Oakland Raiders Mock Draft 2014

As you all now I am an Oakland Raiders fan. Thus I decided to publish my way too early mock draft ūüôā

Comp Picks (speculation)

Philip Wheeler-4th round pick

Desmond Bryant-4th round pick

Brandon Myers-6th round pick

Trades:

7th round pick from Arizona via Carson Palmer trade

Traded 5th round pick to Seahawks for Matt Flynn (SMH)

The Draft:

1st round

QB Derek Carr, 6’3/213, Fresno State

Carr has been a legitimate stud all year long. His TD/INT ratio is 39/4 and he has a cannon arm. He’s a good athlete who boasts a quick release and fluid movement in the pocket. He has some issues with his footwork and is at times to sensitive to pressure, but those are obviously fixable. Carr could easily be the¬†Raiders¬†franchise QB.

2nd round

RB Bishop Sankey, 5’10/203, Washington

Darren McFadden is as good as gone and while Rashad Jennins is worth retaining, here the Raiders would be getting their first every down work horse back in a while. Sankey can really do it all and the Raiders would have to jump on it if he was available at this juncture.

3rd Round

OG David Yankey, 6’5/311, Stanford

Yankey is a technician who has been a good run and pass blocker for Stanford. Lucas Nix, as pointed out in my most recent fan post, has been utterly terrible. Yankey could step in and man the spot at the LG position as early as his rookie year or at the very least provide competition. He also has experience at LT making him versatile. In most drafts, Yankey would be a top 50 pick making this choice a pipe dream, but the Raiders could take advantage of a very strong draft class.

If Yankey is gone another possibility could be Anthony Steen of Bama who specializes in run blocking.

4th Round

DE Cassius Marsh, 6’3/268, UCLA

Opposite of¬†Lamarr Houston, the Raiders haven’t been getting much at the DE position. In fact we’ve been starting DT Vance Walker there as a result. Marsh is having a poor senior season which will hurt his stock but he put together a great 2012 campaign with 40 tackles, eight sacks, 10.5 tackles for a loss, two passes batted and two forced fumbles. The talent is there making this a great value pick.

4th round (comp)

CB EJ Gaines, 5’11/195, Missouri

Gaines has been a big part of Mizzo’s defense registering 40 tackles, two passes broken up and four interceptions thus far. The senior has a nice mix of coverage ability and ball skills. Gaines had 74 tackles with 11 passes broken up and two interceptions last year. He also has the ability to return punts.

4th round (comp)

CB Jaylen Watkins, 6’0/187, Florida

I’m actually having us double dip at CB which is understandable in a division with the likes of¬†Peyton Manning¬†and Philip Rivers. Watkins serves as the nickle corner for Florida being overshadowed by Purifoy and Marcus Robertson but he’d undoubtedly be starting for most teams in the country. He did a nice job of filling in when Robertson was out.

6th round

C/OG Gabe Ikard, 6’3/298, Oklahoma

Ikard is smart, strong and versatile allowing him to play multiple positions along the OL. I don’t think¬†Andre Gurode¬†will be retained next season so here we become some nice OL depth.

6th round (comp)

FB Chad Abram, 6’0/229, Florida State

Abram showed great work ethic when he transitioned from FS to full back and he’s looked like a¬†Vonta Leach¬†2.0 thus far for FSU. He’s just as big as Leach and plays a similar role as well, as both a lead blocker and as a guy who can come out of the backfield and catch the ball. He has been key in helping that offense run successfully out of I-Form type packages. He’s shown he can blow up people too. With Abram lining up as the true FB,¬†Marcel Reece¬†can finally be utilized as the match up nightmare he ought to be.

7th round

Steve Hull, WR, Illinois (6’2/200)

Hull’s been really under the radar up until recently. He to is a converted safety this season, again showing the work ethic. He’s a fairly big bodied receiver with reliable hands who can be a match up nightmare against smaller defensive backs (check out his catch in traffic against Purdue, he had no right to get that ball). He’s also deceptively quick once he gets in his stride. His biggest skill is his route running. He’s been producing as over his last 3 games he has averaged 166 receiving yards. Against Indiana he had 224 yds and 2 TDs, against Ohio State he had 105 yds and 1 TD and against Purdue he had 169 yds and 2 TDs.

7th round via Arizona

Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois (5’11/192)

Ward is a legit play-maker, a tough hard nosed player who fights through injuries, and an emotional leader. His leadership and play making ability has been a big asset to Northern Illinois en route to a 12-0 record. If Woodson is retained he’d learn a lot from him. He has 74 tackles, 6 INTs, 1 sack, 5 pass deflections and a TD already this season. I wanted to draft a S earlier in case Woodson retires but Ward is the best they could do at this juncture and has a high motor and heart, exactly what Reggie and DA like.

