Thankfully, the Combine ended this week. While the process helps fill in the blanks, the event is rather long and somewhat boring. With that said, the Combine allowed fans to put numbers and context to prospects. This helps paint a sound picture of what the Raiders could actually observe during draft season.
Round 1: Haason Reddick, LB (Temple) Although Reddick tested well, his tape and interviews paint the total picture. Reddick started in the secondary, dominated at DE and found a home as a hybrid DE/OLB. He will slide inside to make sideline to sideline plays, blitz effectively, and cover with depth. Furthermore, he gives John Pagano another pass rusher to throw at offense on third downs.
Round 2: Fabian Moreau, DB (UCLA) While Moreau lacks stats at UCLA; there is no discounting his ability to cover with speed and strength. As of this writing, Sean Smith’s status in Oakland remains cloudy. Couple with that uncertainty, Reggie Nelson turns 34 this year and the clock is ticking on his career. Moreau could slide into either spot and provide athleticism and energy. In other words, Moreau will see the field in some capacity in 2017
Round 3: Dalvin Tomlinson, DT (Alabama) While 2016 marked the return of the Raiders, the interior of the defensive line failed to show up. Injuries and poor performance made the middle of the defensive a glaring weakness. With that said, Tomlinson provides the ability to push the pocket and enough burst to get upfield. Additionally, the tape shows his level of intensity unchanged. He plays with aggression every snap. When examining Tomlinson, watch the legs, in order to appreciate how he generates power.
Big Landings: Alshon Jeffery lands with Philadelphia Eagles
Making Moves:: Cleveland Browns trade for Osweiler and draft picks
Round 4: Tanoh Kpassagnon, DE (Villanova) Out of the same school that introduced RaiderNation to Howie Long, Kpassagnon enters Oakland. TK is a versatile, explosive lineman that uses reach, drive and a quick first step to defeat plodding opponents. On passing downs, TK shifts inside. In this case, his quickness wins out. You don’t find many 6’7″, 290 pound defensive ends with explosion.
Round 5: John Johnson, S (Boston College) In contrast to most college safeties, Johnson isn’t attached to one philosophy. Meaning, he is neither solely a brutal hitter or rangy prospect. With that said, Johnson shine everywhere from in the defensive backfield. As a result, the Raiders have a talent that can wait behind Reggie Nelson for a year, until he’s ready to challenge in 2018. Meanwhile, he’ll contribute in nickel situations.
Round 6: Jamaal Williams, RB (BYU) If Williams is truly a rotational back, he’ll succeed in Oakland. Also, the former BYU standout plays behind his pads and will fight for those short yardage conversions. With Latavius Murray gone, the backfield needs a power compliment to the speed of Washington and Richard. Williams is a grinder with a nose for the end zone.
Round 7: Aviante Collins, OL (TCU) At this point in the draft, McKenzie tinkers with athletes with upside in need of strong coaching and direction. Be that as it may, Collins’ athleticism needs to be paired with sound technique. Granted, not much is expected at this point, but providing OL depth is never a bad move. Plus, stashing him away, gives the Raiders a chance of instilling fundamentals.
Round 7: Montae Nicholson FS (Michigan State) Nicholson is all raw talent with the eye to being a core special teamer/role player. While his attributes may never translate, his ceiling is higher than most in this round. For this reason, the Raiders can afford to take a flyer on pure measureables. With Darren Bates and Brynden Trawick leaving, special teams looks to rebuild.