Category Archives: NFL Draft

Grading the Raiders 2018 Draft class

It’s easy to give the Raiders a middle of the road grade for the 2018 NFL Draft. Their draft has a high amount of risk but they managed to find some good value propositions in the middle round.

The biggest takeaway from the Raiders 2018 NFL Draft is that you cannot grade it in a vacuum. You got to look at the bigger picture considering this is Jon Gruden’s first time heading the NFL Draft in a decade. He and Reggie McKenzie made some selections that were gambles and they reached for players but you can’t get caught up in each pick. Look at the draft class as a whole and you’ll be far less disappointed

Team Needs

Oakland specifically addressed the trenches. Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker were the tackles selected in the first three rounds. Not surprising, considering Vandal Alexander is starting the season suspended, Donald Penn is over 30 and been hurt the past two seasons and the RT position has been a joke the past two seasons. Oakland needed some tackle help and hopefully, they found it. The Raiders also took defensive tackle PJ Hall and edge Arden Key to infuse some disruption along the defensive line.

Miller was inconsistent in college. Key has Off-field issues. Hall and Parker are underrated prospects who will need some time adjusting to the change in speed and strength at the NFL level. However, that’s the case with most of these picks.

Sixth round pick and linebacker Azeem Victor is another high-risk player. Victor had an off1field DUI and there are also questions about his speed and size in the NFL. Then, there’s Nick Nelson who is recovering from an off-field injury. Both LB and DB were some of the Raiders biggest needs but they waited until the last part of the draft.

Oakland’s biggest draft needs are addressed to an extent. That depends on how ready these players are to contribute on Day One.

Playmakers

Above all else, the Raiders needed to find playmakers on both sides of the ball in this draft. On offense, that meant finding big-play threats. On defense, that meant sacks and picks.

They found a player like Maurice Hurst who can develop into an inside playmaker on the defensive line. He can get sacks. Hall and Key can too. Thus, I can give the team a pass for not selecting Harold Landry when they had a chance in the second round.

However, picks are another story. Nick Nelson is a nice prospect but he had zero picks in college. The Raiders need a defensive back who can take the ball away because we all remember how miserable it was not having a pick through more than half the season. For context, Oakland passed on CB/Safety Josh Jackson as well as safeties Josh Jackson and Justin Reid who would’ve given the Raiders some playmakers in the defensive backfield.

Moreover, they waited until the last round to select an offensive skill player. They took Hall three picks before Derrius Guice. Guice is considered a copy of Marshawn Lynch and he would have been the perfect heir to Beast Mode. The LSU product is a balanced runner and pass catcher with first-round ability who may haunt the Raiders.

Don’t forget the Raiders traded a third-round pick to get Martavis Bryant. That’s literally the pickup that saved this draft class from a playmaking standpoint.

Value

You could argue the Raiders took Miller and Parker way too high. They were probably the most overdrafted of this class, but the tackle position was bad. It makes sense that Oakland took these picks. P.J. Hall was a little high of a selection too especially since he’s from a small school. However, there were rumors of him getting selected that high even with other good d-linemen on the board. With his film and body type, the Raiders get a pass for making the selection.

Added, the Raiders found Arden Key, Marcell Ateman and Maurice Hurst way lower than most expected. Those three picks balanced out the value proposition of this draft class. Victor and Nelson were selected at the spots they were expected so that makes the Raiders even in terms of finding value.

Culture

We were all looking at this draft to see how Gruden would build his team. It is clear he wants to start with a physical team on both lines.

Further, it is clear that Gruden’s regime doesn’t care where a player plays or what they did as long as they can play. That is evident by the off-field red flags from Key and Victor, the injury concerns of Nelson and Hurst and the small school pedigrees of Hall and Parker. Even Miller had questions about his consistency and Ateman had questions about his speed.

Ultimately, Gruden wants to take players he thinks can compete regardless of the context they come with. He also isn’t afraid of getting away from conventional thinking. Guden isn’t afraid to let draft picks compete with each other or replace a prominent player from the previous regime. We knew that already but now it is confirmed.

The Bigger Picture

Hopefully, Gruden is right and all these players compete. He doesn’t have a lot of time to wait for players to develop, deal with off-field concerns or let players get healthy. Gruden needs this rookie class to step-in and compete as well as provide depth now and into the future.

Either way, the Raiders found at least two starters in the NFL Draft. Hurst and Hall will both compete for starter roles on the interior defensive line. Parker and Miller will compete for starting roles on the offensive line. More than likely, only one rookie will start on either line.

