2016 Oakland Raiders Mock Draft v.6 (FINAL)

Begin here to start the slide show of Raider Watch's 2016 Oakland Raider Mock Draft.

(* - All projected draft rounds were provided by nfldraftscout.com in conjunction with cbssports.com)
Round 1-14 (#14)     
   SS Darron Lee 
Height: 6'00 ¾  Weight: 232lbs  40 (10 split): 4.47 (1.54)


The Raiders draft Lee as a hybrid LB-S.
Round 2-13 (#44)
      DT/DE Jon Bullard 
Height: 6'03"  Weight: 285lbs  40 (10 split): 4.93 (1.65)


In my opinion, Bullard is best suited a 3-technique DT.
Round 3-12 (#75)     
  LB  Joshua Perry 
Height:
6'03 ¾"  Weight: 254lbs
  40 (10 split): 4.68 (1.64)

In the past I have lambasted Perry for not playing downhill and attacking the LoS, until I've begun to reconsider Perry for what his is. Perry is an off-the-ball LB who happens to be built like a defensive lineman. Perry's coverage needs work but he can be stout at the point of attack (PoA). He stacks linemen well but needs to use his hands better and shed.
Round 4-16 (#114)
   TE
Jerell Adams
Height: 6'05 Weight: 247lbs  40 (10 split): 4.64 (1.64)

Some will not understand this pick but Adams is arguably BPA at this point. Adams and Warford compliment each other well and the Raiders would implement tons of double TE sets. Think Gronk & Hernandez or Gronk & Bennett!
Round 5-4 (#143) - via DALL
        RB Daniel Lasco 
Height: 6'00 ¼"  Weight: 209lbs
  40 (10 split): 4.46 (1.54)

Lasco is a RB with excellent H/W/S with lots of production operating out of the shotgun in 2014.
Round 5-15 (#154)
WR
Marquez North 
Height: 6'02 ½"  Weight: 223lbs  40 (10 split): 4.48 (1.60)

Marquez North is one of my favorite WR developmental prospects in the draft. Not only does his stock represent value but tremendous developmental potential as well.  If you are the kind of draftnik enthusiast that is intrigued by prospects that become better professional players than collegiate ones then you understand the analogy that North may be the next Chris Cooley. North's ceiling isn't too high but North has found his stock stunted by injuries that derailed a college career that was short but has injected North into Volunteer lore with spectacular highlight reel catches.

At the 2016 Senior Bowl the Raiders interviewed UCLA WR Jordan Payton. I write this because there will be those who would suggest that the Raiders are set at WR with Crabs, Coop, Holmes & Roberts but that interview suggests that the front office is open to addressing the depth at the position and could carry as many as 6 WRs on the active roster. UCLA's Payton is projected as a 3rd rounder, North has a better H/W/S ratio and is a more dynamic player provided he's healthy. In addition, North has a Raider connection playing for Tennessee which is the alma mater of both McKenzie and Clinkscales.
Round 6-19 (#194) - via IND
S Jayron Kearse 
Height:
6'04"  Weight: 216lbs
  40 (10 split): 4.62 (1.62)

I love this kids potential as a developmental safety. I trust that secondary coaches Robertson & Woodson can do wonders with Kearse.
Round 7-13 (#234)     
LS Nathan Theus 
Height:
6'02 ⅝"  Weight: 243lbs  40 (10 split): 4.94 (1.74)


Condo is getting up there and expensive . . . .
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5 Possible Solutions to the Raider’s RT Problem

The Raiders have spent a lot of capital shoring up it's offensive line. McKenzie always promised a bullying offensive line and, true to form, the Raiders now boast arguably the largest offensive line in the NFL with the addition of OG/OT Kelechi Osemele. By most media accounts the Raiders are "winning the off-season". Big things are expected from this unit and OL coach Mike Tice but injuries at RT threaten to derail the party before it starts. Starting RT Howard, who had a breakout season finishing ranked as the 15th most effective OT according to PFF, is still out with a knee injury and promising OT Menelik Watson is coming off an Achilles tear that can take up to 18 months to fully heal.

In should be noted that Menelik is in a contract year and will be a free agent in 2017. He needs to do something NOW if he wants to be with the team long term. McKenzie likes durable players and Watson has been nicked up every season. Perhaps the front office does something with RT and lets Watson walk. In addition, it would be hard to justify keeping Howard as a $6.4M back up in 2017 if the Raiders are forced to spend a high draft pick on an OT and he performs well.

How McKenzie & Co. responds will keep us on the edge of our seats on draft day and possibly beyond. The question at hand is will the injuries at RT impact the Raiders big board on draft day? Here are 5 possible RT solutions.
   OT Jack Conklin  Height: 6'05 ¾   Weight: 308lbs  40 (10 split): 4.98 (1.76)

Kudos to Mr. Conklin who has transformed himself from a former walk-on at MSU into a potential Top 15 selection in the NFL draft. In part, Conklin has accomplished this feat by having an outstanding NFL Combine where he showed significantly more quickness and agility than anticipated. Despite his Combine performance however, Conklin is widely projected to begin his career at RT because he has technique issues that need to be resolved.

Conklin would give the Raiders at boost a RT but could potentially become the LTotF as early as next season. However, scheme fit & technique are issues. Philosophically, the Raiders want a physically dominating offensive line unit. Already a great run-blocker, with typical Michigan State toughness, at 308lbs Conklin would be the runt of the group at OT. However, Conklin has the frame to carry more weight and OL coach Mike Tice has proven he is quite capable of doing wonders with technique. The only issue is stock price. In my opinion, Conklin is a draft day riser primarily because of his potential to play LT and likely won't be available at #14, but if he is the Raiders should strongly consider him.

Cost: Top 15 pick
Probability:
10% - If Conklin falls this far he definitely has to be in the conversation for BPA.
Endorsement: Lukewarm
- Not an exciting pick but definitely not a bad one. It's a pick with upside.
      OT Taylor Decker  Height: 6'07"  Weight: 310lbs  40 (10 split): 5.21 (1.80)

Pre-combine OSU OT Taylor was one of my favorite prospects heading into the draft. I wrote about him extensive HERE. While I still feel he is going to be a solid prospect, I think Taylor's best suited position is RT. Like Conklin, Decker also has the frame to carry more weight in addition to having solid H/W/S ratio. However, his lateral agility isn't elite and is probably a RT in the NFL. Decker doesn't have the upside of Conklin but he would solve the Raider's RT situation in both the long and short term.

Cost: Top 15 Pick
Probability:
3% - Decker at #14 would probably signal a grave concern about RT
Endorsement: Tepid
- Decker has less upside than Conklin which is reflected in the endorsement.
     OT Germain Ifedi  Height: 6'05 ¾"  Weight: 324lbs  40 (10 split): 5.25 (1.78)

Texas A&M OT Germain Ifedi is an intriguing prospect that fits the Raider's mold. Ifedi is a naturally large man, a physically intimidating road grader, however, he has technical problems with pass blocking that are typical of offensive lineman playing in a college spread offense. If OL coach Tice could fix those issues, Ifedi has the versatility to play multiple positions on the o-line and could be the long-term solution at RT.

Cost: 2nd Round
Probability: 15% - Historically McKenzie & Co. has focused on prospects like Ifedi , very athletic, high ceiling whose stock has been stunted for some reason (Menelik Watson, Mario Edwards Jr.), in the 2nd round. The 2nd round is where typically the front office has gambled on 1st round potential while also reducing the associated risk.
Endorsement: Warm - Once projected 1st rounder with tremendous athleticism, upside, versatility but with technique issues
raidersOG Jon Feliciano  Height: 6'04"  Weight: 323lbs  40 (10 split): 5.33 (1.89)

The Raiders definitely believe in a "next man up" philosophy. In this scenario, Feliciano is the next man up. Based on skill set and experience Feliciano is probably best suited for RG, Jackson would remain at LG and KO would be RT. It would not be the glitzy unit Raider Nation was expecting but this patchwork offensive line could save assets while allowing OTs Watson & Howard to get healthy. The success of the unit would hinge greatly on the performance of highly touted free agent Kelechi Osemele at RT but also reduces the growing pains of starting an inexperienced Feliciano at RG.

