JBB Draft Profile: Benardrick McKinney, LB, Mississippi State

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Nov 16, 2013; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs linebacker Benardrick McKinney (50) tries to pump up the crowd noise against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the first quarter at Davis Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the collective Raider Nation has come back down to earth, having watched our team get dismantled 52-0 by a mediocre Rams squad, we can turn our attention back to the 2015 NFL draft, where our Raiders are almost assured of having a top 5 selection, if not the first overall. The Raiders have a number of holes to fill on both sides of the ball, and it’s obvious that Reggie McKenzie’s preference is to fill those holes using the draft process rather than big-money free agency deals.

One of the glaring holes in the Raider roster is at middle linebacker, where 2012 draft selection Miles Burris has started most of the year in place of the injured Nick Roach and Kaluka Maiava. While Roach could return for the 2015 season, he will be 30 next summer, and will be under contract for only two more years. It’s unlikely he’s viewed as the future of the important Mike backer position, the quarterback spot on the defense, and linebacker guru Reggie McKenzie may look to use one of his draft picks this year to secure the future of that position for years to come.

With a veteran linebacker ostensibly in place in that spot for at least the next season, McKenzie may be willing to take a risk on a player with incredible upside and athletic ability who has played very well against some very strong competition throughout his college career, a player that has a few skill deficiencies but has a high ceiling. That player is Benardrick McKinney out of Mississippi State.