Not to mention, Key and Ateman can compete for starting time immediately. That means the Raiders got two starters and four key depth players. They got Victor and Nelson who might compete down the line and Bryant is an added bonus.

Big picture, the Raiders had a solid draft class by balancing out some of their earliest reaches with the best player on the board towards the end of the draft.

The point is, if you look at the Raiders from a holistic approach you will find yourself much more pleased.

The Raiders get a C+ for this year’s draft but it can easily turn into a B+ if these guys start immediately.

 

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Oakland Raiders outlook for Round Two and Round One reaction

What are the Raiders best options in day two of the NFL draft?

You can’t talk about the second round without talking about the first round.Kolton Miller was the Raiders Day One pick. It’s surprising since Miller would usually be a Day Two pick. However, this year’s tackle class is so bad that Miller going this high makes sense. He’s the consensus 2-4 ranked tackle throughout this draft process. Miller brings the athleticism to play left tackle down the line. He has the UCLA production to compete for play at RT immediately. The biggest knock on Miller is his consistency and toughness. Not to mention, his QB Josh Rosen was often hurt and the entire UCLA team under achieved.Either way, the Raiders filled a need at the top of the draft. They get a player who had the potential to improve both the running and passing offense.

Trading back

That wasn’t even the biggest surprise of Day One. Oakland trades back five spots and got a third and fifth round pick in the exchange. They sent that third round pick to the Steelers for Martavis Bryant.

Bryant is a legit deep threat. He’s an explosive option to have as your second or third receiver. Bryant is an upgrade over Seth Roberts.

However, the Raiders essentially let the Cardinals into the top ten and handed them a franchise QB for an added third round pick and fifth round pick. The Packers moved back 13 spots, got a first round pick and then flipped that 27 pick and some more draft capital to get the 18 pick. Green Bay got their guy Jaire Alexander and an added first rounder for next year. Oakland couldn’t do this? Maybe, the organization shouldn’t hint at trading back all offseason which gave away their leverage.

Round two

Either way, the Raiders still have some great players to consider in round two. Harold Landry makes sense as a dynamic pass rusher. Derrius Guice is a physical and balanced runner. Both of those players could be steals at this point.

There’s rumors that Oakland could take another offensive tackle to continue the rebuild of their line. Connor Williams, Tyrell Crosby and Will Hernandez are some of the top offensive linemen left but they’re more of guards in the NFL. Will Oakland reach for Brian O’Neil, Geron Christian or Orlando Brown who are more traditional tackles?

Defensive back makes sense for the Raiders too. Justin Reid and Ronnie Harrison make sense as versatile, athletic and productive safeties. Isaiah Oliver makes sense as an instant nickel back with a chance to compete on the outside. Josh Jackson is a hybrid safety and corner who many thought would go in the first round.

Speaking of offense, Linebacker should also come into consideration. How about Malik Jefferson or Uchenna Nwosu?

Otherwise, Ronald Jones is a super shifty back and Nick Chubb is another back to consider.

There are also some tight ends like Mike Gesicki and Mark Andrews. They’re dual threat TEs who might be gone after this round considering Hayden Hurst went in the first round.

This is a very interesting draft. The market is much different than people expected especially since Cleveland threw everyone off with Baker Mayfield at No. 1 overall.

Added, Oakland proved they’ll make an unpopular pick. Gruden clearly has a vision for this team and it isn’t yet clear. I’d assume he wants to be physical upfront and take his shots deep which has always been the Raiders forward. Therefore, I’m leaning towards a RB in round two. Guice makes too much sense as the heir to Marshawn Lynch this year and in the future. He’s a physical runner and does a ton of community work.

If he’s gone, Oakland needs a playmaker on the defensive side. They need to look for sacks or picks. Landry or Jackson makes sense for that spot since they’ve been among CFB’s elite the past season. Oliver, Jefferson and Nwosu wouldn’t upset me either though. Realistically, we can’t rule out another trade back either. Anything is possible especially if talent keeps falling. The Raiders have the assets in the fifth and six round to pair with their second to move back into the second and grab a third or fourth rounder in the process. We will see what happens tonight!

Who will the Raiders select on Day One of the NFL Draft

Who will the Raiders Draft in the 2018 NFL Draft?

I don’t think the Silver and Black even know. The dynamic between Jon Gruden and Reggie McKenzie is still too new. This is there first draft together and it will be a trial to how they work together and find prospects that fit Gruden’s scheme and culture. As we know, Gruden brings a unique culture and scheme that is different than any coach McKenzie has drafted before.