Cost: $0
Probability: 70%
Endorsement: Cool - I believe in not overreacting to injuries. Feliciano is next man up. It's an opportunity to get a good look at Feliciano as an interior swing OL. He'll probably play some OC in 2016 as well.
       49ers OT Anthony Davis  Height: 6'05"  Weight: 323lbs  40 (10 split): 5.37 (1.82)

In a bit of a curve ball I wanted to suggest that perhaps the Raiders should trade a late round draft pick or either of currently injured RTs Howard or Watson to the 49ers for the rights to embattled retired RT Anthony Davis who is bumping heads with GM Balke about his reinstatement. Anthony "Bam" Davis wasn't playing an April Fool's joke when he posted:

Later, it was leaked that Davis was on the trading block and Davis responded:

The 49er drama continues and the Raiders could again be in a position to capitalize. Menelik Watson will be a free agent in 2017. If the Raiders aren't confident in Watson's durability or if Howard projects to be too expensive moving forward, it could be beneficial to both teams to facilitate a trade as the relationship between Balke and Davis is tenuous.

Cost: 7 round and/or OT Menelik Watson
Probability: 2%
Endorsement: Hot - This deal won't happen but it is intriguing to think about if Feliciano fails to distinguish himself. Mark channels his inner Al Davis circa the 90's as he continues to position the Raiders as the premiere destination of disgruntled 49ers.
Raider Nation let me know what you think!

What should the Raiders do about RT?

  • Trade a late round pick for 49ers Anthony "Bam" Davis (100%, 1 Votes)
  • Nothing. One of Howard or Watson will be healthy enough to play. (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Draft Jack Conklin at #14. (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Draft Taylor Decker at #14 if Conklin is gone. (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Draft Germain Ifedi in the 2nd Round. (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Next man up! Start Feliciano at RG and Osemele at RT. (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 1

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RaiDeR WaTCH: 2016 Oakland Raider Mock Draft v.5

Begin here to start the slide show of Raider Watch's 2016 Oakland Raider Mock Draft.

(* - All projected draft rounds were provided by nfldraftscout.com in conjunction with cbssports.com)
Round 1-14 (#14)     
   OLB Darron Lee  Height: 6'00 ¾  Weight: 232lbs  40 (10 split): 4.47 (1.54)

There's no denying that the Raiders seem intent on focusing on the defensive side of of the ball in 2016 after similarly focusing on the offense in 2015, highlighted by the surprise signing of SAM LB Bruce Irvin to play the coveted LEO position.  With the additional signing of Cover 3 CB, Sean Smith, the defense is looking eerily similar to Seattle's 43 Under. However, despite having addressed many of their biggest needs there are still some glaring holes. Namely, LB (a position that fans overwhelmingly wanted addressed this offseason) almost seems an afterthought while basking in the glow of what could be the most impactful free agent class the Raiders have seen in over a decade.

Most of the fanbase debate has been between UCLA's Myles Jack, who tore his meniscus last season and hopes to be ready by training camp,  and Notre Dame's Jaylon Smith, who has suffered a career threatening knee injury. If both were healthy I'd probably be having that debate as well, but then it would also be highly unlikely that either prospect would be available at #14. Hence, my favorite LB prospect is Ohio State's Darron Lee (6'01" 232lbs 40: 4.47) who is very reminiscent of Seattle LB Bobby Wagner (6'00" 241lbs 40: 4.46) as both have outstanding athleticism and are run and hit LBs. In my opinion, Lee is perfect for KNJ's defensive system.

LB Heeney is a fan favorite whose consensus is that if kept clean can more than adequately hold down the MLB position. However, for a moment imagine that a more dynamic player with more range and athleticism is in the same system and "kept clean". That player would be Darron Lee, who could also play WILL.  In the past I have argued, that despite being arguably my favorite prospect in the draft, that #14 was too high to draft this type of player. I'm reconsidering that for two reasons: 1) The absence of Jaylon Smith will prop up Lee's value and 2) in today's NFL Lee might be the future of the position. Lee is still learning the position but early returns suggest the kid is a natural.
Round 2-13 (#44)
      FS Vonn Bell  Height: 5'10 ¾  Weight: 199lbs  40 (10 split): 4.51 (N/A)

Vonn Bell is my highest rated safety prospect in the draft. Safety position titles are essentially ambiguous as responsibilities can change based on offensive group sets and/or formations. Bell is officially listed as a SS, however, given his skill set he is probably better suited for FS in most NFL secondaries. Bell is lauded for his ball skills, football IQ, man coverage skills and his sure tackling. The consensus of criticisms on Bell are questions about his size, physicality and willingness in the run game, all criticisms that would be less of a factor at FS.

Bell, who didn't run the 40 at the combine, displayed prototypical FS speed with a 4.51 40 at OSU's Pro Day. Bell has prototypical size for a FS (Ed Reed 5'11 201lbs 40: 4.57 or Weddle 5'11 203lbs 40: 4.56). Bell is considered a sure tackler but a more technical than intimidating hitter. Again, traits which are better suited to FS. Lastly, few collegiate safeties have as much experience or played at a high-level as a single-high safety, which is a secondary set that the Raiders often deploy, as Bell. The Raiders can only sign so many high level free agents and having missed out on acquiring FS Weddle, the Raiders should place a priority on drafting Bell.
Round 3-12 (#75)     
  DT  Chris Jones  Height: 6'05 ¾"  Weight: 310lbs  40 (10 split): 5.02 (1.70)

The enigma that is DT Chris Jones. Jones had games where he was absolutely dominate, in particular the Missouri game, where he appeared to be a 1st round selection. In other games Jones did not dominate despite his impressive measurables and his ability to play multiple positions along the defensive line. Often, while disruptive, Jones simply failed to complete big plays that ultimately made Jones appear less productive than he was. Some have Jones going as high as the 1st because of his Combine performance, measurables and big play ability but Jones was only a starter for one season and there are questions about his consistency. Jones has been characterized as a splash player who flashes big play ability but also disappears in between.  The 2016 NFL Draft is absolutely loaded with NFL defensive linemen, hence, I have Jones slipping into the 3rd. If Jones happens not to be available there trust that there will be numerous other intriguing options at DT in the 3rd.
Round 4-16 (#114)
   RB
Kenyan Drake  Height: 6'00 ⅝"  Weight: 210lbs
  40 (10 split): 4.45 (1.64)

Latavius Murray didn't play at all his rookie season because he had not fully recovered from a bad knee injury he sustained in college. In 2014, Latavius, who was coming off a redshirt season, looked like a potential homerun hitter in limited play behind Darren McFadden and MJD, who were floundering.  Fans could not understand why Latavius could not overtake DMC. Going into 2015, many fans were ecstatic that Latavius would develop into the bell cow RB he showed flashes of, yet to the bewilderment of many, the Raiders hotly pursued what was FA RB DeMarco Murray (bad judgement aside) before Lavativus took a starter's snap. Luckily, DeMarco signed elsewhere and became one of the least effective FA signings ever. But failing in Philly and having Latavius go to the ProBowl didn't stop the Raiders AGAIN from pursuing DeMarco via trade when he wanted out of Philly. The attraction to DeMarco boggles my mind (before or after Dallas) but that's beside the point. In addition, the Raiders were rumored to be vetting Tampa FA RB Doug Martin, who eventually signed for big money. Neither of these big money RBs feel like backups that will JUST split time with Latavius. JDR was recently quoted as saying the Raiders will "Get some help" at RB. The fact that Latavius Murray is in a contract year cannot be lost . Clearly, at the minimum, the Raiders are adamant about adding serious competition at the RB position.
Capture

Moving forward, there are a number of intriguing options at RB in the 4th but the one with most upside that could be there in the 4th is Alabama RB Kenyan Drake. I try not to characterize schools but usually I would stay away from an Alabama RB because of the mileage they have when they enter the NFL but Drake was never the featured back, thus possibly preserving his best carries for the NFL and he is an excellent receiver out of the backfield. Drake has feature back qualities for the type of offense the Raiders wish to run but if he is to get significant time he must improve his pass protection as rumors suggest Drake was routinely "blown up" in pass protection at the Senior Bowl. Weak pass protection will cause Drake to slide on draft day despite his versatile skill set.
Round 5-4 (#143) - via DALL
    S Jayron Kearse  Height: 6'04"  Weight: 216lbs  40 (10 split): 4.62 (1.63)

I've written extensively about how it is my personal opinion that DC Norton Jr. is running a near clone of Seattle's defense. One component of Seattle's defense that is the hardest to emulate is the presence of a Kam Chancellor-esque enforcer roaming in the 2nd tier of the defense. It is very difficult to find a player of Chancellor's rare combination of length and physicality. Despite all the talent Seattle has amassed on the defensive side of the ball it seems that Chancellor ending his holdout was the key to Seattle's mid-season resurgence.

Hence, it is of no surprise the Raiders were rumored by beat writers to be interested in Bengal's free agent S George Iloka as he is reminiscent of Chancellor. In addition, there is great draft buzz about the Raider's affinity for Boise State S Darian Thompson, who is a ball-hawking enforcer safety. If the Raider's are looking for an enforcer for their secondary one of my favorite options is Clemson's Jayron Kearse.

