Round 5, Pick #154: Phillip “Scooby” Wright III, LB, Arizona
Reggie McKenzie loves linebackers, and Scooby Wright is the kind of linebacker that both he, and the former Pro Bowl linebackers on the coaching staff would absolutely love to get a hold of. While Scooby Wright could very well be off the board at this point, his limited athletic measurables and recent injury history could cause him to drop way down to this point in a draft rich with defensive talent. But even if the Raiders took him in the 3rd or 4th round, I’d absolutely love to see Scooby in Silver and Black.
Scooby is a football player’s football player. While relatively slow and not particularly big or strong or athletic, he is a wrecking ball on the field. In 2014 he recorded 163 tackles (29 for loss), 14 sacks and six forced fumbles on his way to PAC-12 Defensive Player of the Year honors. He has stellar instincts that likely stem from his work ethic, often heading toward the play even ahead of the offensive players, getting there before the blocks can get set up, and finishing. He’s also a dangerous pass-rusher who it seems wills his way to the quarterback to close the deal.
Unfortunately, Scooby’s high motor, work ethic and instincts are in a body that is too small to be a full-time edge rusher or NFL Mike backer (that could be arguable) and too slow to be a full-time outside linebacker. That said, he can probably stay on the field at the next level a lot, as a traditional Will linebacker in running situations where he can crash down and thump like a Mike, and as a rush linebacker on passing downs where he can attack the quarterback and create pressure. He’ll have somewhat limited value as a cover guy in Ken Norton’s system, unfortunately, but his high motor and willingness to hit could make him a stud on special teams as well.
Scooby is a more instinctive if less athletic Ben Heeney, and if he’s still available in Round 5 it would be a minor miracle and a major steal. Scooby Wright was one of the most exciting players to watch in college football in 2014, but was only healthy for three games last year due to a torn meniscus and sprained foot. Even in limited appearances last year, he was brilliant, and I think he’d be an absolute steal in round five.
Next: Raiders Draft Wishlist: Round 6