Either way, rumors and speculation is that the Raiders will trade back in the NFL Draft. They’ve both hinted towards it all offseason. There is even smoke about them trading up to get Bradley Chubb. That isn’t likely since Oakland loves their draft picks.

Still, Chubb is the guy if he is there at No. 10. The same goes for Saquan Barkley. The talent is too real to pass on no matter what. Their availability depends on if teams are really buying the QB hype.

Nonetheless, Cubb and Barkley won’t be around and it is expected that the Raiders will be considering top defensive prospects like Derwin James, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Denzel Ward, Tremaine Edmunds, Vita Vea, Marcus Davenport and Roquan Smith.

Fitzpatrick, James and Ward are all top talents but their positions are deep in this draft class. Oakland can wait til later, especially since they’ve taken corners and safeties in the past couple of drafts. The same can be said for selecting Vea or Davenport. Both are great talents but the Raiders already invest draft capitol at their positions.

Edmunds and Smith make the most sense based on need. The Raiders have needed backers for years. With Bruce Irvin converting to pass rusher, the need is even bigger. Both or neither may be there depending on how many QBs and DBs go in the top-10. Oakland may consider trading out if both Smith and Edmunds are there or gone. Harold Landry is my darkhorse due to his athleticism. He might be a little too raw to go this high though.

Nonetheless, don’t rule out an offensive player. It would be a very Raiders move to take an offensive player when all the experts think you’re going defense. Oakland put the last two first rounders on offense and they might invest this one in some help for Derek Carr and Gruden.

Donald Penn ain’t getting any younger and right tackle has been a joke. This team is built from the inside out too.

Thus, we’ve been hearing rumors about Kolton Miller or Mike McGlinchey being the No. 10 pick. Both are athletic and productive enough to play either tackle position. McGlinchey is a little tougher so he projects as a starting right tackle sooner. However, Miller has more athleticism which could make him a better LT down the line.

Taking a tackle makes sense since this team is built inside out. It’s an easy way to help Carr, boost the running and passing game. This class isn’t that deep at the position which is why they may reach a bit for a tackle like Miller or McGlinchey who might be better values a little later in the first round.

Speaking of reaches, Calvin Ridley and Derius Guice should also come into consideration at No. 10. This is especially true if the top defensive players on the Raiders boards are gone. However, neither Ridley or Guice play positions of glaring need. They don’t have the elite athleticism to really even be taken this high but they’re proven gamers who have great production for huge programs.

Ridley is a smooth receiver who can do a bit of everything. He is Amari Cooper light. Meanwhile, Guice is a physical beast who can run and catch with anger. He is a Marshawn Lynch light. That makes both Ridley and Guice great scheme and culture fits even if they aren’t the top talents overall or fill a position of need.

Added, the WR and RB classes are deep but Ridley and Guice are definitely in the top tier with a big gap ahead of their competition. It would not surprise me if Gruden wanted either of these guys. There is the slight chance they fall into the second or the Raiders can get them later.

Ultimately, the Raiders can do any number of things on Draft Day. I’d be happy if they took any of the aforementioned players. McGlinchey or Edmunds would be my pick based on need. Ridley or Guice would be my pick based on playmaking. Roquan and Davenport make sense for value. Miller and Landry have the upside to go that high. Ward, Fitz and James wouldn’t hurt the team at all.

Oakland is expected to pick around 6:40 PM PST so make sure you tune in.

Raiders Draft: Who to pick in Round One? 

It’s finally here! It seems like I say that every year. Well, every year I’m excited for the NFL Draft. Dreams are made, fans hopes are up and many hearts get broken. Sounds pretty exciting, if you ask me.

Who will our precious Silver and Black select? Here are some ideas as well as my selection.

The Fans’ Pick: Obi Melifonwu, S, UCONN

All the fans love this pick. For good reason too. Melifonwu is the kind of prospect who Al Davis will turn in his grave for. The big-bodied and fast safety made a name for him self at the NFL Combine and Senior Bowl. Melifonwu Los has experience as a productive corner and safety at UCONN. He could develop into Reggie Nelson’s eventual replacement. The only issue with this pick is that the safety class is so deep. The Raiders could get a guy just as capable in the second round.