Kearse's stock once peaked around the late 1st and has cascaded to late 4th - early 5th. On paper, Kearse's measurables are Chancellor-esque, which in itself suggests that these types of safety prospects are not for every system. Where Kearse is lacking in relationship to other prospects of this ilk is in mental aspects of the game such as read and reaction, disposition and attitude. Kearse is a high-cut, tight-hipped, long lanky guy. He will never do well playing man against smaller, quicker men but he does need to take better angles in tackling and diagnose run plays quicker.

Understand that while I am an advocate of Kearse at this point in the draft he needs a lot of work and the presence of Marcus Robinson and Rod Woodson being on the staff do play a part in the attractiveness of this pick. Kearse is not a day one plug and play prospect and there will be growing pains. I project it may not all come together for Kearse in the NFL until his contract year.
Round 5-15 (#154)
WR
Marquez North  Height: 6'02 ½"  Weight: 223lbs  40 (10 split): 4.48 (1.60)

Marquez North is one of my favorite WR developmental prospects in the draft. Not only does his stock represent value but tremendous developmental potential as well.  If you are the kind of draftnik enthusiast that is intrigued by prospects that become better professional players than collegiate ones then you understand the analogy that North may be the next Chris Cooley. North's ceiling isn't too high but North has found his stock stunted by injuries that derailed a college career that was short but has injected North into Volunteer lore with spectacular highlight reel catches.

At the 2016 Senior Bowl the Raiders interviewed UCLA WR Jordan Payton. I write this because there will be those who would suggest that the Raiders are set at WR with Crabs, Coop, Holmes & Roberts but that interview suggests that the front office is open to addressing the depth at the position and could carry as many as 6 WRs on the active roster. UCLA's Payton is projected as a 3rd rounder, North has a better H/W/S ratio and is a more dynamic player provided he's healthy. In addition, North has a Raider connection playing for Tennessee which is the alma mater of both McKenzie and Clinkscales.
Round 6-19 (#194) - via IND
CB  Ryan Smith  Height: 5'11"  Weight: 189lbs  40 (10 split): 4.47 (N/A)

No Oakland Raider mock draft would be complete without the obligatory small school prospect that McKenzie & Co are adept at finding.
"During the highlight event, the 40-yard dash, Smith posted the 12th-fastest time at his position at 4.47 seconds. He also tied for third in the 60-yard shuttle (11.18 seconds), placed sixth in the three-cone drill (6.88 seconds), tied for seventh in the bench press (18 reps of 225 pounds), tied for eighth in the 20-yard shuttle (4.09 seconds), tied for 12th in the vertical jump (36.0 inches) and tied for 16th in the broad jump (122.0 inches). After his on-field drills on Wednesday inside NCCU's O'Kelly-Riddick Stadium, Smith was surrounded by NFL scouts, who fired off a bunch of questions. Many of them also sought out some one-on-one time with the all-MEAC performer. According to Aaron Wilson, who covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle, Smith is "a fast-rising NFL draft prospect." In Wilson's article on NationalFootballPost.com, he reports that Smith has private workouts scheduled with the Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions, New York Jets, New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens and Carolina Panthers. He also has visits slated with the Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins and Minnesota Vikings."http://nccueaglepride.com/news/2016/3/23/nccu-football-pro-day-draws-scouts-from-26-nfl-teams.aspx

Smith was all-conference at CB and as a return specialist. In 11 passes defended (which led the team), Smith intercepted 2 and broke up 9. Smith also ranked 10th in the nation as a kick returner averaging 28.1 yards per kick off return. Tabbed a "draft riser", Smith may get drafted as high as the 4th.
Round 7-13 (#234)     
WR Jalin Marshall  Height: 5'10 ½"  Weight: 200lbs  40 (10 split): 4.60 (1.59)

The Raiders have been trying to shore up it's return game for a number of years running the gambit from Joshua Cribbs (who built his career as a returner) to breaking down and using their high profile WR draftee Amari Cooper as a punt returner. Return specialist and special teams ace Taiwan Jones has proven too brittle to be the long term solution and WR Andre Dubose (who may not return to form) is unproven and untested.

Hence, I would suggest the Raiders look at OSU's gadget athlete Jalin Marshall. Marshall ran a 4.60 40 at the combine so he isn't a linear speedster but he does possess elite lateral agility and vision. Marshall is a stocky 5'10 ½" slot WR built like a RB yet he has short area burst as his 1.59 10-yard split might suggest. Do not let Marshall's pedestrian NFL Combine distract you, there is a place in the league for a prospect like this with late round value. Marshall could solve the return problem for a number of years.
Raider Nation let your voice be heard and tell me what you think about this mock draft!
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5 Free Agents the Raiders Should Target in 2016

It's 2016 and the Raiders have not had a winning record in well over a decade. However, the atmosphere is thick with anticipation that the Raiders are on the verge of challenging for a playoff spot. Within the division, the Chargers are in disarray, the Chiefs are competitive but the Raiders beat them down the stretch, and often Super Bowl winners struggle the preceding season. Bronco's Von Miller is going to make QB money and they may not have a QB. All of these reasons, in addition to the second most cap space, has Raider Nation giddy.

The following are five free agents the Raiders should target that will allow them to go BPA (best player available) in the draft and hopefully return to prominence.
broncosDE Malik Jackson   Age: 26   Position: 5-tech DE   Est. Contract: 5yrs/$60M

In all honesty, Malik Jackson is probably the Raiders only chance to land a big named free agent. The California state tax code puts California teams at a distinct disadvantage and the Raider mystique has long been tarnished. As recently as 2014 the Raiders were viewed as the least desirable free agency destination in a players poll. Hence, the Raiders usually have to overpay to attract decent players.

Don't be misled, Jackson will not come cheaply. However, provided the money is essentially the same, in Jackson's case he has numerous strong ties that could lead him to the Raiders. He is from Los Angeles and played two years at Southern Cal before transferring to Tennessee, which happens to be the alma mater of both GM Reggie McKenzie and Dir. of Player Personnel Joey Clinkscales. But the connections don't stop there, Malik developed the most under the watchful eye of Raider's current Head Coach, Jack Del Rio. Some suggest that a lucrative contract and a friendly relationship may woo Jackson away from Denver.

Realistically, there are other DE options such as Olivier Vernon and Mario Williams but the Raiders are unlikely to make a major play for either. Vernon has played his entire football career in the state of Florida where there is no state tax. It would take a tremendous contract to pry Vernon out of Florida. Mario Williams could be an option but historically under McKenzie the Raiders are usually late entrants into free agency and Mario is looking to make a decision quickly.
titans LB Zack Brown   Age: 26   Position: WILL or MIKE  Est. Contract: N/A

Last season no team in the NFL was gutted more effectively by tight ends than the Raider's defense so it comes as no surprise that Raider Nation desperately wants the LB position addressed in a major way. Zack Brown is a highly underrated option that the Raiders should vet as a possible addition to man either the middle of the defense or weak side LB. While he is not as well known as Denver's Danny Trevathan, who will probably set the market at WILL LB, Zack Brown has range and can be very effective if kept clean.
texansOG Brandon Brooks   Age: 26    Position: RG   Est. Contract: 5yrs/$40M

In short order OL coach Mike Tice has taken the Raider's 16th ranked offensive line efficiency rating in 2014 to 6th in 2015. All the while, Tice's offensive line carried one of the least effective OGs in the NFL in J'Marcus Webb. Hence, Ravens OG/OT Kelechi Osemele has become a popular name among hopeful Raider fans who have even suggested signing Osemele as the LTotF (Left Tackle of the Future). However, that would be a tremendously risky move based on such a small sample of games where Osemele played acceptable at LT due to injuries.

In my opinion a much simpler option would be to go after Houston OG Brandon Brooks who unexpectedly made it to free agency and has extensive experience at RG.
bengalsS George Iloka   Age: 25   Position: SS   Est. Contract: 4yrs/$24M

There is often a lot of debate within Raider Nation about how much of the Ken Norton Jr's defense is a clone of Seattle's, in my opinion, a LOT of it. A couple of aspects of the Legion of Boom (the moniker of Seattle's secondary) that makes the defense so effective is their ability to consistently get a high level of of safety play from both positions and how their scouting department is ability to maximize value at CB.

