Mel Kiper Jr. gives Raiders draft a preposterous ‘C’ grade

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The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!


After whiffing on all of his mock drafts for the Silver and Black, ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. gave Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie a ‘C’ draft grade for his efforts in Philadelphia this weekend.

To begin his dissent from McKenzie’s draft class, Kiper began in on Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley.

“This is obviously a really difficult class to be assessing, given all that was swirling around Gareon Conley going into the draft, and without much time to gather information. I really just need to remove him from the equation here. On ability, he’s a top-15 player, and the Raiders obviously feel comfortable with what they know of his off-field situation. But that situation really transcends a discussion of player value. I do think the Raiders could have taken a few other players in that spot and felt good about it.”

Conley has no charges filed against him, multiple witness statements which back his position that he did not assault the alleged female victim and a passed polygraph test that he astutely sent to the Raiders (along with all other NFL teams) on draft day.

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Photo via Brynn Anderson / AP Images

Shortly thereafter, Kiper goes on to critique Oakland’s second and third round selections, stating that former Connecticut safety Obi Melifonwu’s tape “doesn’t quite live up” to his combine marks and calling former UCLA nose tackle Eddie Vanderdoes a “puzzler” in the third round.

What’s confusing about the first part of Kiper’s analysis is the fact that if Melifonwu “lived up to his combine marks” on tape, he would arguably be the best draft prospect in the past decade.

In respect to Kiper’s position on Vanderdoes, Raiders coach Jack Del Rio thinks his best football is still ahead of him. Moreover, Vanderdoes’ freshman tape was some of the best in the country prior to his ACL tear in 2015.

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Photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

Kiper wraps up his analysis of McKenzie’s later selections saying former Florida offensive tackle David Sharpe will provide depth along the offensive line, calling former Wake Forest linebacker Marquel Lee “a bit of a reach,” stating that former Washington State safety Shalom Luani has “a chance to stick” before circling back to Conley.

“The Conley situation clouds this, and I would have liked for them to get an inside linebacker,” Kiper concluded.

It did come down to a middle linebacker in former Vanderbilt standout Zach Cunningham and Melifonwu at pick No. 56, however, Kiper completely misunderstood the point of the draft — which was to stop a defense that gave up 60 explosive plays one year ago from being exposed again.

As such, Melifonwu gives Oakland a true tight-end stopper, Lee offers a very rangy and athletic interior linebacker presence and McKenzie keenly attacked this draft by stacking a secondary and both lines at vital positions.

Given that Kiper has so many draft classes to analyze, perhaps he wasn’t afforded the time to understand the context of McKenzie’s selections. A fact that means we give his draft grade of C for the Raiders, a big fat F.


The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!

Raiders draft recap and grade: B+

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The Oakland Raiders made nine selections in the 2017 NFL draft. Here is a recap of each pick and a grade for general manager Reggie McKenzie’s draft.

G Conley
Photo via Jeremy Birmingham/Land of 10

Round 1, Pick 24 (No. 24 overall) – Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State

Former Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley was a projected top 10-15 pick and Oakland was able to land him at No. 24 making him a great value pick.

If he is cleared of the alleged rape accusation, as he is expected too, then this pick will be a great one.

Conley can provide major relief in the secondary by playing in the slot until he takes over for either starting cornerback David Amerson or Sean Smith in the future.

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POLL: Should the Bengals have drafted Joe Mixon?

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Football is never a stranger to controversy, and as the 2017 NFL draft finished up this weekend, another questionable decision was made. Former Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon was drafted in the second round by the Cincinnati Bengals.

It’s hard to forget Mixon’s past. By this time most people have seen the 2014 footage of Mixon punching a female student and breaking four bones in her face. He was suspended during the entire 2014 season, and never really made a comeback until the 2016 season.

Let’s ignore the debate about whether he should’ve been a first-round draft pick—he definitely has the talent. In his senior year, Mixon ran for 1,274 yards, had 538 receiving yards, and scored  15 touchdowns.

There’s a moral component to think about which the Bengals seem to have justified in their heads.

The thought process goes, “well he’s a bad guy, but we drafted him in the second round, so its okay!” And somehow this is supposed to make it better.