The Dark Horse: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama

You never want to reach for a need in the NFL Draft. However, Robinson has an argument to be the best tackle in this class. He has big game experience that dates back to his days at Bama. Robinson has the size and athleticism to be the long-term answer at either of the Raiders’ tackle spots. Ultimately, there are some questions about his ability to finish run blacks and his balance/technique in pass pro. Luckily, the Raiders have some veterans at the position to help groom Robinson. Personally, I think Robinson is a better value in round two. Nonetheless, Mike Mayock pegged him here. 

Draft Crush: Kevin King, CB, Washington

Everytime we play the Chiefs, I believe that Marcus Peters should be a Raider. His play style and swagger would have fit perfect with Oakland. Now, King isn’t quite the same player as Peters. However, he is a big and fast corner from the Bay Area. King played safety and corner at Washington so he brings the versatility that the Raiders need. He should immediately challenge for the nickel corner position. King might even challenge David Amerson and Sean Smith for starting roles on the outside. King has the size and ball skills to develop into the Raiders eventual starter on the outside. He might not be available at No. 24, but it would be really hard for the Raiders to pass on the Bay Area kid.

The Gamble: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama

Draft experts have nothing bad to say about Foster’s tape out of Alabama. However, he could fall to the Raiders due to off-field concerns. Foster had an incident that got him sent home from the NFL Combine. He also tested positive at the Combine. Then, he’s got size and injury concerns. Plus, Oakland is still haunted by the demons of another former Bama linebacker taken in the first round, Rolando McClain. I say no but the Raiders may roll the dice.

The Al Davis Pick: John Ross,  WR, Washington

Questions about his size, ankle, knee and shouler health could make Ross tumble in the draft. You think Al Davis would care about any of that? Ross broke the NFL Combine record for the 40-yard dash with a sub-4.3 40-time. Not to mention, he was highly productive at Washington. Ross’ route tree is extensive, his hands are good and he is Cali-native. Al Davis would make this pick despite the Raiders’ receiving corps already being among the NFL’s best.

The Safe Pick: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida

Davis has been another popular target for the Raiders in various Mock Drafts. There are a lot of good reasons. Davis was productive at Florida and he tested well at the combine. He projects as an outside or middle linebacker in the NFL, despite his limited size. Oakland would sure up their middle linebacker spot with a rangy backer. However, I’m not sold on taking a MLB this early unless you think he can change your defense. Davis will be a solid starter but I don’t know if he is a future Pro Bowler. I’d roll the dice on him in the second round, especially given his injury history.

My Pick: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt 

Early in the draft process, I was high on the Raiders selecting Davis. Cunningham’s scheme fit, speed and hands had me questioning his fit with Oakland. Then, I remember that the Raiders defense has not been good enough to establish a scheme. There scheme is flexible for the players that they select. Moreover, Jack Del Rio and Reggie McKenzie have both put empathisis on selecting impact players. Cunningham was a productive, impact player in the SEC. he has the size and frame to play a variety of positions in the front seven. Moreover, he is ready to start from Day One. This pick makes too much sense. BR’s Matt Miller also consigned this pick in his latest mock draft.

Ultimately, we will find out who the Raiders select at about 8:00 p.m. PST tonight. Who do you think they should select? I know I can’t wait to welcome the newest member of the Silver and Black.

2017 NFL Combine: Draft Prospects to Watch For Raiders

The NFL Scouting Combine is often referred to the grandest job interview, a reality TV show and the Underwear Olympics.

Either way, the 2017 Combine is underway as NFL Draft prospects prepare to test on the field this week.

For the Oakland Raiders, they are in a new position. Oakland is coming off their first playoff berth in more than a decade. Hence, they do not have too many glaring needs after a 12-4 season.

They do need to work on a defense that ranked No. 26 in yards per game, registered the least amount of sacks in the league and gave up the most points per game in the NFL. Look for them to think about adding a defensive tackle, corner, safety and inside linebacker to improve this unit. Not to mention, defensive contributors like Malcolm Smith, Perry Riley Jr. and Stacy McGee are free agents. They will need to be replaced or upgraded.

The Silver and Black could also use some help on offense. Key reserves (and sometimes starters) like Menelik Watson, Seth Roberts, Andre Holmes, Mychal Rivera and Latavius Murray are all free agents. These players could be re-signed and maintained for depth options. Either way, the Raiders must evaluate the receivers, tight end and running back positions for athe long-term value that surpasses the above-mentioned names.

