Monthly Archives: February 2015

Combine notebook Raider Nation Edition

Here are some players and positions to keep an eye out in the NFL Scouting Combine approaching this week.

Defensive Tackles- Leonard Williams, Danny Shelton, Arik Armstead

The talent at the top of the inside defensive linemen is stacked. Williams is a special talent, but how special? The combine will show teams whether he is worthy of a top three selection. Either way he won’t get passed the top 3 picks.

The Raiders have needs on the inside, so it would not surprise me to see them take Shelton or Armstead. Both might be a reach, but a dominate combine could make either of those guys a top five pick. Or the Raiders may play it smart and move down and still get their guy.

Wide Receivers- Amari Cooper, Kevin White, DeVante Parker,

The consensus around scouts and media is the Raiders need weapons. Rather or not they do that in free agency, the first round, or the second round depends on how these three guys perform.

Cooper has the production, Parker has the size, and White has a combination of both. The combine will be the perfect outlet for those three guys to compete and see who will be crowned king of the receiver class. Thus far it has been cooper because of his route running and production. Still, he could be dethroned due to the other two’s size and up side.

Parker is a guy who could really rise as he had more than 800 yards and minimal drops in only six games.

Running Backs- Duke Johnson, Jay Ayayi, T.J. Yeldon, Ameer Abdullah

Even the biggest Latavius Murray and Maurice Jones Drew fans can admit the Raiders could use some running back help. If Todd Gurley or Melvin Gordon slide to the second round it should be a no brainier for the Raiders.

Still, any of these guys could contribute to the team even if they are drafted in the middle rounds. I expect the Raiders to find which one’s skillset they prefer based on combine numbers, interviews, and how they measure. I like any of these guys depending on how the rest of the draft and free agency playsout of course.

Inside Linebackers- Denzel Perryman, Eric Kendricks

Miles Burris ranked among the worst inside linebackers, possibly because he was out of position. With Jack Del Rio and Ken Norton Jr. being former linebackers on staff I expect them to address that need. Perryman and Kendricks were both highly productive at the collegian level. Each of them are undersized but instinctive players. Their draft value will be determined by how fast they run in the 40 yard dash, how well they move in coverage, their bench press, and how tall they will be officially listed.

Outiside Linebackers- Vic Beasley, Nate Orchard, Shaq Thompson

What do these three players have in common? They were all highly productive players on defense who have questions about their size. Eyes will be on them to not only show the athleticism displayed on tape in position drills and agility drills, but they must also jump well, measure tall, and bench a lot.

Beasley could have been a top pick last year, but could slide to the bottom picks as it is unsure if he is a stand up or hand down end. Same goes for Orchard, but last year’s sack leader grades somewhere in the second round.

Well Thompson should go in the top half of the draft, every team should have him on his radar. The safety/linebacker/runningback is exactly the type of player you tailor a defense around. Four might be too high, but trading down to draft someone who could highlight JDR and KNJ ‘s hybrid defensive philosophies is not a bad idea.

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Raiders Strike Gold with Norton

Ken Norton Jr. via Google images.

The Raiders received some flak for not hiring a sexy visionary name as Head Coach. They got even more hate when defensive coordinators spurned them.

Finally, the Raiders named a defensive coordinator and it was Ken Norton Jr. Formally of the Seahawks.

Not only does Norton come from the Pete Carroll coaching tree dating back to USC, but he and Del Rio started together in Dallas under Jimmie Johnson.

 

The two have already agreed to have a good working relationship. While Del Rio plans to help with the Xs and Os, Norton will ultimately make the calls on Saturday.

Why should Raider fans be excited? Not only does Norton Jr. Have relationships with pending Free Agents Byron Maxwell and Malcolm Smith but he also was one of the most vocal coaches for the Seahawks.

The Raiders have a slew of talent at linebacker with Sio Moore and Khalil Mack who should thrive under a firey Norton. As a former linebacker coach, Norton is lucky to have two solid young linebackers as well as Miles Burris as extra depth.

Norton Jr. may not be the mad genius that Jason Tarver was, but he has fire and experience as a player that current players and free agents should connect with.

Not to mention, Norton Jr. has a Superbowl ring as an assistant as does Del Rio.

Eitherway, fans should be excited because he should employ many of the Seahawks’ defensive philosophies including: depth, swagger, tenacity, speed, and development. Most of all development and depth across the entire defensive roster regardless of where a player is drafted. That is what the Raiders need most.

Raider nation get excited as a Del Rio and Ken Norton Jr. combination means the Raiders should get back to playing defense the Raider way!

NFL snubs Khalil Mack but Tim Brown finally gets in

Well if we let Tim Brown in, Raider fans can’t be mad at us for snubbing Khalil Mack of the Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

It may seem like that to Raider fans who already think The NFL has a bias against the Raiders.

The fact that Tim Brown waited five years to go to the Hall of Fame might be an indicator of that. However, a seventh year would have been a complete injustice no matter who his receiving competition is.

I don’t care that Marvin Harrison was superior in statistics and all pros. Tim Brown impacted the game offensively and on special teams. Not to mention he didn’t have an all pro quarterback throwing to him.

Hence, I was nearly in tears when one of my all time favorite Raiders was finally selected to be immortalized in Cleveland. He waited patiently and it was about damn time.

Still, it could not upstage the fact that Khalil Mack was robbed of Defensive ROY.

I get Aaron Donald had 10 sacks and I get CJ Mosley had more than 100 tackles. Those two players had great seasons, but both were on superior teams and defenses.

There is a reason why so many people have recognized Mack. From opposing coaches and players to analysis in the media and profootball talk have all raved about this guy.

Anyone who watched a Raider game saw Khalil Mack was the best player on the field. He was always accounted for and still was able to make plays.

Either way, I won’t cry for Khalil Mack. He has plenty of years to prove he is an elite player. I know he will only use the snub as motivation to get better.

One thing is for sure, had Tim Brown and Khalil Mack been robbed, there would have been riots by Raider Nation.

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