Brett Hundley and Marcus Mariota, should they stay or declare in the 2014 NFL Draft?

Excellent QB ¬†play has been a recurring theme this season in College Football. While Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel got all the hype coming into the season, Brett Hundley and Marcus Mariota have been especially hot since. The two Pac 12 QBs have been impressing the scouts. Mariota has been leading Oregon to a powerful undefeated record, while Hundley has some scouts calling him the second best QB, behind Teddy Bridgewater. Both of these QBs face a glaring question, should they enter the 2014 NFL Drat or wait until 2015. ¬†Both QBs are redshirt sophomores. Let’s take a look at each QB individually and their situation:

Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA

Hundley amazed everyone in his first two games against Nevada (4 total TDs) and most notably Nebraska. It was after the Nebraska game where scouts fell in love with Hundley. He moved the ball well all night long and made plays both with his arm and feet. He threw a beautiful TD pass to Shaq Evans and looked flawless finishing with 294 yards passing, going 16 for 24 with 3 TDs and 1 INT. He also rushed for 61 yards. It was after this game scouts declared him NFL ready. However, he has been up and down since. His next game was against New Mexico State. He threw 2 INTs in the redzone and made many bad throws despite playing against a horrible team. Still, he managed to throw 3 TDs and 280 total yards while rushing for 33 and destroying his opponent. The next game was a lot more nerve wracking. Against, Utah Hundley threw an unbelievable errant pick six, which times the game at 24 a piece in the 4th quarter. Later, he led the team to field goal, giving them the lead. Then he has an incredibly clutch drive where he capped it off a 36 yard TD run to seal it. He finished with two total TDs and an INT on 211 yards passing and 85 running. Then, his next game was an open field practice against Cal where he thre for 410 yards, 3 pass TDs, and 0 INTs. His last game vs Stanford was a melt down however. Stanford smothered him and completely took away his poise. It wasn’t just that he was struggling to find hid rhythm or he was losing due to a banged up OL and team, his decision making was immature and his confidence looked gone. ¬†Looking at the New Mexico State, Utah, and Stanford games combined, one wonders if he is ready for the NFL. Hundley is incredibly talented and it’s no question why scouts are interested in¬†The 6-3, 227-pound quarterback, who is a smooth athlete with an easy throwing motion and a strong, accurate arm. The biggest knock on him and the basis of his struggles is simply inexperience. He has all the tools to be an elite franchise QB, but he may be better off staying another year and polishing his game before he goes into the NFL. Of course fans can always point at the Matt Barkley effect, but I think we can all agree this are two very different QBs, Hundley is much more talented.

My take: Stay

Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

Like Hundley, Mariota opened scouts eyes last season and has been completely dominant this season. He has been blowing out his opponents every game. Mariota recently stated that he’s going to wait until after the 2013 season to make his decision, and he wants to do what’s best for his family. Statistically, Mariota may be the best QB in the nation. So far this season he has 28 total TDs, 0 INTs, and¬†2544 total yards, while completing 63% of his passes. His QBR of 181.7 is good for fifth in the nation. However, it’s undeniable Oregon has an immense amount of talent outside of the QB position, specifically on offense, unlike UCLA. Sure, he hasn’t had De’Anthony Thomas for more than 3 games (he played damn well in those games though) or Colt Lyera this season, but Josh Huff has played great and Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner are really picking up the slack in the run game. Bralon Addison has been another weapon in the passing game and it seems Mariota always has someone open. Still, his talent is undeniable and it’s no fluke how he is shredding defense after defense. Oregon is currently ranked at #2, but if they manage to win the BCS game, Mariota has to declare. He’s currently mocked as a top 10 pick if he declares, however if he continues playing at this pace and wins the BCS game, he’d be a top 5 pick even with a QB stacked draft with guys like Boyd, Bridgewater, and Johnny Manziel. Mariota is most comparable to Colin Kaepernick, as is Hundley.

My Take: Declare

What is your opinion? Should they stay or declare? I find it very intriguing that both QBs are so similar and both come from the Pac 12. Next Saturday (10/26) is the date to save as Hundley and Mariota square up in a match up on ESPN. Leave discussion in the comments section!

