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Oakland Raiders: Free Agency Blueprint

The Oakland Raiders regime consistently adds competition to their roster through Free Agency. The Raiders will continue this trend by addressing each need with a capable starter or solid backup.

This formula helps steady the blue-worker culture of Jack Del Rio’s roster. It saves owner Mark Davis money by not cashing huge checks for any single Free Agent. Plus it gives general Manager Reggie McKenzie freedom in the draft.

Here is how the Raiders can win the NFL offseason, as the official NFL new year begins with the opening of Free Agency. Expect them to hone in on the running game and pass defense in the 2016 offense. They worked on run defense and passing attack last year.

1. Resign Donald Penn

The Raiders need someone ready to grow Derek Carr and Amari Cooper on offense. Unfortunately, that guy is not in free agency. The closest thing is Russell Okung, but he is not worth spending big bucks on. Also, count the Raiders out of the bidding war for Osmele.

It seems unlikely Penn returns because the sides could have signed a deal during the season. However, he is the perfect two year stop gap as the team drafts his replacement.

2. Sign a linebacker

The Raiders can cut Curtis Lofton now or before the season. Either way the team needs to upgrade the linebacker position. These players could be found in the draft. However, this talent group is top heavy at the position. Add  Danny Travathan, Jerrell Freeman or Bruce Irvin. Good age and plenty of experience. The Raiders got the cash to make this fast and easy.

They may also select a linebacker in the draft. Regardless, signing a starting caliber linebacker is a priority.

3. Grab some safeties

Forget your opinion on Nate Allen. Plus, Taylor Mays and Larry Asante are best as special teams. Therefore, the Raiders need to add at least two safeties via the draft or free agency.

The Raiders will make a run on a starting safety like Eric Weddle, Tashaun Gipson or George Iloka. After locking one up, they’ll add a fringe starter to the mix like Sean Richardson, Walter Thurmond, Hussain Abdullah or Michael Griffin.

4. Add a pass rusher or two

It is the old chicken or egg debate. What came first, the poor secondary or poor pass rush? I know the Raiders pass rush was decent last year, but expect the team to build on the strength. Del Rio and McKenzie both like building teams from the inside out.

Olivier Vernon and Malik Jackson spark a lot of interest for the Raiders. However, Oakland will probably pass on their high price tags. The Raiders should try adding someone like Jason Pierre-Paul on a fair market deal. That could move Khalil Mack into full-time linebacker duty. Either way that is an upgrade to the pass rush.

Otherwise the group can add some bargain bin veterans via the Justin Tuck role. How about Mario Williams or Chris Long? Both players could play all along the defensive line or rush the passer standing up. Charles Johnson might also be someone they add later in the process.

5. Add an offensive guard.

I am willing to believe this unit believes in John Feliciano. That is why they will not pay Osmele $10 million a yer to play guard. Osmele is not the answer at left tackle either, despite him starting a few games there last season.

The Raiders could still add a quality starter at the position. This could include Alex Boone, Jeff Allen or Ramon Foster. Otherwise they will probably take a flier on a veteran like Jahri Evans or Geoff Schwartz. This atleast gives them another year or two to develop Feliciano.

6. Bring in a corner

The Raiders will probably be linked to high end corners like Sean Smith and Prince Amukamara. However, they will probably see what they have in the trio of T.J. Carrie, D.J. Hayden and David Amerson. All three are young enough for another season of consideration. Adding some pass rush will help this group out.

Nonetheless, the Raiders will still sign some talent at the position. They’ll extend serious interest to Casey Heyward, Jeremy Lane, Morris Claiborne or Brandon Boykin early.  Heyward is the best of that group by far, but the rest of the guys could prove themselves in the Raiders secondary. As a consolation prize, the Raiders may give Leon Hall, Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson or Leonis McKelvin one last shot at playing time.

