The Raiders nailed it with their best draft in eons


1st round, 5th overall pick: LB Khalil Mack.

Admittedly, I didn’t see much of Mack when he played his college football at the University of Buffalo. After looking at some games, while he’s a freakish athlete, he’s very raw and a bit of a project. But, he has great instincts and has a nose for the ball, he also gives 100% all the time, unlike so many professional athletes these days. He has a hunger for the ball and enjoys playing the game, that much is clear.

His weaknesses are that he plays a bit out of control at times and playing in the MAC, he didn’t face top competition, but neither did DeMarcus Ware, who played at Troy. That’s just one defensive player coming from a smaller school. So, the small school knock loses some of it’s validity.

He should give Sio Moore fits in regards to keeping his starting outside linebacker job. But that’s not a bad thing, Moore would be a nice backup and injuries can occur at anytime. Mack’s most recent season saw him record 100 tackles, 10.5 sacks, three interceptions and two touchdowns.

The Raiders scored big-time in taking Mack, rather than a QB like Manziel or some other name QB. Oakland has rebuilt their defense this offseason through free agency and now the draft.

2nd round, 36th overall pick: QB Derek Carr.Mack

This was a pretty obvious, no secret here as long as he was available. The entire Raider organization (or so it seems) were in attendance at one of Carr’s workouts. A lot of people will make fun of the pick, pointing out his brother David Carr. But, they have very few things in common other than their last name.

Derek Carr has a better arm, he’s ideally suited to throw the long ball as the silver and black have been known to do throughout their storied history. He’s also very athletic, more so than his brother who was shell shocked being sacked constantly by Houston’s porous offensive line. Derek Carr can escape the pocket when needed and make all the throws. He’s also more mature than most other players his age, he has a child so he has more responsibilities than the average collegiate player.

His weaknesses include having to play in the shotgun and the pistol offense in college and he’ll have to adjust to playing under center. He also tries to do too much at times and forces throws, but with better talent at the NFL level, he should be fine.

He’ll have a season to sit and learn and maybe take over halfway through the season in his second season.

3rd round, 81st overall pick: guard Gabe Jackson.

This has to be a depth pick after last season’s nightmarish injuries along the offensive line where they were playing people out of position on a patchwork OL. He’s a big (6-3 and 336 pounds) player, physical and tough.

He’ll be a backup, unless injuries hit the OL hard.

4th round, 103rd overall pick: DT Justin Ellis.

A big defensive tackle, something the team was in need of. The Raiders re-signed Pat Sims, he played reasonably well for them last season, but they needed to get younger on the defensive line after signing free agents Justin Tuck and Antonio Smith.

He’s a run stuffer, not a pass rusher, but that’s okay. They have some pass rushers in Woodley, Tuck, Nick Roach (5.5 sacks), and Moore (4.5 sacks). They needed to get younger and they did.

He’s a bit short, just 6-1, but a chunky 334 pounds and he has been injury prone throughout his career.

4th round, 144th overall pick: CB Keith McGill.

A huge cornerback (6-3) and in the mold of Richard Sherman, not saying he’ll be as good immediately. He’s got really long arms, big hands and is very athletic. He’s also versatile, he can play CB or safety. These big CB’s don’t come along that often and Oakland snagged one.

He’s 25, so he’s an older rookie and he needs to get better footwork. And he isn’t tough enough or disciplined enough to play safety for an extended period of time.

Sherman showed what big CB’s are capable of and this is a trend. As wide receiver’s get bigger and bigger (6-4 and 6-5) defenders need to be bigger to match up with them. McGill will be another player they have in their playing rotation with former 49er’s Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown, along with second year player DJ Hayden. Rogers and Brown signed short term deals so McGill and Hayden are the long term future.

7th round, 212th overall pick: DE Shelby Harris.

Depth signing, but probably unlikely to make the team.Especially if he causes problems, something that got him kicked off the Illinois State team. Good defender against the run, but not good against the pass.

7thround, 219th overall pick: CB TJ Carrie.

I know very little about him, but he’ll add some depth, which is always needed. He averaged 12.7 yards on punt returns, leading the league in that category. He may get some playing time there and on special teams.

7th round, 224th overall pick: safety Jonathan Dowling.

He’s a tall safety, 6-3, and he’s a play-maker. He had nine interceptions and eight forced fumbles in his last two seasons at Kentucky. However, he’s susceptible to injuries and unlikely to be a starter, but he adds much needed depth if Tyvon Branch continues to get beat up. Most likely, a special teamer.

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Big time sports fan of the Lakers, Raiders, Angels and Dodgers. From 1990-1995, I worked at the Glendale News-Press and I had a blast. I covered mainly high school sporting events and Glendale Community College athletic events, but also attended Dodgers, Raiders, and Rams games. I also write for Joel Huerto (former co-writer and editor at the GNP) at I watch a lot of sports on TV (basketball, football, usually just postseason MLB) and UFC.

1 Comment

  1. Very good draft. A lot of good selections. Not sure they’ll all pay off instantly but the Raiders did do a good job.

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