Hence, I am abhorrently against using the Raider's first round pick on a CB. The Raider's scouting department needs to be able to find a Cover 3 CB either later in the draft or in free agency (spoiler alert). However, it is significantly harder to get high level safety production. Bengals S George Iloka is a prospect I really liked coming out but he definitely had to work on his craft to become the player he is. Iloka can adequately play both safety positions and he uses his length and range to change field dimensions. In my opinion, Iloka can be the Raider's Kam Chancellor-esque presence they desperately need in the secondary. Iloka will not be cheap and the Raiders, who place a premium on value, will have to overpay but the Raiders have gaping holes at both safety positions and must solidify those positions if they want to be competitive.
seahawksCB Jeremy Lane   Age: 25   Position: CB   Est. Contract: N/A

Lane has a down season after a promising start to his career. He began 2015 on the PuP List and was unable to get into a rhythm. One year removed for a horrific injury, Lane should be fully recovered and be able to participate in Training Camp. A prototypical Cover 3 CB, if Lane returns to form he could represent a huge return on the Raider's investment in him.
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RaiDeR WaTCH: 2016 Oakland Raider Mock Draft v.4 (Post-Combine)

Front office transactions

raidersOG Khalif Barnes 33yo 1yr/$1.5M – The Raiders are hurting at OG depth.

 raidersOLB Aldon Smith 27yo – currently under contract due to suspension; 2017 UFA

OT Donald Penn 32yo unsigned

FS Charles Woodson 39yo retired

DE Justin Tuck 32yo retired

WR Rod Streater 27yo unsigned

WR Andre Holmes 27yo unsigned

C Tony Bergstrom 29yo unsigned

FS Taylor Mays 27yo unsigned

WR Jermey Ross 27yo unsigned

LS Thomas Gafford 32 unsigned

FAST Free Agency

Last season the headliner in free agency was on the offensive side of the ball, this season it’s the defenses’ turn to receive such attention.

billsDE Mario Williams – The second most pivotal acquisition of the off-season. This traditional 9-tech 43 DE would be the perfect complimentary piece to Khalil Mack’s game. The Raiders would instantly have the best defensive line in the NFL. Either player can effectively rush from either side of the ball with either his hand in the dirt or standing. Don’t put to much stock into who’s rushing from what side.

— UPDATE —

The Bills plan to lock up Cordy Glenn by franchise tag if necessary. Hence, the Bills cannot afford to keep Williams aside from the fact their relationship with Williams is now toxic. Williams has stated he is willing to take a pay cut. Malik Jackson has multiple ties to the Raiders. However, GM Elway has made keeping Jackson in the fold a priority.

 SS George Iloka – Style and stature very reminiscent of SEA SS Kam Chancellor. Can play either safety position.

–UPDATE–

Word right now is that Iloka has a decent chance to reach free agency. Spotrac.com calculates Iloka’s value near 4yrs/$24M

seahawksCB Jeremy Lane – Quality value based CB signing.

–UPDATE–

It appears the Rams have made resigning CB Trumaine Johnson a priority.

Quick NFL Mock Draft

(1)titans  OSU DE Joey Bosa –  Current Titans LT Lewan was a top 15 LT in 2015 and a very young player. The Titans already have their cornerstone OT. This one is easy, the Titans draft best player in the draft who is also the most marketable and probably has the highest floor. It’s a no-brainer.

(2)browns  Ole’ Miss OT Laremy Tunsil – Current LT Joe Thomas has been hinting he wants out for years. Drafting Tunsil makes Thomas expendable and frees up money to resign RT Schwartz. Possibly, Thomas could be traded later for the assets to acquire a QB later in this draft or the next.


 

** TRADE **

(Note: This trade will occur immediately after the conclusion of the 2016 draft)

browns Browns get: 2017 1st rd pick

raiders Raiders get: OT Joe Thomas


 

(3)chargers  FSU CB Jalen Ramsey – Arguably the most transcendent player in the draft falls in the bolts lap.

(4)cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliot – The Cowboys shake up sports analytics and draft a transcendent player at RB giving the Cowboys a dynamic offense.

(5)jaguarsClemson DE Shaq Lawson – Jags go with the best edge rusher available to pair with 2015 1st rounder OLB/DE Dante Fowler

(6)ravens Alabama DT A’Shawn Robinson – GM Ozzie Newsome LOVES his BAMA Boys and Robinson is going to be a good one.

(7)49ers Cal QB Jared Goff – Keapernick wants out. 49ers don’t want the PR associated with the last time they needed a QB and passed on the on the best prospect from Cal.

(8)dolphins North Dakota QB Carson Wentz – QB isn’t want Miami goes into the draft looking for until one falls in their lap.

(9)buccaneersFlorida CB Vernon Hargreaves III – CB is a position of need and TB loves prospects from Florida. Hargreaves had a down season but he’ll likely shine at the combine.

(10)giantsOle’ Miss WR LaQuon Treadwell – With Cruz unsure to return to form the Giants now have a hammer & sickle combination at WR.

(11)bearsNotre Dame OT Ronnie Stanley – Now that Cutler is playing better the Bears need to protect him.

(12)saintsMemphis QB Paxton Lynch – QBotF to be slowly groomed behind Brees.

(13)eaglesMichigan State OT Jack Conklin – LT Peters is 34yrs old and expensive. Lane is younger and extremely athletic swings over to the left. Conklin slides in at RT.


 

** TRADE **

raidersRaiders get: 2016 #22 & #52 (Total trade value: 1160 pts)

texansTexans get: 2016 #14 (Total trade value: 1100 pts)


 

(14)texansPenn State QB Christian Hackenberg – Houston squashed rumors they were interested in trading for Keapernick. The Texans would content to wait on hackenberg to fall to them until there’s a run a QBs. It’s imperative to ahead of the QB needy Rams in the draft.

(15)ramsClemson CB Mackensie Alexander – Janoris Jenkins is gone and Trumaine Johnson is the CB they apparently covet.

(16)lionsBaylor DT Andrew Billings – The Lions need an interior pass rush.

(17)falconsUCLA LB Myles Jack – The Falcons desperately need a LB with range. Jack can play either Mike or Will.

(18)coltsIndiana OT Jason Spriggs – It is imperative the Colts protect Luck.

(19)billsOregon DE DeForest Buckner – Rex does what he usually does in the draft. . . defensive line.

(20)jetsGeorgia OLB Leonard Floyd – The Jets need to get more QB pressures.

(21)washingtonAlabama ILB Reggie Ragland – This old school thumper is perfect for their defense.

 

Oakland Raiders Mock Draft

Round one

(22) *  OLB Darron Lee l Height: 6’01 ¼” l Weight: 232lbs l 40: 4.47 l Yr: rSo

Reminiscent of: Bucs OLB Lavonte David (2nd rd; 58th overall ’12)

2016 Outlook: Starting WILL

*(via Houston)

LB Darron Lee

Lee is a sure tackler with outstanding range and athleticism. Based on his unique skill set Lee is one of my favorite value based selections for a position of need for the Raiders. Of the coverage LBs available in the draft Lee is the best option, Lee has fluid hips and with a 4.47 40 he was faster than all but 5 WRs at the combine. In this mock the Raiders trade down while also acquiring one of the best talents in the draft.

Round Two

(44)    OG Germain Ifedi l Height: 6’05 ¾” l Weight: 324lbs l 40: 5.25 l Yr: rJr

Reminiscent of: Ravens OG Kelechi Osemele (2nd rd; 60th overall ’12)

2016 Outlook: Starting RG

OG/OT Germain Ifedi

I’m very weary of Texas A&M players as the tend to struggle mightily in the pros in pass protection coming from a college spread offense. However, in this particular case Ifedi’s tremendous athleticism cannot be ignored, in addition the presence of OL coach Mike Tice. Rumors suggest that the Raiders would be very interested in Osemele should he reach FA. Rather than engage in a bidding war, perhaps the Raiders opt for Osemele’s doppelganger.

(52)**   FS Vonn Bell l Height: 5’10 ¾” l Weight: 199lbs l 40: DNP l Yr: Jr

Reminiscent of: Former Colts SS Mike Doss (2nd rd; 58th overall ’03)

2016 Outlook: Starting FS

**(via Houston)

SS Vonn Bell

With the trade down the Raiders acquire a crucial additional pick. The Raiders are hemorrhaging at multiple positions on defense and the additional pick would go a long way towards addressing multiple needs.

With the 52nd pick the Raider acquire what is considered to be the best safety in the draft. The Raiders run a single high safety which Bell is very experienced in running. He is also very adept at man coverage and is annually near the top in team tackles. I think Bell can make the transition to FS easily in today’s NFL but can, and will, play either safety position easily. Imo, Bell is Mike Doss 2.0 who amassed 101 tackles his rookie season.