7. Add some skill players

The Raiders should express some interest in young position skill guys. The Raiders are more talented at running back and receiver than past years. However, they can still add a young player to push the incumbents at receiver or running back. Jermaine Kearse, Rishard Matthews and Marvin Jones should be in the Raiders spending. Anquan Boldin, Roddy White or Brandon LaFell might also bring their last bit of gas to the organization. The Raiders need another deep threat to replace Andre Holmes. Adding a big receiver could also spell Amari Cooper into the slot.

At running back it is much of the same. Some okay veterans and okay starters. The Raiders like Latavius Murray off of a Pro Bowl year. The team won’t overpay for Doug Martin or Lamar Miller despite how beast of a compliment they would be for Murray. Ronnie Hillman or CJ Anderson make sense as they are both young. James Starks or Arian Foster will be connected to the organization. No matter who they sign, the Raiders should also add a runner from the top five rounds of the draft. Unless they strike gold with Martin, Miller or Matt Forte.

8. Draft the best player available

The Raiders have no need to reach for a position in the draft. McKenzie does a good job at letting the draft play out. He will do the same by drafting the best overall talent in the draft.

Expect any player the Raiders draft to compete for a starting position. I predict the team will use two of its’ first three picks on defense. That is only if a really good running back or tackle falls into a position they can not resist.

9. Bring back key players

Keep Denico Autry, Seth Roberts and any other players they like from last season. That includes guys who might become career back ups like Tony Bergstrom, Khalif Barnes or Matt McGloin. I’m not oppossed to keeping Matt McCants, Rod Streater, Andre Holmes, Taylor Mays, Neiko Thorpe or anyone else that got significant time last year. If someone else does not value them, give them at least a shot in camp. The Raiders need these guys for role positions, and they played with lots of heart in 2015.

Finally, sign Aldon Smith. Make it Happen. He is too talented to let go.

MY predictions:

  1. Sign Donald Penn
  2. Sign Danny Travathan
  3. Sign Tashaun Gipson and Sean Richardson
  4. Sign Jeff Allen
  5. Sign Jeremy Lane
  6. Sign Chris Long
  7. Sign Jermaine Kearse and CJ Anderson
  8. Draft: T. Decker, Robert Nkemdiche, Paul Perkins, Scooby Wright, Best corner, best receiver, best corner or safety.
    1. Rankins or Nkemdiche are my favorite pickers here. However this is not a bad spot for Jason Spriggs, Ronnie Staley or Taylor Decker depending on Pro Days.
    2. If Nkemdiche or Jaylon Smith land here they are two talented to let fall past the Raiders in round two. Otherwise Kenny Clark, Dorian Thompson or Deion Jones could fit here.
    3. Paul Perkins is my favorite of the second tire backs in this class. Great pass catching option. Otherwise C.J. Prosise or Tyler Ervin comes into play here also.
    4. Best linebacker, linemen or corner in this spot depending on the rest of the draft. A good defensive player like Wright might find himself here.
    5. Draft remains the same through next 3 rounds. Just add some athletes. Maybe a high ceiling guy like Rashard Robinson.

 

 

Ultimately, the Raiders will continue their trend upwards with this draft. They add plenty of B and C plus signings before killing the NFL Draft. This team would definitely compete in the NFL Playoffs.

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How the combine effected the Raiders’ board

The Combine makes prospects stock rise and fall every year. Here are some performances that should impact the Raiders’ big board.

Pass Rushers

Always at a premium, the combine helped differentiate some of the nation’s top pass rushers.

Dante Fowler from Florida stole the show displaying fluidity and charisma in drills and with the media. He has the long arms to be a true 4-3 end, which are hard to come bye as stand up rushers are more utilized now a days. He may be worth reaching for but could also be a target the Raiders move down for.

Randy Gregory from Nebraska didn’t do bad but he didn’t do great either. He was underweight and proved he is more stand up end than hand in his ground. Raiders should eliminate him from consideration at four.

Vic Beasley made headlines displaying an explosive 41′ vert combined with 35 reps on the bench press. Combined with displaying great tape at Clemson, Beasley should earn top ten consideration. He also showed up bigger than expected.

