NFL Draft Experts and our fellow FanSiders over at NFL Mocks put together a team specific mock for the Oakland Raiders. Below is a recap of their round-by-round picks for the Silver and Black. You can see the post in its entirety here.
2nd Round- Ras-I-Dowling, CB from Virginia
3rd Round- Orlando Franklin, OT from Miami
4th Round- Ryan Bartholomew, C from Syracuse
5th Round- Mario Fannin, RB from Auburn
6th Round- Virgil Green, TE from Nevada
7th Round- TJ Yates, QB from North Carolina
Overall, they have the Raiders addressing some of the areas in which immediate help is needed. While I can’t agree with all of the selections, there are a couple that I love.
While we all know how much Al Davis loves speed and the Raiders are going to draft a cornerback. I don’t think they’ll go with one in the second round. To me, there is too much value to be found at the cornerback position to use the first pick Oakland has on a DB. Further more, while Ras-I Dowling will make a good pro, I’m not sure he’s a good fit for Oakland. Yes, he has the ideal size for a Raider DB but he doesn’t have the elite level Raider speed. Beyond the stopwatch, a cornerback whose strength is zone coverage has no chance at playing for Davis who insists on leaving his corners out on that island with little to no safety help in his traditional man schemes.
Again, in the right scheme I think Dowling could be solid just not playing for a team that is almost exclusively relying on man coverage. Plus he does have health concerns that make this pick risky.
Now a guy who I think could be a quality pick late in the draft at DB is Ohio State’s Chimdi Chekwa. He won’t become a shutdown corner in the NFL but as a guy who can give you a few reps in certain defensive packages I think Chekwa will work nicely.
Not to dwell on the negative though. I have to admit I love the pick of T.J. Yates in the 7th round.
To me, Yates has been the most underrated quarterback in the NCAA for the last two years. Partly because he’s played with some very good wide receivers that have overshadowed him, partly because UNC football made headlines for all the wrong reasons this past season, Yates has been overlooked.
While he doesn’t have the arm and size that grab Al’s attention like Ryan Mallett, Yates does throw a very nice deep ball. In fact, his downfield accuracy trumps Mallett’s. And at 6’3” it’s not like the guy is a small fry.
Now let’s not get too carried away here. I’m not saying this guy is going to become the next Rich Gannon. But his intangibles are ideal and his talent is much better than most are willing to give him credit for. Another plus is that Yates isn’t coming out of some ridiculous Mike Leach type of offense. He’s going to be able to immediately grasp a pro offense and his learning curve will be primarily on the field.
But I’ll stop gushing over a potential 7th rounder even if I think he could be the absolute steal of the draft.
So take a moment out of your day and pop over to NFL Mocks where they’re serving up draft knowledge around the clock. With the combine in the bag we’re going to be spending plenty of time talking prospects in the coming weeks. Especially if the clock strikes midnight on the current CBA in the next 48 hours.