“Coach Ash told me at the beginning of the week that my performance could make or break the team,” Bell said. “I had to be able to play the deep balls and tackle very well because I’m the one high safety … just me and him having that conversation, I told him I could chow down for him.”

http://www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/vonn_bell_854117.html


 


A two-year starter at safety, Bell lined up mostly as a single-high and nickel safety in Ohio State’s secondary and emerged as a defensive playmaker for the Buckeyes during the team’s national title run in 2014.

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/2060762/vonn-bell


 

 

Round THree

(75)    SS Jayron Kearse l Height: 6’04” l Weight: 216lbs l 40: 4.62 l Yr: Jr

Reminiscent of: Bengals S George Iloka (5th rd; 167th overall ’12)

2016 Outlook: Depth

S Jayron Kearse

This pick needs a lot of explanation as many will question why the Raiders would use a draft pick and free acquisition on the same position. FA Iloka has been transcendent for the Bengals, however he does miss a few games every year. Kearse is a very similar player to Iloka, but similar to Iloka when he first came in the league, he needs a LOT of work. Iloka will be a mentor to Kearse on how to play both safety positions as a longer player.

Round Four

(111)   CB Rashard Robinson l Height: 6’01 ½” l Weight: 171lbs l 40: 4.51 l Yr: Jr

Reminiscent of: Seahawks CB Tharold Simon (5th rd; 138th overall ’13)

2016 Outlook: Depth

CB Rashard Robinson

Rumors and rouses run abound at this time of the year. It’s impossible to gauge how genuine the interest in Robinson is however with so MANY long CBs with size and speed in the draft it is reasonable to think that the Raiders will address position during the draft at some point.

It is highly anticipated that Robinson will perform much better at his LSU Pro Day. Robinson needs to get a LOT stronger and increase his base and functional strength.


According to a report by Tony Pauline from Draft Insider, Robinson is at least on the Giants’ radar.

Personnel people from the Oakland Raiders and New York Giants believe Robinson would’ve competed for the top cornerback spot in this year’s draft had he played the past two seasons and built upon his impressive freshman campaign. I’m told he will measure over 6-feet/2-inches and is expected to run the forty in the 4.3’s at the combine. I’ve also been told Robinson has been invited to participate at LSU’s pro-day. As someone told me earlier today teams are willing to roll the dice on tall corners that can run fast as the demand far outstrips the supply.


 

Round Five

(131)***   WR Marquez North l Height: 6’02 ½” l Weight: 223lbs l 40: 4.48 l Yr: Jr

Reminiscent of: Former Raider WR Denarius Moore (5th rd; 148th overall ’11)

2016 Outlook: Depth

***(via Dallas)

WR Marquez North

I love this kid as a developmental prospect. I compared him to former Tennessee and Oakland WR Denarius Moore because similarly, I believe North will be a better pro than college player. North is a phenomenal athlete who did not disappoint at the Combine. I really hope the Raiders target North as a developmental WR late in the draft.

(142)  RB Tre Madden l Height: 6’00 ¼” l Weight: 223lbs l 40: DNP l Yr: rJr

Reminiscent of: Bucs OLB LaVante David (4th rd; 125th overall ’15)

2016 Outlook: Depth

RB Tre Madden

Southern Cal routinely produced quality RBs. Madden may not be a transcendent athlete but consistent with SC backs he’ll be very solid in pass protection, a quality athlete and a knowledgeable football player.

Round six

(176)****   WR Jalin Marshall l Height: 5’10 ½” l Weight: 200lbs l 40: 4.60 l Yr: rJr

Reminiscent of: Pats Slot WR Julian Edelman (7th rd; 232rd overall ’09)

2016 Outlook: PR/KR/Slot

****(via Indianapolis)

WR Jalin Marshall

The combine didn’t do Marshall any favors, he measured smaller than expected and tested slower than expected. However, Marshall’s tape shows that he is a phenomenal athlete and inpactful football player. Marshall may not have length but he is stout for his size and will secure the returning duties for a number of years.

Round seven

(202)    OG Jake McGee l Height: 6’05 ½” l Weight: 250lbs l 40: 4.83 l Yr: rSr

Reminiscent of: Former Raider TE Brandon Meyers (6th rd; 202nd overall ’09)

2016 Outlook: Receiving TE

TE Jake McGee

Current receiving TE Rivera will be a FA in 2017 and was one of the least effective TEs in 2015. Walford will take over the bulk of the TE duties, however, the Raiders do need a quality receiving TE to pair him with and Rivera isn’t getting it done. The 2016 is loaded with quality TEs late and someone should be brought in to compete with Rivera.

2017 Draft

(53)    ILB Kendell Beckwith l Height: 6’02 ⅛” l Weight: 252lbs l 40: 4.80 l Yr: Sr

Reminiscent of: Former Pats MLB Brandon Spikes (2nd rd; 60th overall ’10)

2017 Outlook: Starting MLB

ILB Kendell Beckwith

You might have missed the nuance of this pick, but if MLB Beckwith is the Raiders first pick of the 2017 draft, overall pick #52 assumes that the Raiders will make the playoffs in 2016. w00t!

 

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2016 Oakland Raiders Mock Draft v.3 (Pre-Combine)

Front office transactions

raidersOG Khalif Barnes 33yo 1yr/$1.5M – The Raiders are hurting at OG depth.

raidersP Marquette King 27yo 6yo 5yrs/$15M – Cornerstone of the special teams.

 raidersOLB Aldon Smith 27yo – currently under contract due to suspension; 2017 UFA

OT Donald Penn 32yo unsigned

FS Charles Woodson 39yo retired

DE Justin Tuck 32yo retired

WR Rod Streater 27yo unsigned

WR Andre Holmes 27yo unsigned

C Tony Bergstrom 29yo unsigned

FS Taylor Mays 27yo unsigned

WR Jermey Ross 27yo unsigned

LS Thomas Gafford 32 unsigned

FAST Free Agency

Last season the headliner in free agency was on the offensive side of the ball, this season it’s the defenses’ turn to receive such attention.

billsDE Mario Williams – The most pivotal signing of the off-season. This traditional 9-tech 43 DE would be the perfect complimentary piece to Khalil Mack’s game. The Raiders would instantly have the best defensive line in the NFL. Either player can effectively rush from either side of the ball with either his hand in the dirt or standing. Don’t put to much stock into who’s rushing from what side.

 SS George Iloka – Style and stature very reminiscent of SEA SS Kam Chancellor.

broncos ILB Danny Trevathan – Consummate cover LB to take over the WILL.

ramsCB Trumaine Johnson – Ideal length and skill set to be a quality Cover 3 CB.

Quick NFL Mock Draft

(1)titans  OSU DE Joey Bosa –  Current Titans LT Lewan was a top 15 LT in 2015 and a very young player. The Titans already have their cornerstone OT. This one is easy, the Titans draft best player in the draft who is also the most marketable and probably has the highest floor. It’s a no-brainer.

(2)browns  Cal QB Jared Goff  – HueJax has already made it clear that he wants to move on from Manziel and he’s a guru at putting offensive players in the best position to win.

(3)chargers  Ole’ Miss OT Laremy Tunsil – Chargers get the LT they so desperately need. When you  have Mack, Houston & Von Miller in your division you take a franchise LT when one becomes available.

(4)cowboys FSU CB Jalen Ramsey – Barring a trade back the Cowboys shore up their porous secondary. JJ Wilcox was one of least efficient safeties in the NFL in 2015.

(5)jaguarsClemson DE Shaq Lawson – Provided his knee checks out the Jags select the best edge rusher available to pair with Dante Fowler.

(6)ravens Alabama DT A’Shawn Robinson – GM Ozzie Newsome LOVES his BAMA Boys and Robinson is going to be a good one.

(7)49ers Oregon DE DeForest Buckner – Buckner, Armstead and Chip are all reunited in SF.

(8)dolphins Florida CB Vernon Hargreaves III – CB is a position of need and Miami loves prospects from Florida. Hargreaves had a down season but he’ll likely shine at the combine.

(9)buccaneers Ole’ Miss WR LaQuon Treadwell -WR Vincent Jackson is getting up there and Treadwell is an excellent compliment to WR Mike Evans.

(10)giants Oklahoma DE Emmanuel Ogbah – The Giants always love to hoard edge rushers.

(11)bearsNotre Dame OT Ronnie Stanley – Now that Cutler is playing better the Bears need to protect him.

(12)saintsMemphis QB Paxton Lynch – Lynch needs to be developed. He’ll learn behind Brees for a few years.

(13)eaglesUCLA LB Myles Jack – Eagles go BPA.