Everyone wants to think that character is important in sports. These are guys that we look up to as we see them go through college, get drafted, and have careers in the spotlight. Athletics host many household names, but, as we know, many of them fall short in the role model department.

There is a long history of teams compromising their moral fiber to pick up a good player, and the Mixon pick is just another part of the saga.

Has Mixon stated his regret? Yes. Were his actions deplorable? Undoubtedly. Should he have been drafted? It is hard to say.

We are finally learning that character doesn’t make even a tiny difference in professional sports. There are always amazing, larger-than-life guys in sports and we shouldn’t forget those guys. However, the Bengals just cared about what player could help them win on Sundays.

I watched the video of Mixon’s altercation again this morning, and it left a bad taste in my mouth.

We will see in the coming years if Mixon has truly changed and won’t get into trouble off the field. Nonetheless, I side with the idealistic notion that he shouldn’t have been drafted at all.

Idealism doesn’t have much of a place in the NFL if it could jeopardize a chance of winning more football games.

Rich Eisen blocks Las Vegas in Raiders fifth round of NFL draft

Photo via the Associated Press

The Oakland Raiders were planning to announce each of their draft picks on Day 3 from Las Vegas.

The fourth round announcement involved Nevada governor Brian Sandoval standing in front of the famous welcome to fabulous Las Vegas sign.

The NFL Network aired that announcement, but per the advisement of senior anchor Rich Eisen they took a different course in the following round.

During their live broadcast coverage of the 2017 NFL draft Eisen said he felt it was too “harsh” to Oakland fans to show their team announcing its picks from Las Vegas again.

The network did not throw to Vegas as Eisen suggested — and the show rolled on.


The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire! 

5 things to know about Raiders fourth-round pick T David Sharpe

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The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!

With the No. 129 overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft, the Oakland Raiders selected former Florida tackle David Sharpe. Here are five things to know about the fourth-round selection.

No. 1, Sharpe is legally blind in his right eye

Sharpe found out during the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine that he was legally blind in his right eye.

Obviously, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie doesn’t think it will be an issue on the field. Sharpe also has immediately refuted the reports on a conference call shortly after being drafted, stating that he just had a cataract removed from his right eye as a child.

No. 2, Sharpe was as a projected second or third round pick

According to the NFL Network draft profile, Sharpe was projected to be drafted in the second or third round. Luckily, Oakland was able to select him in the fourth round.

No. 3, Sharpe was a great high school athlete

Everyone knows Sharpe is a great football player, but he was also a great basketball player during his high school career in Jacksonville. He could have played basketball in college, but seemed to make the right decision to play football at Florida.

No. 4, Sharpe is a massive addition, literally

Sharpe is 6-foot-6, 343 pounds and will be a wall on the right side of the Raiders’ offensive line in the future.

No. 5, Sharpe is durable

Once he gained the starting left tackle position at Florida, he never looked back. He started in 26 out of the 27 games his sophomore and junior seasons.

Instead of playing his senior season in Florida, he decided to take his talents to Oakland.


The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!

5 things to know about Chargers fourth-round pick S Rayshawn Jenkins

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 The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!


With the No. 113 overall pick, the Los Angeles Chargers selected former Miami safety Rayshawn Jenkins. Here are five things to know about the new Charger safety.

 

Photo via USA Today Sports Images

 

1. Jenkins is one of 16 siblings

Jenkins has 15 other siblings and has had to grow up fighting for everything he wanted to earn. His upbringing has shown through to the football field, for he has an infectious competitive spirit.

2. A star athlete in high school

Jenkins played safety in college and is expected to do the same in the NFL. However, he was a quarterback in high school and a state track winner in the 110-meter hurdles.

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2017 NFL draft: Raiders land top-tier ILB, DL, DB, trade back in latest 3-round mock draft

The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!

With former Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch finally agreeing to terms with the Oakland Raiders, they can finally look towards the 2017 NFL draft and know that they have the running back position covered.

However, Oakland still has plenty of needs that need to be filled if they want to compete into late January even with Beast Mode behind Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.

As such, this latest mock draft involves Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie trading back in the first round to acquire more picks to fill needs with talented players at value positions.