Oakland has constantly preached about building a winning culture. They must do that by upgrading underachieving or mediocre players. Here are some players the Raiders should evaluate at Indy. These players make sense from a scheme, production and value perspective towards the top of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Running Back

  • Leonard Fournette
  • Dalvin Cook
  • Joe Mixon
  • D’onta Foreman
  • JeremMcNichols
  • Kareem Hunt
  • Alvin Kamara
  • Donnel Pumphrey

Receiver

  • Cooper Kupp
  • Zay Jones
  • Carlos Henderson
  • Chad Hansen
  • Juju Smith-Schuster
  • Curtis Samuel
  • Isaiah Ford
  • Noah Brown
  • Dede Westbrook
  • Amar Dorboh
  • Travin Dural

Tackles

  • Cam Robinson
  • Garrett Bolles
  • Dion Dawkins
  • Antonio Garcia
  • Roderick johnson
  • Julie’n Davenport
  • Conor McDermott
  • Jermaine Eluemunor
  • Avery Gennesy

Defensive Line

  • Jonathan Allen
  • Montravius Adams
  • Caleb Brantley
  • Malik McDowell
  • Elijah Quails
  • Chris Wormley
  • Carlos Watkins
  • Jaleel Johnson

Edges

  • Taco Charlton
  • Charles Harris
  • Derek Barnett
  • Takearist McKinley
  • Ryan Anderson
  • Carl Lawson
  • Joe Mathis
  • Tim Williams

Linebackers

  • Reuben Foster
  • HaasonReddick
  • Jarrad Davis
  • Zach Cunningham
  • Raekwon McMillan
  • Vince Biegel
  • Kendell Beckwith
  • Duke Riley
  • Alex Anzalone
  • Ben Boulware

Corners

  • Teez Tabor
  • Tre’Davious White
  • Marlon Humphrey
  • Adoree’ Jackson
  • Cordrea Tankersley
  • Fabian Moreau
  • Chidobe Awuzie
  • Jordan Lewis
  • Rasul Douglas
  • Howard Wilson
  • Kevin King
  • Cameron Sutton
  • Corn Elder
  • Marquez White
  • Ahkella Witherspoon
  • Channing Stribling

Safeties

  • Budda Baker
  • Justin Evans
  • Marcus Williams
  • Desmond King
  • Marcus Maye

Granted, these are only lists. Of course, the Raiders will monitor all 300 prospects at the 2017 NFL Combine. Nonetheless, here is a short list of high-profile names at our positions of needs. Did I forget anybody?

What players are you watching closely at the 2017 NFL Combine? Let us know via Twitter.

 

Reviewing the Oakland Raiders NFL Draft

 

The Oakland Raiders entered the draft with most of their starters set, but glaring needs for depth across the roster. How did they do with their picks? Why did they make the selections that they did?

Jack Del Rio and Reggie McKenzie shared insights onto their picks. As a bonus, I’ve also recapped my thoughts on the picks since the dust settled on the NFL Draft.

S Karl Joseph, West Virginia (No. 14 overall)
McKenzie: “You can feel his toughness. He has a very aggressive mentality. He’s versatile. He can play all over the field, and he’ll run and hit anything that moves.”

Del Rio: “We just think he’s a really good football player, and he’ll have an infectious kind of personality and demeanor about himself. So, [we’re] really excited to get our hands on him and looking forward to working with him.”

My take: Initially felt like the Raiders reached on a 5’11 strong safety coming off of a knee injury. However, the Falcons took Keanu Neal at No. 17, so the safety position was in demand. Heard nothing but good things about Jospeh’s mental processing and competitive toughness. His selection fills the biggest gap on the roster. Excited to see what he can do. 

DL Jihad Ward, Illinois (No. 44 overall)
Del Rio: “ He has played all the way out as a nine technique all the way down to into a three technique. He has been exposed to a lot of football. And, defensive line is not as complex as playing quarterback. We think we can help him grow as a player and we like what we are starting with.”

My take: Again, felt like the Raiders reached for Ward. I liked some of the other defensive tackles like Andrew Billings and Jonathan Bullard on the board at this point. However, Ward is extremely versatile. Not only did he play across the d-line at Illinois, but he played safety and receiver at the lower levels. Ward brings top-level athleticism which will push Mario Edwards Jr. and the rest of the defensive unit. Glad they took someone to improve the depth in the pass rush. 

Edge rusher Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State (No. 75 overall)
Del Rio: “He’s a very productive young man, really understands how to rush the quarterback. He’s been an All-American and he’s been a very productive guy at a good college program. ”

My take: Calhoun was a great value at this point in the draft. Even though the Raiders took Ward, they should use Calhoun as a hybrid linebacker. He should learn a lot behind Khalil Mack and Aldon Smith. I hope he can improve coverage skills as he may need to play some Sam linebacker. Either way, I like players like Calhoun who showed lots of leadership and production for winning programs in college. 