Oakland Raiders Mock Draft

Round one

(14)    OT Taylor Decker l Height: 6’07 ½” l Weight: 315lbs l 40: 5.21 l Yr: SR

Reminiscent of: Colts LT Anthony Castonzo (1st rd; 22nd overall ’11)

2016 Outlook: Starting LT

OT Taylor Decker

Watch the FULL highlight film HERE!

After a couple of quality drafts, the Raiders are a promising team and flirting with the playoffs after a 13 year hiatus. The future is still bright as the Raiders are young at two of the three premium positions in football (QB, DE & OT). Conventional thinking suggests that good teams resign their own free agents but their needs to be a qualification. “GOOD teams resign their own YOUNG free agents”. The only present danger for the Raiders now is complacency. Remaining stagnant is how rosters rot from the interior. However, letting known quantities walk is not without angst. Regardless, good teams do not resign older players to big money, long-term contracts. Quality veteran players looking for their last payday don’t sign short-term contracts (as it lowers the amount the can receive in bonus money). Something has to give. Contrary to general belief, the front office is paying for FUTURE performance and not a reward for past performance. The front office has spend to the salary cap floor and it will do so, but prudently to secure sustainable future success.

Decker vs NFL free agency: Current LT, Donald Penn, is due for an extension but he also on the wrong side of 30. It’s hard to say goodbye to a guy who grew up a Raider fan but, previous to coming to the Raiders, Penn was considered to be spent and found the FA market lean. In my opinion, much of Penn’s play has been propped up by Carr who gets rid of the ball quickly, converse to other QBs of similar youth (many of which were more highly touted), who tend to hold on the ball and are taking sacks and suffering physical attrition as a result.

Based on recent history it is highly unlikely that McKenzie will sign Penn to a mega-extension despite playing at a high level, top 10 NFL OT over the last 2 years (If contracts were a reward for past performance then that’s what the Raiders would be paying for . . . not going to happen). We are all aware that McKenzie is very patient with his free agent signings so it’s almost assured Howard will be the RT in 2016. In addition, Howard began to show a lot of potential on the backside of the schedule before he was injured.

Some will suggest that the Raiders address LT in FA if they don’t resign Penn but as always the FA market be lean and expensive. Franchise OTs rarely become available on the open market so I wouldn’t depend on one in FA. The Bills won’t let a young Cordy Glenn walk and Okung has been injury prone.

Decker vs. the draft: In my opinion, Taylor Decker is one of the more underestimated prospects in the 2016 NFL draft. Currently, Decker is not considered in the same class as Stanley and Tunsil but that’s to the Raiders benefit. Decker has the best combination of length, size and speed of all the top OTs, and Decker is considered the most balanced OT being equally proficient at both run and pass blocking.

Athleticism. Decker has underrated athleticism, he is a former high school basketball player who was offered basketball scholarship offers from mid-major colleges. I suspect Decker will run the 40 under 5.3 but if he should crack 5.2 he probably won’t even be around at #14.

Character. As a devote Christian, Decker’s character is impeccable. As many of you know, McKenzie and Mark Davis value character and adversity highly. In addition, franchise QB Derek Carr is also a devote Christian. These two were made for each other.

Toughness. Nothing has been given to Decker, he took his high school football team to it’s first post season ever with a record of 6-4. Decker’s family has a military background and has hard scrabble roots which will also play in his favor.

Work ethic. Decker has a ridiculous work ethic as he was annually recognized as a leader in the weight room. It shows as Decker has a more chiseled frame than either Tunsil or Stanley.

Persona. Decker looks like an extra on “Sons of Anarchy” cast as muscle and his generous use of eye black looks like he’s going to a KISS concert. One thing I promise is that Decker will look like a Raider on game day and will quickly become a fan favorite.

Performance.

In summary, Pre-combine I’d endorse Decker at #14 as an underrated prospect whose sum is greater than his parts (measureables) over most anticipated prospects available at this position in the draft.

Round two

(44)   OG Vadal Alexander l Height: 6’05 ⅛” l Weight: 329lbs l 40: 5.39 l Yr: SR

Reminiscent of: Ravens OG Kelechi Osemele (2nd Rd; 60th overall ’12)

2016 Outlook: Starting RG

OG Vadal Alexander

Mike Tice is a heralded offensive line coach who took the Raider’s offensive line from being ranked ranked 16th to 6th in efficiency despite being one of the most penalized units in the NFL in addition to carrying one of the most least effective OGs in J’Marcus Webb. The Raiders did draft what could be the long-term solution at OG in Felicano in the middle round of the 2015 draft but that would not prevent me from drafting an OG of Alexander’s caliber. Alexander absolutely killed it in practice at the 2016 Senior Bowl and McKenzie has a history of drafting players who do well in the Senior Bowl.

Similar to Jackson, Alexander is a heavy footed road-grader who struggles with quickness laterally. However, when blocking in a telephone phone Alexander compensates with a shocking first punch, long arms and quick hands which is why he will be best suited for OG in the NFL. I anticipate that Alexander’s lack of linear speed will suppress his stock just as it did Jackson’s after his molasses-esque 40 time. Jackson had late 1st round grades as well, but as OGs often do, he slipped into the 3rd. Alexander won’t quite slip that far.

Personally, Alexander may be my favorite pick of this mock draft. I love this kid and I believe his toughness will give the unit the edginess it needs to become the bully McKenzie has promised Raider Nation.

Round tHree

(75)   DB Sean Davis l Height: 6’01 ⅛” l Weight: 201lbs l 40: 4.53 l Yr: SR

Reminiscent of: Saints CB/S PJ Williams (3rd Rd; 78th overall ’15)

2016 Outlook: Starting FS

CB/S Sean Davis

Sean Davis is a combo CB/S at Maryland who bounced back and forth between both positions over his college career. However, while decent in coverage Davis was abused underneath because as a taller rangy man he doesn’t have the short area quickness to click and close. Hence, Davis was able to rack up a ton of tackles and led his team in total tackles as a senior and second in solo tackles. On the positive, I think Davis’ time at CB will serve him well in coverage as a safety. Where Davis excels is playing the ball when it’s in front of him which suggests he may do well as a single high FS. Davis does possess the length, physicality and anticipation that translates well to the position. A participant at the Senior Bowl, Davis had a strong outing, he competed and showed aggressiveness all week.  Ranked second nationally in forced fumbles with 5. Tied for team leader in interceptions with 3. As a single high FS it’s imperative to make tackles, Davis’ 40 career missed tackles would be a concern.

Round four

(111)    WR Jalin Marshall l Height: 5’10 ⅝” l Weight: 205lbs l 40: 4.43 l Yr: rSo

Reminiscent of: Patriots WR Julian Edelman (7th Rd; 232nd overall ’09)

2016 Outlook: WR #3/RS

WR Jalin Marshall

Jalin Marshall will be one of the youngest players in the draft but he also could be one of the most explosive. Marshall is a thickly built gadget player who excels in the return game but also has experience as a slot WR, RB and was a HS QB. Poor route development and never having been the focal point of the offense will hurt his stock but his ceiling is super high. I don’t want to make it seem that Marshall can’t catch as he makes spectacular catches but occasionally will drop easy ones. Lack of production and focus drops will be reflected in his draft stock but he is well worth the risk.

Round five

(131) *   RB Kelvin Taylor l Height: 5’09 ⅝” l Weight: 205lbs l 40: 4.56 l Yr: JR

Reminiscent of:  Former Oakland RB Charlie Garner (2nd Rd; 42nd overall ’94)

2016 Outlook: 3D RB/ CoP RB

*(via Cowboys)

 

Taylor is an undersized CoP RB with elite lateral agility, short area quickness and excellent stop-n-go but lacks linear speed. Taylor has experience playing in a pistol style offense full of RB draws and screens. Taylor, a stark contrast to Murray, has the perfect running style to compliment a shotgun-style offensive and decent enough hands to be an outlet receiver.

(142)  WR Marquez North l Height: 6’02 ⅝” l Weight: 224lbs l 40: 4.54 l Yr: JR

2016 Outlook: WR #4

 

What Oakland Raiders mock draft would be complete without a prospect from Tennessee, McKenzie’s alma mater? McKenzie will have the insider info on North, whose collegiate career was derailed by injury. North has the ceiling to be a better pro than college player despite being a fan favorite whose handful of ridiculous catches have become Tennessee fan lore. North could develop into the physical redzone presence the Raiders desperately need.

Round Six

(176) **TE Jake McGee l Height: 6’05 ⅜” l Weight: 252lbs l 40: 4.83 l Yr:rSR

Reminiscent of: Former Oakland TE Brandon Myers (6th Rd; 202nd overall ’09)

2016 Outlook: Situational Receiving TE

**(via Colts)

TE Jake McGee

McGee is a tremendous value pick at this point in the draft. He isn’t the most athletic nor does he have elite speed but he does find soft spots in zones and uses his body well to shield defenders from the ball. McGee was the unheralded focal point of the Gators offense.