Odighizuwa Owamaghe also had a great outing at the combine. He looks like a pure hand down defensive end, and he should be the Raiders pick if available at the top of the second

Preston Smith also did well showing a 2.71 fourty yard dash. He too could get consideration at top of the second round, If he lasts until the third, he could be the highly productive collegian steal McKenzie finds in the draft.

Wide receivers

The big three reminded everyone why they are some of the best players in the draft period. DaVante Parker got lost in the shuffle behind Kevin White and Amari Cooper. Still Parker’s sub 4.5 fourty dispels any myths about his speed. Hence, Parker could be a viable option if the Raiders move down.

White shocked the world running a 4.35. His frame combined with mentioned speed make him receiver with the most potential. Enough that many have the Raiders selecting him.

Cooper did not bomb the combine. He showcased the numbers people expected. It would have been fine if White and Parker didn’t do so well. I still prefer Cooper’s resume of production over the other guys, but it is definitely a matter of taste when separating the three.

Inside linebackers

Denzel Perryman and Tavrion Dawson both bombed the fourty yard dash. Good news is they are still the type of players with instincts and production that will translate. Better news is, either could be available in third our fourth rounds as Raiders have a glaring need at inside linebacker.

Meanwhile, Stephone Anthony increased his draft stock massively running a 4.5. He may be the type of athlete at inside linebacker that the Raiders reach for at the top of the second. Added, Kendricks out of UCLA did not hurt his stock, he may still be top Mike prospect.

Running Backs

None of the running backs cemented themselves as the top guy. Most performed as expected, hence it will be a matter of preference based.

Even with cap space to throw at a free agent back and an incumbent Latavius Murray, I still expect them to make a move in the draft.

Depending on how the draft shapes up, I’d love to see Jay Ayayi, TJ Yelton, Duke Johnson or Ameer Abdullah wearing silver and black.

All of the information above is from NFL.com

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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.

Too Early to Call Hayden a Bust

The big news out of Raiders’ Mini-camp has been the absence of last year’s 1st round pick D.J. Hayden. After being injured off and on last season, the corner back has  left many fans disappointed that he has been unable to stay on the field. So much disappointment that many people are already calling him a bust, but I am here to say lets simmer down.

I get Raider-nation wants to see what Reggie Mckenzie’s first No ! pick can do, but he is only entering his second off season. How can you call him a bust already, before he can even piece together a real season? The best argument would be that he might not be able to complete a full-season, and might just be an injury prone guy. Yet, lets not get ahead of ourselves, as injuries happen to every single player.

As Raider fans we grow nervous because of players like Darren McFadden who have broken our heart over and over again. Yet injuries are part of the game, and young players have to learn to deal with them. Silver innings are usually BS, but Hayden’s injury means he will be able to get mental reps that should help him when he can get out there again.

Out of all the players on the Roster, I think DJ Hayden needs these off season reps more than anyone. Hayden was out of football for an entire year due to his extreme chest injury, and he still needs time adapting to the speed of the game. However, the young player has shown he can deal with the adversity of injuries as he came in willing and ready to compete after each of his injuries.

In the past, Hayden has shown an injury will not keep him from competing. Nor will it discourage him from believing in his abilities. Hence, I hope he takes the time to get fully healed before the real season comes along, because that is when real lingering injuries occur.

Further, Hayden is still an extremely young player with a lot of upside. His speed and athleticism are something you can not teach, but his football iq and work ethic should keep fans believing he can live up to his potential. This season, he added fifteen pounds of muscle so his body could take the pounding of the NFL, which illustrates his work ethic.

As fans, it is frustrating that he is already out, but lets remember it is only mini-camp. They are still not actually playing football, so until Hayden misses some time in actual pads then I will worry. Other than that our secondary is going to need depth, so getting McGill and Chidekwa reps is just as important.