Breaking down the Bills depth at Wide Reciever

460x.jpg

Here it is, my first NFL article. Due to it being in the middle of training camp, why not take a look at some of the most intriguing and over looked camp battles. When people think of the Buffalo Bills, they think sheer mediocrity and most notably a poor passing game. Sure the team has had Stevie Johnson, who despite being a head case has been a reliable receiver. But for years, Buffalo has had question at the WR positon and at QB. This season the team went all out, to briefly explain what they did about the QB position, they drafted QB EJ Manuel in the first round with the 16th pick and signed QB Kevin Kolb to a two year $6M deal worth a max of $13M through incentives. Kolb is actually coming off a decent year, Arizona had terrible QB play throughout the season, but Kolb had a passer rating of 86.1 with an 8 TD to 3 int ratio. He played in six games and was responsible for four of the team’s five wins (including a miracle win over New England). He led the team in passing yards but noting his competition that doesn’t tell us much. For Kolb’s career he’s been a mediocre QB who was vastly overrated while in Philly. Manuel on the other hand, was considered a reach at 16 but he is very athletic and strong with good touch on his throws and an NFL arm with a quick release. His biggest knock is consistency and poor ball security. So far in camp, Kolb has been taking more first team reps due to experience but he has been terrible via reports (nothing new here). Manuel on the other hand has been impressive, Peter King of Sports Illustrated said he looked “comfortable, confident, strong-armed and accurate.” Trust me, I’d be the last person to say Manuel should start out of the books, I think he’s raw but I really like his potential and I think if he was in a situation where he could learn and develop he could turn out to be a great QB, but if Kolb is that bad (which he is) the Bills have no choice. Luckily, Manuel is looking good and HC Doug Marrone said he wants ¬†the offense to be “fun and fast”. Manuel certainly fits that category. ¬†Now too look at the WRs. The incumbent starters are Stevie Johnson, coming off three straight 1000 yard seasons (keep in mind Ryan Fitzpatrick was hoisting him the ball), and TJ Graham, who was the teams third round pick last year and has been a standout thus far in the offeseason. Stevie’s job seems safe, but as good as Graham has been doing (he has also bulked up this offseason) he has some serious competition. The Bills drafted two wide receivers in the draft. Robert Woods in the second round (41st overall) and Marquise Goodwin in the third (78th overall). Both are nice prospects. Woods was a great WR in college who was overshadowed by Marquise Lee his senior year. In fact, some say Woods may very well be the best WR out of this years class when it’s all said and done. ¬†Yes, Robert¬†Woods¬†has injury issues, but he also is a good route runner with great hands, decent speed, and the ability to separate. Not to mention he has a high football IQ. There aren’t many things Woods does wrong. He has great burst, big play ability, and is a good down field blocker. His only weakness is strength, something that can easily be fixed. Marquise Goodwin on the other hand is a vertical threat on any play. He ran an official 4.27 40 at the combine and an unofficial of 4.17! Those numbers are crazy, if I had to compare Marquise Goodwin to any NFL player, it would be Mike Wallace. Although he’s not perfect and overrated players like him are good weapons to have. He’s an Olympic track athlete as well. Goodwin relies on pure speed to get open and he can create nightmare matchups in the slot. He’s not afraid to go over the middle and his quick agility makes him a threat to take it to the house on any play, which makes him a great return man. His only concerns are lack of size and route running. Already you see the competition. Woods and Graham are currently battling it out for the spot opposite of Stevie Johnson. Both are doing good, Woods has been labeled a “stud”by Kevin Kolb and others. I see Woods ultimately taking this one. Now, TJ Graham has to win the slot job against Marquise Goodwin. Graham’s game is similar to Goodwin’s, he is an all out speedster with raw skills. He’s put a lot of work into his game however this off season. All three of these guys have been getting first team reps. My favorite WR prospect on their team is UDFA Da’Rick Rogers. ¬†Rogers was one of my favorite heading into the draft and he went undrafted due to attitude problems and other off field. Still, he was a beast at Texas and was considered one of the top WR prospects. After failing three drug test, he was kicked off the team and went to Tennessee Tech, where he was a man among boys and completely dominated. Rogers is a physical specimen, he had arguably the best combine performances¬†finishing in the top five in several categories, including the 3 cone drill, the 20-yard shuttle, the 60-yard shuttle, the vertical jump, and the broad jump. Both Rogers and I agree he was the steal of the draft. Even with his maturity issues and question marks, he was still considered a 3rd-5th round prospect at worst. This is a low risk high reward move by Buffalo and it’s already paying off. Rogers has taken snaps with the first team and is generating buzz, as I expected. Couch Doug Marrone isn’t cutting Rogers any slack. He knows he needs to be up in his grill constantly, or Rogers can fall apart. The last thing they want is Titus Young 2. Rogers has been a standout all off season, similar to Graham and Woods. Marrone recently stated Rogers has “stepped it up”, he needs to stay motivated too stay out of trouble and improve upon his game. The only notable WR on the Bills not making noise is Brad Smith, and that’s for obvious reasons. Stevie Johnson, Robert Woods, TJ Graham, Marquise Goodwin, and Da’Rick Rogers is definitely a solid core. There is a lot of talent within these guys and their athleticism can create mismatches down the stretch. EJ Manuel will most likely take the starting job, and he has some nice young pieces to work with