Round Seven

202 OLB Terrance Smith l Height: 6’03” l Weight: 219lbs l 40: 4.64 l Yr: rSR

Reminiscent of: Raiders OLB Neiron Ball (5th Rd; 151st overall ’15)

2016 Outlook: Practice Squad

Terrance Smith has really slipped on my board but there is a point where value comes into play. Smith has excellent length and range but at 219lbs his frame might be maxed out and he doesn’t exhibit the functional strength to adequately stack and shed nor does he have the hip flexibility or awareness to be a consistent coverage LB. However, Smith does have upside and could develop into a special teams ace and a quality depth LB.

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2016 Oakland Raiders Mock Draft 2.0

FAST Free Agency

broncos ILB Danny Trevathan

chiefs CB Sean Smith

texansOG Brandon Brooks

Round one

(21)   LT Jerald Hawkins l Height: 6’05 ¾” l Weight: 305lbs l 40: 5.14 l Yr: JR

Reminiscent of: Saints LT Terron Armstead (3rd Rd; 75th overall ’13)

2016 Outlook: Starting LT

OT Jerald Hawkins

Even after a couple of quality drafts, the Raiders are a promising team and flirting with the playoffs after a 13 year hiatus. The future is still bright as the Raiders are young at two of the three premium positions in football (QB, DE & OT). Conventional thinking suggests that good teams resign their own free agents but their needs to be a qualification. “Good teams resign their own YOUNG free agents”. The only present danger for the Raiders now is complacency. Letting known quantities walk is not without angst, however good teams do not resign older players to big money, long-term contracts. Quality veteran players looking for their last payday don’t sign short-term contracts (as it lowers the amount the can receive in bonus money). Something has to give. After all the front office is paying for future performance and not a reward for past performance. The front office has spend to the salary cap floor and it will but prudently to secure sustainable future success.

Current LT, Donald Penn, is due for an extension but he also on the wrong side of 30. It’s hard to say goodbye to a guy who grew up a Raider fan but, previous to coming to the Raiders, Penn was considered to be spent and found the FA market lean. In my opinion, much of Penn’s play has been propped up by Carr who gets rid of the ball quickly, converse to other guys of similar youth, many of which were more highly touted, who tend to hold on the ball and are taking sacks and suffering physical attrition as a result.

Based on recent history it is highly unlikely that McKenzie will sign Penn to a mega-extension despite playing at a high level, top 10 NFL OT. Potentially, the Raiders could franchise Penn for one season and let a rookie OT begin his career at RG but that is provided Penn does not price himself out of the market. We are all aware that McKenzie is very patient with his free agent signings so it’s almost assured Howard will be the RT in 2016. In addition, Howard has been playing acceptably at RT recently. RG is probably the most likely position to get a rookie offensive lineman on the field provided the Raiders don’t address the position in FA.

Hawkins is nearly anonymous at this moment. However, he will be getting a lot of buzz by the time the draft approaches. Despite his outstanding measurables, Hawkins is still a project. That fact will be reflected in his draft stock. You don’t get a guy with this much athleticism and length at his position unless something is suppressing his stock. In this particular case that would be LT experience. Hawkins is a finesse OT in the mold of Tyron Smith, D’Brickashaw, Okung or Armstead. He isn’t going to overpower people but he is very agile for a man his size. Hence, Hawkin’s run blocking needs work. It would be very exciting to see OL coach Mike Tice working with an athlete like Hawkins.

Round two

(53)    CB Williams Jackson III l Height: 6’00 ⅝” l Weight: 195lbs l 40: 4.52 l Yr: SR

Reminiscent of: Rams Trumaine Johnson (3nd Rd; 65th overall ’12)

2016 Outlook: Starting Boundary CB

CB William Jackson III

Williams Jackson III’s draft stock has experienced a meteoric rise. He is the cornerstone of the Houston Cougar’s secondary that nearly exclusively runs man coverage. Jackson has the length and size that NFL defensive coordinators covet and has been rumored to have been clocked as low as 4.42 in the 40.

JDR and KNJ have given the Raiders defense the identity it sorely needed. The focus of the defense is run stopping but also highlights two elite pass rushers as bookends. The pass has been cumulatively effective but sacks have been elusive because opponents have been able to nullify the daunting pass rush by getting rid of the ball quickly. However, the Raiders CBs have not been apply to capitalize on rushed QBs. When what would be a solid team is hemorrhaging at a particular position the front office deploy a two tiered attack to address the position by bringing in both a draft pick and a high profile free agent.

Some Raider fans will be weary of drafting another CB from Houston, fortunately most GMs & owners (*ahem, Texans) are not superstitious. Jackson is a perfect fit for a Cover 3 system. Should the Raiders acquire a high profile CB like Sean Smith or even a tier II CB, like Trumaine Johnson, the Raiders could go into 2016 with a completely new look on the perimeter and the Raiders could deploy the man heavy scheme KNJ hasn’t been able to.

Round three

(85)    LB Terrance Smith l Height: 6’03 ¼” l Weight: 232lbs l 40: 4.64 l Yr: rSR

Reminiscent of: Eagles Jordan Hicks (3rd Rd; 84st overall ’09)

2016 Outlook: Starting WILL ILB

LB Terrance Smith

Last season one of my favorite mid-round LB prospects was Texas Longhorn Jordan Hicks. I used him numerous times in mocks but failed to add him to my Mancrush List. This season I won’t make that mistake. Florida State LB Terrance Smith, a projected mid-rounder, has length, range and athleticism comparable to Notre Dame’s highly touted LB Jaylon Smith. The major difference between the two is scheme and Jaylon plays a high profile position at one of the most high profile universities in America and Terrance is considered just another athlete in a program know for having athletes. Terrance Smith is a quality prospect that could be a better pro, a la Jordan Hicks, if he plays in a system that accentuates his skills.

Round four

(117)    WR Corey Robinson l Height: 6’04 ⅝” l Weight: 215lbs l 40: 4.59 l Yr: JR

Reminiscent of: Steelers WR Martavis Bryant (4th Rd; 118th overall ’14)

2016 Outlook: Redzone WR; 4th WR

WR Cory Robinson

Recently, I called Robinson a late first rounder. While he still has 1st round abilities, Robinson is having a down season. Apparently Robinson is playing through a knee injury that has worked its way to his hands because he’s had a number of high profile drops where he was once considered sure handed. The injury has limited Robinson’s time but he’s definitely THE go to target in most redzone situations. I doubt Robinson declares after his junior year, he doesn’t need the money and he plays for one of the most prestigious programs in the country but if he does right now I’ll put Robinson in the 4th.

Carr has a lot of targets that can get open between the 20s with short area quickness but he could use a jump ball WR like Robinson in the redzone when there isn’t space.

Round five

(139)* WR Charone Peake l Height: 6’02 ⅛” l Weight: 215lbs l 40: 4.43 l Yr: rSR

Reminiscent of: Raiders WR DeNarius Moore (5th Rd; 148th overall ’11)

2016 Outlook: 5th WR; KR

 

Peake, despite being an impressive athlete, has always been overshadowed by other WRs at Clemson. Similar to Martavius Bryant, who was also got lost in the shuffle, he came out early and became a better pro than college athlete, Peake could find similar success.  In addition, Peake has return experience which could fill another hole.

(149)    SS Myles Killebrew l Height: 6’01 ⅞” l Weight: 223lbs l 40: 4.49 l Yr: SR

Reminiscent of: Seahawks SS Kam Chancellor (late rd; 133rd overall ’10)

2016 Outlook: Practice Squad

SS Miles Killibrew

Watch all the highlights! HERE

Killebrew is one of the most intriguing prospects of the 2016 draft. He plays every position in the Thunderbirds secondary but is best suited as an in the box SS in the mold of  Seattle’s Kam Chancellor in KNJ’s defense, which is a clone of Seattle’s. What I like the most about Killebrew is that he tackles threw his target and lowers the boom when he gets there. If Killebrew can crack a sub-4.5 40 his stock could be on the rise after the 2016 NFL Combine.

Round six

(174) * TE Darion Griswold l Height: 6’04 ⅝” l Weight: 264lbs l 40: 4.83 l Yr: rSR

Reminiscent of: Giants TE Larry Donnell (UDFA; UDFA ’11)

2016 Outlook: Practice Squad

TE Darion Griswold

Small school developmental TE, Darion Griswold, was one of my favorite prospects last season at his position. This season the TE class might be even more shallow. The Raiders have a few one dimensional TEs that either block or move but the only balanced TE on the roster is Walford. Similarly, Griswold is a willing blocker and knows how to use his length and size to give the QB a large target. I know the Raiders like developmental TE Gabe Holmes but his presence shouldn’t preclude the Raiders from addressing the position further.