Either way it was too early in Hayden’s career and the 2014 season to label Hayden a bust. Our team wants and needs him, so lets be a little more fair to him and give his game and health a little more time before labeling him a bust.

Saying who we could have drafted last season does us no good. The fact is, Hayden was drafted to be a cornerstone of our defense and it is our job as fans to support him as he strives to meet that goal. Labeling him a bust does nothing good for a player we fans want to see succeed, especially this early.

2014 Draft shows Raiders building a Culture

Now that the dust has settled on the NFL Draft, rookie contracts, and rookie mini-camps the Oakland Raiders can be excited about their 2014 draft class. I have never been an advid supporter of GM Reggie McKenzie, however, he should be applauded for having a top-notch draft classes. Besides the talent he was able to obtain, McKenzie proved he has a plan by selecting players who were productive throughout college.

No. 5 draft pick, Khalil Mack was a dominate and physical player throughout his tenure at Buffalo.
Eventhough he was the best player on the field most of the time, Mack worked his way to the top of the draft after being looked over during recruitment. Forget the scheme fit and team need Mack fills. Mack is exactly the hardworking cornerstone McKenzie wants to build the culture around. Combined with last year’s top draft pick, D.J. Hayden, the Oakland Raiders should have two leaders of their defense for years to come. Added, the stop-gap veteran players on the Oakland Raiders can hopefully pass some knowledge to the young faces of the Oakland Raiders. Even if Mack struggles growing his game to the NFL, there are veteran guys there who can help ease his transition into the NFL. One thing is for sure, Mack combines nastiness and a work ethic which should make him a dominate force in the league.

On day two of the draft, the Raiders followed consensus opinion by selecting Derek Carr. The Raiders lucked out with this pick. Not only did they get the pass-rusher they coveted at the top of the draft, but a local prospect and pro-ready quarterback tumbled down the draft pick and into the Raiders’ lap. Carr is a raw prospect, but he has an NFL ready arm. His mind should be able to adapt to Pro termenology and pro-defenses, because his brother should have been helping him out with that. Carr was productive throughout his career at Fresno State, and he has the big body the Raiders envision for their quarterback. The former bulldog threw for 50tds and only 9 ints in his final season. Hence, Carr is another highly productive player who has the potential to seize the starting role and become the offensive leader.

With their third selection of the 2014 Draft, McKenzie made a smart move by trading back and obtaining another draft pick. Gabe Jackson from Mississippi State, is not a household name. He should be to those who have watched SEC football the past few years. Jackson dominated the best conference in the NCAA, and should be an immediate starter. Moreover he can be a mauler for years to come, especially if they plan to build a bully on the offensive line.

Ellis on the defensive line is another big body with some good upside. He is a true nose tackle, and should assist the Raiders with their plan on having a versatile defense. Not only will he eat up blockers, but he will suprise people with his pass rush.

The next addition in Keith McGill also helped the Raiders continue their plan on adding versatile defensive backs. McGill’s skillset makes him a capable zone defender. He has the size and skill set to fit into the line-up, instantly. McGill is another blue-collar guy who worked as an auto mechanic. Hence he has the work ethic which will help the Raiders build the type of culture they want. Moreover, he is 25 and should be ready to compete and put food on his table.

In the Later rounds, the Raiders added a few more defensive backs, and a defensive end. The first of the team’s seventh round pick TJ Carrie has a good chance to be a returner, and is a local product from De La Salle. However the next two picks are some of the Raiders most intriguing players. Shelby Harris and Johnathan Dowling both had their own mistakes that lead to character concerns.

Hopefully both of those players can suck up some veteran wisdom from the rest of the time. Either of them could be key contributors at a bargain cost. Especially Dowling, he has the size and looked like a solid prospect at Florida before being dismissed by the team.

This last draft class is an indication that Reggie McKenzie has a plan. He is not easily rattled enough to reach for a pass-rusher or quarterback because of team need. Moreover, it shows that he is trying to build an entirely new culture in Oakland, which will be based hard working and highly productive players. However, it also showed he is not afraid to take a chance on a player late, as long as it entails competition on the roster. Hence, the entire draft showed the Oakland Raiders are building a highly competitive roster. They do not want to just sit back and wait for rookies to compete. Reggie Mckenzie is ready for the rookies to compete with veterans from the start.

