Ranking the Oakland Raiders Top 5 UDFA’s

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5. Josh Shirley

Nov 22, 2014; Honolulu, HI, USA; Hawaii quarterback Ikaika Woolsey (11) gets his helmet torn off as he is sacked by UNLV defensive lineman Josh Shirley (91) and linebacker Tau Lotulelei (55) during the third quarter of the NCAA college football game at Aloha Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marco Garcia-USA TODAY Sports

Former UNLV outside linebacker Josh Shirley proved early in his college career that he has the necessary physical tools needed to perform at an elite level, but his character and off-field incidents have managed to keep him from reaching his high potential.

A four-star recruit in high school, Shirley accepted an offer to UCLA. Before he even played a down for the Bruins, he was dismissed from the team after being “arrested for suspicion of felony charges”.

Shirley then rebounded at the University of Washington, as he accumulated 21 tackles for loss and 19 sacks in just his first two seasons with the Huskies. Shirley was emerging as a potential first-round pick as he entered his third season, but he simply couldn’t mirror his production in his final two years in the NCAA.

As a redshirt junior Shirley got to the quarterback just three times (all of them coming in one game against the University of Illinois).

Just before he was about to enter his fourth year at Washington, Shirley chose to transfer to the University of Las Vegas for his final year of eligibility. At UNLV he registered just two sacks and a combined 13 tackles.

Though it would be easy to assume that Shirley’s early success was simply a fluke, GM Reggie McKenzie must believe that the California native still has the potential to produce at the next level.

At 6’3″, 230 pounds, Shirley creates for a low-risk prospect with a lot of potential as an athletic pass-rushing nightmare at the outside linebacker position. If he can sit behind rising star Khalil Mack and learn to effectively use his natural ability to produce on the field, then Shirley could really develop into something special.

If all else fails, I expect Shirley to have an immediate impact on special teams due to his natural speed and relatively high motor.

Next: Top 5 UDFA's: #4, Tevin McDonald