which for some DB’s, is pretty hard to do in the pro’s. Next year he will probably be a special teams player who will provide depth.
7. TJ Carrie CB-Ohio
A good athlete and cover guy, Carrie was also a good special teams returner due to his speed. He may make the team due to his special teams play.
Strength: Athletic, fast, good special teams returner.
Weakness: Poor technique and only occasional ball hawk skills at times. Needs to improve his football instincts.
7. Shelby Harris DL-Illinois St.
Harris has talent but he’s had his problems. He was kicked off the team last year for violating team rules and hasn’t played for a year. He’s also had weight issues and at times get’s out of shape. He has good numbers though and is a producer. If he can get his act together, he may make the team and provide depth. Harris had 7 sacks in 2012.
Strength: Has shown off his talent in college with good numbers in the games he’s played in. He’s a good tackler who can stuff the line of scrimmage.
Weakness: Needs to mature and keep in shape. He needs to improve his technique as well.
7. Jonathan Dowling DB-Western Kentucky
He is tall and lanky and is a really good athlete. He has good cover skills and good football instincts with good recover speed. Will be pressed to make the team though.
Strength: Good athlete with good cover skills and speed.
Weakness: He’s not physical at all. He’s easily blocked and over matched at the line of scrimmage. If he could get into the weight room and become tougher, he could make the team.