In addition here is the podcast version: https://soundcloud.com/silverandblog/raiders-podcast-otas

Derek Carr starter sooner than later

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Don’t be surprised if Derek Carr wins the starting job headed into the season. Sure he is a rookie, but few quarterbacks are chatting up opposing defenses with their older professional brother.

I get NFL bloodlines do not mean much, but I think Carr’s learning curve is going to be less than other rookies. Added the Raiders have four capable recievers in Denarrius Moore, James Jones, Rod Streater, and Andre Holmes. Combined with Marcel Reece and Mycheal Rivera as the versatile mismatches, and the Raiders could actually run more spread style sets for Carr.

He threw a lot of screens in college, but did also run some pro sets. Further the running game and running backs are there to build around Carr. He brings more of a gunslinger mentality that will open up the playbook.

We seen it last season, when Pryor beat out Flynn. Schaub and Flynn are different quarterbacks, but the moral of the story is the coaching staff is not afraid to play the best player. Not to mention, Schaub and Flynn share the experience of quarterbacks loosing their starting jobs with their previous teams. Carr can capitalize on Schaub’s shaken confidence, and seize the attention of fans, coaches, and teammates.

Either-way, I would not be surprised if Derek Carr starts at some point in the middle of the season. You never want to wish injury on him, but you never know now-a-days. Plus, if the team struggles facing the toughest schedule in the league, then you roll with a big armed gunslinger like Carr, so he develop as the signal caller of the future.

Carr has already shown the intangibiles to be the quarterback of the future. Before he can do that, he has to be the quarterback of the now. He is a lot closer to that than the media or coaching staff leads on. Whatever the case, the first step of his journey begins by beating out Matt McGloin as the back up QB

Day Two still a lot of options for Raiders

via usa today


The Oakland Raiders added an impact offensive player in the first round of the draft, by selecting Khalil Mack. The Raiders built on that by selecting Derek Carr as their developmental quarterback of the future in Derek Carr.

Carr’s big-body and big-arm made him a candidate to be selected in the first round, so the value at 36 is tremendous. Added with Nor-cal connections and NFL Bloodlines, it seems like a no brainer that the Raidersselected Carr. However, there is still so much talent available that the Raiders can still nabb an impact player in the third round or trade back into the second.

Defensive Line

Mack’s addition solidifies the Raiders pass-rush, but they still need a force on the inside rotation. Lucky for them, them one with a first round grade are still on the board for a trade-up. Louis Nixx, and Timmy Jernigan are two disruptive forces on the inside. Any of these guys could warrant trading up, because they fill a need and provide immediate impact. However, They may even wait until the third round to select ASU’s Will Sutton, Notre Dame’s Stephon Tuitt, and Penn State’s Da Quan Jones who all would also be young upgrades on the inside.

Wide Recievers

Many slated the Raiders to select Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans at the top of the draft. Mack fell to them, and they did not second guess themselves. However, this is a very deep class. Allen Robinson, Cody Latimor, and Jordan Matthews are the big recievers Reggie McKenzie perfers, so any of them could be potential options to trade up for. Even if they do not elect to trade up and select a reciever in the second round, their are plenty of guys who may fall to the 3rd and possibly day 3. Donte Montecrief, Davante Adams, Paul Richardson, and Latarvius Murray are a little bit more raw then the guys mentioned above, but could have an equally high ceiling. The Raiders will probably only draft one of them if they are the best player available.

Defensive Backs
The Raiders still have a need in the defensive back field. Brock Vereen could be available as a safety in the third round. Otherwise they would be better off waiting for day 3 to select a safety. Jaylen Watkins would be a wanted slot corner/safety combo at the top of the third round. Bashaud Breeland, Keith McGill, Phillip Gaines, and Stanley Jean-Baptiste could all be other names to keep an eye on. They have Different skill sets but could be best players available when the third round comes along.