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Photo via Jamie Squire / Getty Images

Round 1: Trade back

Teams who don’t have a quarterback and are selecting early in the second round could be a prime partner for McKenzie to strike a deal with for his No. 24 pick.

In this scenario, the Cleveland Browns do not take a quarterback at No. 12 and are still looking for one late on Day 1.

Luckily, the Browns have two second round picks and trade both of them in exchange for the Raiders’ pick at no. 24 to secure their QB position, while giving Oakland the Nos. 33 and 52 overall picks.

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Chargers swing big in latest 3-round mock draft

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The article can also be found on the Chargers Wire!


The 2017 NFL Draft is just three days away, and the decisions made April 27-29 in Philadelphia will impact the Los Angeles Chargers’ future for years to come.

While the Bolts can hardly afford to miss high drafts this year, they also can’t expect to play it safe and improve a five-win team by much.

As such, Chargers general manager Tom Telesco swings for the fences in our latest three-round mock draft.

 

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Photo via Grant Halverson/ Getty Images

 

Round 1: Trade Down

The Chargers should look to take advantage of quarterback-hungry teams.

Everyone knows the Cleveland Browns want to get former Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett and/or North Carolina QB Mitch Trubisky. However, the Buffalo Bills at no. 10 might stop Trubisky from falling to Cleveland at no. 12.

Therefore, Los Angeles should look to use Cleveland’s fear against them, swapping their first-round pick with the Browns in exchange for Cleveland’s no. 33 overall pick.

Now, Los Angeles gets one extra draft pick to fill their many needs and the Browns get their quarterback of the future.

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Chargers’ perfect three-round mock draft

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The article can also be found on the Chargers Wire!


The Los Angeles Chargers only won five games last season and have many holes to fill on the roster to become competitive again.

In order for the Bolts to make a playoff push in 2017, they are likely going to have to put together a dream draft April 27-29 at the 2017 NFL draft in Philadelphia.

As such, here is our “perfect” mock draft for L.A. through the first three rounds of this week’s draft.

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Photo via Stuart McNair

No. 7 overall: Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama

While one would be hard-pressed to find a mock draft that has him going to the Chargers in the first round, Alabama defensive linemen Jonathan Allen is the better selection over (the experts consensus pick) Ohio State safety Malik Hooker.

It isn’t that Hooker would not make a major impact on the defense, rather, it’s the fact that Los Angeles simply has more pressing needs on the interior of the defensive line.

That fact can be evidenced by their two projected interior starters in defensive tackle Corey Luiget and fellow  DT Damion Square posting abysmal Pro Football Focus grades in 2016 (49.3 and 61.4 respectively). At safety, however, the defense fares much better with Jahleel Addae (85.2 PFF grade) and Dwight Lowry (79 PFF Grade).

Allen is one of the best players in the draft and can do everything at his position.

He can set the edge if asked to play in a “30” front on the end, or he can manhandle offensive lineman as a DT on the interior. From either position, he can (and will) rush the passer and be a disruptive force every down for the Bolts.

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Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie says Joe Mixon is ‘a really good kid’

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The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!


Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie had some high praise for one of the 2017 NFL draft’s most controversial prospects in former Oklahoma Sooners running back Joe Mixon.

McKenzie told the media today, “We thought he was a really good kid,” according to Las Vegas Review Journal’s Michael Gehlken.

Oakland let former Raiders RB Latavius Murray go via free agency and his expected replacement, retired Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch, has not officially signed with the team.

If Lynch does not sign before the draft, McKenzie could assume Oakland has a true need at the running back position.

Mixon would be a perfect addition to the team, for he could start Day 1 as a three-down back and would likely run wild behind Oakland’s impressive offensive line that stands to be further bolstered this offseason.

The only hesitation would be Raiders owner Mark Davis’ stance against domestic violence. However, Davis has already given the team permission to draft the controversial athlete.

Moreover, most of Raider Nation has been supportive of drafting Mixon on social media this offseason. Fans will find out if  McKenzie takes the leap of faith required to draft the former Sooners RB at the 2017 NFL draft April 27-29 in Philadelphia.


The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!