Football Memo

AFC West Draft Grades: Oakland Raiders

The Oakland Raiders will have the 5th selection in the NFL Draft.
LInebacker Khalil Mack

LInebacker Khalil Mack

Oakland Raiders
The Raiders had to be ecstatic when Mack fell into their laps. Mack was my second-rater player behind offensive tackle Greg Robinson, and should provide another piece to an improving Raiders’ team. Mack has what you want in an NFL linebacker: He’s big, tough as nails, fast, smart and versatile. He also brings a nasty edge to a defense, and should have an immediate impact. Mack is a three-down performer, and is very comfortable rushing the passer, playing the run, and dropping back into coverage. The Raiders then nabbed quarterback Derek Carr in the second round, in hopes he becomes the quarterback of the future. It’s a good fit for Carr and the Raiders. Oakland signed QB Matt Schaub this offseason to lead the team. That gives Carr time to develop, and ideally only becomes the starter when he’s ready. Third-rounder Gabe Jackson is another tough player, who excelled in college as a run-blocking guard. Jackson could start immediately, especially if he improves his pass-blocking technique. With the rest of its draft, Oakland added pieces to improve depth on defense, especially in the defensive backfield. The most notable selection was getting Utah cornerback Keith McGill in the fourth round. McGill could become the steal of this draft if he matures and displays the desire to be great. Athletically, McGill has the tools you look for in a corner. He’s 6-3 ½, 211 pounds, and can really get off the ground and challenge the biggest NFL receivers for 50-50 balls. He is a work in progress when asked to play in zone, or in off coverage … so he should be used early as a press cover. I also liked the addition of corner T.J. Carrie. Durability was Carrie’s only major weakness in college. I thought the Raiders had a very productive draft, but was surprised they didn’t try to upgrade at offensive tackle and/or receiver. While Mack is the only sure thing here, this grade will definitely skyrocket if Carr becomes a quality starting quarterback.
Grade: B

Oakland Raiders – 2014 Draft Selections
1 (5) Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo
2 (36) Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
3 (81) Gabe Jackson, G, Mississippi St
4 (107) Justin Ellis, DT, Louisiana Tech
4 (116) Keith McGill, CB, Utah
7 (219) T.J. Carrie, DB, Ohio
7 (235) Shelby Harris, DE, Illinois
7 (247) Jonathan Dowling, DB, Western Kentucky

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