Offensive Line

The Raiders missed out on Bitinio and Suo Fila at the top of the second. However, centers Weston Richburg, Marcus Martin, and Travis Swanson could all be available when the Raiders select again in the third round

No Suprise if Raiders select Evans

Mike Evans showcases abilities and athletecism at NFL Scouting Combine, via SI.com


Many in the media, have predicted a for-gone conclusion that the Raiders will target Khalil Mack or Sammy Watkins with the fifth draft pick. Otherwise, the two may consider some of the elite tackles, but will likely trade down the board.

However, in the scenario that Mack and Watkins are off of the board, could the Raiders hold their water and select Mike Evans. NBC football talk reported the Raiders may lean towards Evans over Watkins, and another source broke their was a team in the top ten with similar thinking.

Well I have been adament about the Raiders selected Watkins, it would not suprise me if they select Evans even if Watkins is available.

The truth is, Reggie McKenzie likes big recievers. Evans could be the big possession reciever for Greg Olsen’s west coast offense. Sure they already have Rod Streater and Andre Holmes in that role, but who wouldn’t want another big reciever as there is a trend of defensive backs getting bigger and more physical.

McKenzie already admitted in interest in the one and one a recievers of this class of Evans and Watkins. He said he would take their great abilities over the rest of the classes’ good abilities anydays.

While Watkins may be the more polished and pro ready reciever, Evans seems to have more upside, with a 6’5 frame and fast fourty time. He does not offer the same value as Watkins in space and returning, but Evans has plenty of god given talent.

It is tough to evaluate him, because he played with Johnny Manziel. Just as many times as he took over games with big plays, he also dissapperead. No one is sure if Evans made Manziel or vice versa, but both have value at the next level.

However, this could just as well be a smoke screen to increase leverage at trading out of their pick. Or it could be a method to hide the Raiders’ interest, whom the media thinks they have predicted.

Ideally, either Watkins or Evans would be needed additions to a Raiders’ offense which is desperate for an identity. Matt Schaub should be happy to get either of these guys, but it would not suprise me if the Raiders stay at five and select Evans over Watkins.

Even if it is a reach, McKenzie proved last season, he is willing to get the player he wants even if it is at a higher cost. Whatever the decision is, hopefully it pans out for McKenzie, because this will be his defining draft selection.

Bridgewater’s fall signifies value of QB class

via google images

Draft Day is finally here! As informed fans we have been hearing the same talk over the past few months.

Who’s falling, who’s rising, and who faired well at the Pro-day.

One of those players who heard that talk was Teddy Bridgewater. During the season, Bridgewater was the consensus top quarterback in the college football. He only threw four interceptions, and helped lead his team to a bowl game.

Fast forward to the pre-draft process, and guys are talking about him going in the second round. It is a pretty steep fall considering Bridgewater has not played a single down of football since people considered him a candidate for the top pick.

They have said he has small hands, his football knowledge is not impressive, he can not lead a franchise, he is not accurant, his arm strength is unimpressive, he can not read defenses, and his frame is too small.

All of this has knocked down Bridgewater’s stock from Mike Mayock to Mel Kiper. However, could Bridgewaters tumble down draft boards be a sign of this entire draft class rather than him as a player.

Many have called this draft one of the deepest in years, especially at the skill positions. There are all kind of playmakers in this draft. Hence, it should be no suprise if the value of quarterback as a whole goes down. The defensive side of the ball is not as deep, so I expect teams to pick those players up early and often well waiting to later rounds for offensive skill players.

While this class does have talented skill players, quarterbacks are the position with the most question marks. From Johnny Manziel, Derek Carr, and Blake Bortes to the quarterbacks expected to go in later rounds, each one has their different risks at the next level.

