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!

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!

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.

(next page below)

Why Raiders must avoid flashy NFL draft picks in 2017

Photo via Gary A. Vasquez, USA TODAY Sports

The article can be found on the Raiders Wire!


As much as Raider Nation would love to see the Oakland Raiders draft a flashy player with huge star potential such as former Stanford Cardinal running back Christian McCaffrey, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie must fight the urge to do so.

Consider, Oakland had the No. 26 ranked defense in 2016 and have lost defensive tackle Stacy McGee to the Washington Redskins, just released fellow DT Dan Williams (who was the team’s best interior lineman left on the roster) and let linebacker Malcolm Smith (who led the team in tackles last season) walk to the San Francisco 49ers.

Interestingly, the team has also shown little-to-no interest in re-signing LB Perry Riley Jr. despite him grading out as one of the best linebackers in football (T-15), per Pro Football Focus.

If Oakland were to decide to go with flashy picks such as McCaffrey, Miami tight end David Njoku, Florida State running back Dalvin Cook, etc. — it’s likely the team won’t be any better than they were last year come this fall.

The Raiders have too specific of needs to chance taking the best available player in any given round. McKenzie should (almost exclusively) be looking to secure a defensive tackle, middle linebacker and cornerback it Days 1-2 of the 2017 NFL draft unless an extremely talented can’t miss prospect falls into his lap.

Players such as former Michigan State DT Malik McDowell, former Houston DE Tyus Bowser, former Florida LB Jarrad Davis and Texas A&M CB/S Justin Evans would be excellent choices.

While these names aren’t flashy, they’re certainly the most formidable players at the most important positions of need for the Raiders, and each should end up in draftable positions for McKenzie.

Finally, those same anxious fans that want to see nothing but fireworks from the Raiders offense (even at the expense of the defense) should recall that All-Pro quarterback Derek Carr elevates the play of everyone around him (see wide receiver Seth Roberts’ 2016 campaign while noting his propensity to drop the ball).

Moreover, Carr already has excellent talent at skill positions around him making any flashy offensive draft pick early on beyond unreasonable. Understanding these facts, Raiders fans should expect McKenzie to stay grounded and make the proper selections come draft day.

After all, the man isn’t the reigning executive of the year winner for nothing.