What NFL Draft experts are saying about Raiders selection of DE Malcolm Koonce at No. 79

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Levi Damien
·3 min read
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The NFL world had some serious complicated emotions about the Raiders’ first two picks when viewed as a package. The general feeling was that they took OT Alex Leatherwood too high and got a steal in round two safety Trevon Moehrig. It made it all the more interesting to see what they would do come the third round.

Their next pick was at 79; the first of back-to-back selections. With that pick they seemed to surprise a lot of people, taking Buffalo DE Malcolm Koonce. Though the only surprise Mike Mayock said he felt was surprise Koonce was still on the board.

For the overall thoughts from the NFL Draft world on the pick, we take a trip around.

Vinny Iyer, Sporting News

Grade: D

The Raiders went for another reach here hoping that Koonce, better off playing in a 3-4, can develop into a productive situational pass rusher. He was a mid-Day 3 prospect at best on most boards.

Vic Tafur, The Athletic

Grade: C

Koonce (6-foot-2, 249 pounds) had 14 sacks in 19 games over the past two seasons. Opinions on Koonce’s upside varied. Brugler had Koonce as his 200th overall player and gave him a seventh-round grade. The Raiders will hope he can outperform that evaluation.

Luke Easterling, Draft Wire

Grade: D

Another off-the-board pick for the Raiders, who bank on the upside and athleticism with Koonce here. He’ll need patience and polish before he’s ready to start at the next level.

Pro Football Focus

Grade: Average

The Raiders test the waters on a very productive pass rusher. He might not have the requisite strength right now, but the team will be hoping he adds that aspect to his game. He’s going to have to add some moves, but the bend and flexibility he possess are uncoachable traits. Can he stand up to the run at the NFL level? He was a reach of about 90 spots according to the PFF Big Board. Classic Raiders. Right now he’s a third-down player until he puts on NFL muscle.

Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports

Grade: B+

Super-bendy, Gumby-like rusher with long arms. Great combination to win around the corner. Just needs to get a little stronger at the NFL level. Good burst. Raiders continue to build the defense.

Arif Hasan, The Athletic

Consensus Big board rank 198 (10th biggest reach)

Doug Farrar, Touchdown Wire

the Raiders went back to the future by selecting a pass-rusher from Buffalo — but Malcolm Koonce is no Khalil Mack. Instead, he’s a reasonably productive player with nice athletic traits and a real need to get stronger against the run. Koonce is an appropriate third-round pick as a result.

Mel Kiper, ESPN

I’m really high on the upside of edge rusher Malcolm Koonce (79), though he’ll need to put on some weight to play defensive end in the Raiders’ 4-3. He is relentless.