Oakland Raiders 2014 NFL Draft Grades

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Dec 7, 2013; Fresno, CA, USA; Fresno State Bulldogs quarterback Derek Carr (4) looks to throw a pass against the Utah State Aggies in the third quarter at Bulldog Stadium. The Bulldogs defeated the Aggies 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

 

Derek Carr

While many fans were happy with this pick I was not. This move was not welcomed warmly by me for a few reasons. Firstly I realize Carr was considered a first round prospect, but with the depth at quarterback in this draft the Raiders would have been better off drafting a project quarterback later on. When you realize the Raiders have very little young talent it then would make sense for them to have waited and stocked up on as many guys as possible. For example, if you watched the Texans draft. The Texans drafted the best guy they could early on and waited until late to scoop up Tom Savage. Now while that may have been disheartening to watch this strategy maximizes picks and allows a team to fill the roster with young talent. This is important because when you fill a team up with young talent it allows you to remain competitive year in and year out. This was also the philosophy Reggie claimed to have; however, by drafting Carr he did not take the best player available and instead drafted based on need. Although Carr has flashed potential, the position of quarterback is such a hit or miss position that the Raiders would have benefitted from drafting a surefire talent in the second round or trading down to acquire more picks before drafting Carr.

Finally one of my biggest issues with Carr is that despite all his strengths he struggles with pressure, this issue is an issue that some say can be fixed. I would argue that this issue is not fixable and this could be demonstrated with two quarterbacks who struggled with pressure this season. This season both Matt Schuab and Eli Manning regressed under pressure this season. This is evidence that a quarterback’s struggles with pressure are not easily fixed and can last throughout their career.

Grade: C-

Gabe Jackson: Last season the Raiders had one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL, then in the offseason they lost their left-tackle Jared Veldheer who was quietly developing into a great offensive lineman for the Raiders. As a result the Raider were in need of offensive lineman, though they did pick up some quality veterans, the Raiders need to develop players on the offensive line who can replace the veterans and shore up our offensive line for years to come. Gabe Jackson is one of these guys. This is by no means a flashy pick, but Jackson has the potential to be an instant contributor. Jackson has the size and strength to dominate if he can develop this is a great pick. Bottom line with this pick McKenzie took the best player available.

Grade: B-

Justin Ellis: This pick was not the best possible pick. Ellis has flashed some great potential and was at one time considered a second round prospect, but he has struggled to maintain a consistent playing weight. He has character concerns dealing primarily with his commitment, discipline and work ethic. While, I hope this kid can turn things around I think the risk outweighs the potential even in round 4 despite the fact that this pick addressed a need. I would have much rather preferred the Raiders drafted the best available guy in corner Pierre Desir who was also a possible second round prospect.

Grade: D-

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