Bridgewater was once thought to have the least amount of risk, but that seems to not be the case. Hence, it would not suprise me if this entire quarterback class slipped to later rounds. Last draft, E.J. Mannuel was the only quarterback selected in the first round, and that was considered a reach by the Bills. Geno Smith felt the same type of fall Bridgewater is facing, as he stumbled to the second round.

My other point is this, maybe Bridgewater and this quarterback class was never that high to begin. It was media who built Bridgewater up, and it is media who is knocking him down. As more and more underclassmen declare for the draft each year, media face an even bigger learner curve trying to catch up to teams with dedicated scouting units. Hence maybe Bridgewater’s draft stock hasn’t fallen, because it was never that high to begin with. Maybe media is only now putting him and quarterback classmates right where they finally belong, in the second round.

In closing, it would not suprise me if Bridgewater falls to the second round, neither would it suprise me if he is selected in the top ten. The same could be said about each of the quarterbacks in this draft. However, the team which grabs Bridgewater in the second round, will be getting a pro-ready, leader and draft day still. I am just finally glad to see what happens, because its draft day…. and we get that much closer to Footbal!!!!

Pro-Days not Everything

Blake Bortles performs at combine, and built on that performance with a great pro-day via USA Today

A lot of hype surrounds NFL pro-days. For good reason too, as NFL teams have scouted the top prospects for months, and look forward to an oppurtunity to see them perform live.

For QBs especially, Pro-days are a huge deal because many of the top prospects elect not to throw at the combine. Additionally teams want to see players perform at their best in their own controlled and simulated environment.

Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel and Derek Carr all held their pro-days this week. Allen visited the first two’s and is scheduled to check out Manziel’s. Mckenzie has attended Derek Carr and David Fales pro-day.

With That said, the hype has been around Bridgewater and Bortles. Bortles recieved a 10 out of 10 from ESPN’s Ron Jaworski, and many other scouts have sky rocketed him up to the top of the draft boards even as far as the no. 1 pick.

Bridgewater on the other hand, was overwhelming. Mike Mayock said his pro-day was average and did not do anything to his draft stock. Other opinions in the media did add more questions to Bridgewater’s potential after the poor pro-day.

The Reality of the situation tells a different story. Bridgewater attempted throwing without his usual gloves and claimed that had to do with some of his inaccuricies. Bortles smelled blood and absolutely killed his pro-day.

Neither’s performance should really effect their draft status. The fact of the matter is you want to draft a QB because you are in love with him. Once you love a QB you can build your team around him and give him every chance to succeed. If he is your guy then one good or bad outing should not change your opinion of the guy.

Both guys have a compilation of film over the past years which indicate what they are capable of doing in pads, not a tee shirt. What did people expect from the pro-days? Of Course, Bortles is going to impress with his rocket arm, size and mobility. However you can not really answer questions about his ability to make decisions or read defenses until he goes against a live Defense, not on air.

Same thing with Bridgewater. Bridgewater has not been the consensus number one QB because he has the biggest arm. Scouts have liked his decision making and leadership skills. Combined with solid athletecism and a solid arm, many feel like he is the most pro-ready quarterback. One bad day should not change that perception because his game tape indicates otherwise. Not to mention, Bridgewater took negative opinion in stride and has illustrated the bounceback characteristic you want with a QB.

Added, Jamarcus Russell had one of the best Pro-Days ever. There will always forever be guys who look great in tee-shirts and shorts at every level of football. That should not takeaway from what a player does on gameday in a live situation

Either way, Pro-days should not change the Raiders perspective on either of these QB’s. Both have enough gametape to prove they belong in the NFL. The Raiders should not fall out of love with Bridgewater cause of a bad day nor should they love Bortles because of one great day.

The pre-draft process is exactly that, a process. The Raiders need to take the compilation of pro-days. combine performances, interviews, and game tape before gambling on a QB at the top of the draft. Regardless, the Raiders will have an oppurtunity to set up private workouts for either or both of these guys.

For more on my take about the Top Qbs Pro-days, listen to my podcast.