The Morning After: Oakland Raiders Options for Round 2

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Oct 11, 2014; Starkville, MS, USA; Auburn Tigers quarterback Nick Marshall (14) steps out of the pocket and is chased by Mississippi State Bulldogs defensive lineman Preston Smith (91) during the game at Davis Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

5. Preston Smith, DE, Mississippi State

I won’t feign journalistic aloofness here. Preston Smith might be my favorite player on the board for the Raiders #35 overall pick. Smith is a big, powerful defensive end out of the SEC who had very solid production. Standing 6’5″ and weighing 271 pounds, he compares very well physically to current Raider end Justin Tuck, and is a prototype 4-3 end who can play the 5 and 7 technique. He’s a very capable edge run defender who can stymie a kickout block and make tackles on the perimeter or inside. While not an elite edge pass rusher, he has a decent pass-rushing tool kit, and can sometimes slip inside blockers to make free runs at a quarterback’s face. He could be an effective pass rusher out of a 3-technique alignment, though he lacks the size to play there on the early downs.

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  • Preston Smith is a quality defensive end who is alot like current Giants end Robert Ayers, whom Jack Del Rio coached in Denver, or perhaps a faster Michael Bennett, who Ken Norton Jr. saw a lot of as the linebackers coach in Seattle. He can stay on the field for 3 downs, though he is not an elite-level edge rusher. He could very likely be a starter this year at the weakside defensive end spot, though his more natural fit would be in Justin Tuck’s spot. I have no indication that the Raiders are interested in Smith or considering him at #35 overall, but I think this would be the pick that would make me happiest.