RAIDERS 2017 DRAFT PICKS – This year’s crop of Raider draftees is best described as low Floor – High Ceiling. Even more so than last year, the Oakland Raiders focused on potential and upside in the 2017 NFL draft. This should be an exciting group to watch in training camp as we get to know them and track their performance.
Going into the draft, the Raiders needed to find a pass rushing DT, a bonafide MLB, and upgrade the CB position. On offense, the team’s primary concern was long term solutions at Right and Left Tackle. Of the nine players selected, only CB Gareon Conely can be considered an instant upgrade at any of these positions. For the others, we’ll have to wait and see but the group certainly has high potential. Incidently, Oakland traded their 6th round pick to Arizona in exchange for two seventh round picks.
RAIDERS 2017 DRAFT PICKS
ROUND 1: GAREON CONLEY CB Ohio State
6-0 195 lbs. Ran a 4.44 at the combine. Good size and length. Can play both zone and man coverage at a high level. Talented CB who will compete for a starting role on Day 1. In 2016, depending on the source, opposing quarterbacks had a QBR of anywhere between 13.6 and 46.9 when targeting his wide receivers. Have to see what happens with the rape charges but GM Reggie says they fully vetted he situation and believe it will blow over. The Raiders might have been able to take Conley in Round 2 but hindsight is 20-20.
ROUND 2: OBI MELINFONWU S UConn
6-4 220 lbs. High character and great physical specimen. Ran a 4.40 and has a 44 inch vertical jump. Very strong against the run but needs to be coached up in the passing game. As with many of Oakland’s picks this year and last, a little raw but tremendous upside. If his reactiveness can become more instinctive the Raiders will have a dominating presence in the defensive backfield.
ROUND 3: EDDIE VANDERDOES DT UCLA
6-3 305 lbs. His collegiate career started off strong but he suffered a torn ACL in 2015. He came back in 2016 but underperformed against expectations. Except for an outstanding showing at the Senior Bowl he would potentially would have been a late round draft pick. Powerful at the point of the attack, Vanderdoes can handle and fend off double teams. He’s definitely a run stopper but posted only two sacks in three years at UCLA. Physical, gritty player and perhaps that’s what the Oakland Raiders were looking to add. Again, more upside than face value.
ROUND 4: DAVID SHARPE OT Florida
6-6 343 lbs. Started 26 out of 27 games at LT over the past two years. Uses his balance, quickness, and long arms to keep defenders away from his QB. GM Reggie McKenzie said Sharpe has to work on certain aspects but has high potential. He’ll have a chance to understudy behind current starting LT Donald Penn. If that doesn’t work out he’ll be moved to the inside or RT.
ROUND 5: MARQUEL LEE LB Wake Forest
6-3 240 lbs. Two season with 100+ tackles at Wake Forest. In 2016, Lee recorded 7.5 sacks and 20 tackles for a loss. Lacks the speed to play outside so will compete for the starting spot at MLB. Marquel is more of an athletic, finesse Linebacker than the Neanderthal in your face type. And that’s where the big question comes into play. Can his frame hold up to the constant pounding of an NFL ILB?
ROUND 7: SHALOM LUANI S Washington State
5-11 202 lbs. A hard hitting Safety at Washington State with eight interceptions over two years. Predicted by some to be an UDFA as production was credited more to athleticism than football prowess. A lot of naysayers out there with this pick (7th round too high?) but we think the kid will turn some heads. He’ll make the roster on Special Teams and we’ll see where else he can contribute after a few years of coaching.
ROUND 7: JYLAN WARE OT Alabama State
6-8 300 lbs. Small school Tackle that needs to improve his technique and add mass to his frame. That said, he’s athletic and agile for a player his size and reportedly ran the 40-yard dash in 4.99 seconds. Solid developmental pick for the Oakland Raiders.
ROUND 7: ELIJAH HOOD RB North Carolina
6-0 232 lbs. Tough, take it to you, always falling forward RB. Lacks desired speed (4.57) and vision but is a decent receiver and can pick up the blitz. Interesting pick given the group of RBs currently on the Raider roster. But again…low floor, high ceiling.
ROUND 7: TREYVON HESTER DT Toledo
6-2 300 lbs. Good size and quickness but needs to improve balance and pad level. Hester is an intense, high effort player well worth a 7th round pick by the Oakland Raiders. Will be fun to see him in camp.