QB Connor Cook, Michigan State (No. 100 overall)
McKenzie: “ “Derek (Carr)’s our quarterback. Whoever we bring in, we’re just looking [at] can he help us? Can he add to the depth? Can he help our team? That was the only reason we went after him. Leadership issues, that was of no concern.”

My take: Again, this was a case of selecting the best player available. The Raiders traded up and got a player that could develop into some nice trade bait. Regardless, the Raiders only have Matt McGloin under contract for this season. Hence, there was a need to develop a backup quarterback. Cook brings production and a solid NFL arm to the Raiders scout team.

RB DeAndre Washington, Texas Tech (No. 143 overall)
McKenzie: “He’s the one guy that every time we watched him play, it was very difficult for the first guy to get him down. He had power, quickness and he had speed. He was the kind of the guy that can do it all. ”

My take: I liked some other running backs in this draft like Paul Perkins. However, everyone talks about Washington’s versatility. Remember the Raiders got Latavius Murray late in the draft. Maybe they struck gold again in Washington. He will push Taiwan Jones and Roy Helu for playing time early.

LB Cory James, Colorado State (No. 194 overall)
McKenzie: “He has played a lot of positions. We’ll see. For the beginning, we’ll let him play off the ball and see if he can play weakside linebacker, teach him both inside linebacker spots, and nickel. But he’s definitely going to have to try to make his money on special teams.”

My take: At this point in the draft, teams look for special teams guys who might develop into something more. James fills that role. Seems like a quality athlete with a decent motor. I trust Reggie McKenzie, Jack Del Rio and Ken Norton Jr. when it comes to linebackers. The Raiders did well with Neiron Ball and Ben Heeney, last year. 

OL Vadal Alexander, Louisiana State (No. 234 overall)
McKenzie: “(I was surprised he slipped in the draft), because big guys, they usually get taken. We felt really good about that and we like big people. He’s going to work both (guard and tackle). The versatility is what we liked about him.”

My take: The Raiders got lucky at this point. They found a big body and versatile player in the final round. He also fills the depth need on the offensive line with experience at guard and tackle. Plus, all that I’ve read says that he should have gotten drafted way earlier than this. 

*All quotes via Scott Bair.

Oakland Raiders need Robert Nkemdiche

The Raiders passed on Leonard Williams last year, because they needed targets for Derek Carr. With the offense now in place, the Raiders need Robert Nkemdiche.

Don’t get me wrong. I like Sheldon Rankins. He played across the entire Louisville defensive line. Rankins dominated the Senior Bowl and performed well at the NFL Combine.

However, he is no Robert Nkemdiche.

In fact, there are not a lot of Nkemdiches. He is a specimen that only comes around every few years. A chiseled, interior linemen that runs a 4.87 40-yard-dash. He also dominated the eventually champions, Alabama.

The biggest knock on Nkemdiche: off-field character concerns. He also has some concerns with motor and work-ethic.

I get it. General Manager Reggie McKenzie built this Raiders team with high-quality and productive players. Nkemdiche does not fit that mold thanks to a stupid incident that involved him falling out of a second-story building and then snitching on Laremy Tunsil at the combine.

Yet the Raiders built a culture that Nkemdiche will not become a distraction in. He can learn from a troubled player like Aldon Smith.

More importantly, Nkemdiche will dominate on the Raiders. He can play beside Khalil Mack as a 3 tech. or two-gapping 5 tech. The Raiders can then use Mario Edwards Jr. at his natural position at end. Or they can rotate the two.

Take a look at the defenes Jack Del Rio participated in as a coach.

Baltimore, Carolina, Jacksonville and Denver all had playmakers on the defensive line. Expect Del Rio to carry that philosophy into Oakland. The group is already good, but they will become great with Nkemdiche in the rotation with Justin Ellis, Denico Autry, Dan Williams, Mario Edwards Jr. and a few more.

Unless Myles Jack falls, the Raiders should not pass on Nkemdiche.

Some mock drafts have the Raiders going corner, linebacker, running back or tackle in the draft. The Raiders can find a starter at any of those positions with No. 14. However, they can only find a dominate player like Nkemdiche there because of his off-field concerns.

The Raiders can address those other needs at later points. They can still find value at RB, LB, CB, and S in the middle rounds. That may be true for DT as well, but none will make the impact Nkemdiche can.