Round seven

213   DE Noah Spence l Height: 6’02 ¾” l Weight: 255lbs l 40: 4.58 l Yr: rJR

Reminiscent of: Bengals Vontaze Burfict (7th – UDFA; UDFA ’12)

2016 Outlook: Rotational 34 OLB Depth

LB Noah Spence

In my opinion, the 7th round should ALWAYS be saved for a 1st round talent that has experienced a precipitous fall in the draft for whatever reason. I loved it when the Raiders drafted WKU FS Jonathan Dowling in the last round. Ultimately it didn’t work out but the Raiders would be in a completely different position had they given , MLB Burfict, OT Tiny Richardson & OG La’el Collins chances late and took the risk that the players in question would prefer to play rather then go back in the draft the next year.

Two years ago Spence was considered a 1st round pick. Still a flawed person, there would be absolutely no risk in bringing Spence for a chance to compete. I’m betting that if the Raiders were heading into 2016 with the status quo, Spence beats out Ray Ray at backup SAM.

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Las Vegas NFL Futures Mock Draft (10/19) 2.0

*Draft position determined by Las Vegas future odds produced 10/19/15.

(1)  jaguars Ohio State DE Nick Bosa – The Jags get a highly touted base DE to pair with DE/OLB Dante Fowler.

(2) buccaneers Ole’ Miss OT Laremy Tunsil – The Bucs pair Tunsil with Do.Smith to form solid young bookends OTs.

(3) bears Cal QB Jared Goff – The Bears prepare to move on from Cutler.

(4) chiefs Notre Dame OT Ronnie Stanley – former 1st round OT Fisher has been a disaster.

(5) lions FSU CB Jalen Ramsey – The Lions shore up their porous secondary.

(6) 49ers Ole’ Miss WR LaQuon Treadwell – Treadwell becomes Boldin’s eventual successor. He’s physical, clean hands with a wide catch radius. The perfect type of WR for Kaepernick’s style.

(7) ravens Ole’ Miss DT/DE Robert NKemdiche – Due to needs the Ravens luck into arguable the prospect with the most upside in the draft.

(8) titans Florida CB Vernon Hargreaves – The Titans strengthen their perimeter defense.

(9) browns MSU QB Connor Cook – The Browns get a gritty QBotF.

(10) dolphins Oklahoma State DE Emmanuel Ogbah – 43DEs always go higher than projected and the Dolphins have to start thinking about preparing for life after 32yo Wake.

(11) saints Memphis QB Paxton Lynch – The Saints are desperate for cap space and Brees will be a 38yo FA in 2017. Lynch is going to experience a Bortles-esque rise in draft stock by May.

(12) raidersNotre Dame LB Jaylon Smith – Along with being BPA, Smith solves a number of defensive deficiencies. Smith has excellent coverage skills and range to man the middle of the defense on every down.

(13) washingtonPenn State QB Christian Hackenberg – Washington desperately needs to solidify to QB position.

(14) texansUCLA Kenny Clark – Crick is terrible. The Texans just out on the QB BoB covets instead improve the defense around Watt.

(15) chargersOSU OT Taylor Decker – The Chargers must improve the OL around franchise QB Rivers.

(16) rams LSU CB Tre’Davious White – With both Jenkins and Trumaine being FAs it’s unlikely both will be back.

(17) billsAlabama MLB Reggie Ragland – Rex loves his defense. His teams is just good enough to miss the run on QBs.

(18) jets Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliot – Bowles wants to play defense and pound the rock.

(19) vikings Texas A&M OT Germain Ifedi – The Vikes bookend OTs are both FAs in 2017.

(20) giants Clemson DE Shaq Lawson – The Giants love DEs and they need help at the position.

(21) cowboysUCLA LB Myles Jack – The Cowboys could use more coverage skills at LB.

(22) eaglesOregon DE DeForest Buckner – Kelly goes BPA on a player he should know very well.

(23) falconsAlabama TE OJ Howard – The Falcons needs help at LB but also haven’t filled the hole at TE Gonzo left.

(24) coltsLSU OT Vadal Alexander – Help Luck please!

(25) panthersVirginia Tech CB Kendall Fuller – The Panthers desperately need help at OT but Peanut Tillman can’t play forever and defensive HCs, well . . .love defense.

(26) steelersIndiana OT Jason Spriggs – Build up the trenches in an attempt to keep Ben healthy.

(27) cardinalsAlabama DE A’Shawn Robinson – The Cards need an upgrade across from DE Campbell

(28) seahawksLSU OT Jerald Hawkins – Offensive line has been a sore spot this season.

(29) bengalsTennessee CB Cameron Sutton – CB Leon Hall will be a FA in 2016 and on the wrong side of 30.

(30) broncosOT Tyler Johnstone – Kubiak prefers lighter, quicker offensive lineman.

(31) packersMSU OLB Shilique Calhoun – BPA. Excellent pass rusher to bookend Matthews.

(32) patriots*vacated*

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Should CB DJ Hayden move to FS in his contract option year?

I think that most are in agreement that based on historical trends DJ Hayden will probably be a Raider in 2016. In my opinion, the consensus frustration with Hayden’s game is lack of awareness. Is there anything more frustrating than watching a WR catch the ball over Hayden with Hayden inside the opponents catch radius having NEVER turned around with his back to the QB the whole time?

Has anyone suggested moving Hayden to FS in his option year in an attempt to salvage his career? On rare occasion when Hayden is actually facing the QB he does make plays on the ball, he is a decent tackler and his speed would give him elite range. Hayden could back up Allen and would probably get significant time at the position as Allen could spell Woodson at SS as his career winds down and allows the Raiders best cover CB in Carrie to return to CB. Comparatively, Earl Thomas was a CB convert from Texas with similar measurables.

What should the Raiders do with Hayden in 2016?

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5 Free Agents the Oakland Raiders should “Watch” in 2016

2016 will be a pivotal make-or-break year for Oakland Raiders GM McKenzie. With his career in the balance McKenzie could go all in free agency and finally let go of the purse strings. The following are five free agents that the Raiders should be pursue for a quick turnaround next season.

(1) seahawks OT Russell Okung

It’s rare that a franchise OT becomes available in free agency. So envisioning pending free agent LT Russell Okung going to the highest bidder is probably a pipe dream. However, if he does become available the Raiders need to dig deep in their pockets to lock up the position for a long time. Because of the importance of the position, Okung would the Raiders most important acquisition in some time.

(2) ramsCB Trumaine Johnson

The Raiders are hemorrhaging at CB. Opponents are nullifying what would be a premium pass rush by getting rid of the ball quickly but the Raiders current crop of CBs are unable to capitalize. It appears that former 13th overall draft pick, DJ Hayden is a washout.  Perhaps current DC Ken Norton Jr. will see something in Rams CB Trumaine Johnson (6’02” 204lbs 40: 4.6) as his measurables are eerily similar to his former star CB Richard Sherman (6’03” 195lbs 40:4.6) in Seattle.

(3)titans SAM LB Zach Brown

Another position of contention in Raider Nation has been SAM LB. Every week opponents TEs are teeing off on a defense that does not have a LB that can both set the edge on run downs and cover elite TEs in the seam. OLB Zach Brown (6’01” 244lbs 40: 4.5) is a man who statistically is a team leader in tackles and grades out well in coverage. A man of his abilities would serve Raider Nation well.

(4) washington DT Terrance Knighton

Last season it was presumed that DT Terrance Knighton (6’03” 320lbs) would follow his former DC in Denver, JDR, to Oakland. However, Team Knighton priced themselves out of the market and Knighton had to accept a one-year “prove-it” deal in Washington. This season when DT Jelly-Bean Ellis went out the Raiders were gutted on the ground. Adding Knighton would not only provide insurance for run defense but also create a solid rotation to keep the big boys fresh and mean.

(5) texans RG Brandon Brooks

The Raiders offensive line is a tale of two cities. While the left side composed of LT Penn and LG Jackson has been stellar the right side has been a work in progress. Recently, much beleaguered RT Austin Howard has been coming on but he could be helped out tremendously if the RG position wasn’t weighing the unit down. Former OT J’Marcus Webb isn’t much better at OG than he was at OT and rookie OG Feliciano has been nondescript. Adding an under the radar FA like Brooks (6’05” 336lbs 40:4.99) could take the offensive line to the next level and lock up the unit for the near future.

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