For the 2014 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders are a bit top heavy. They have one pick in each of the first four rounds, but after that, do not pick until the 7th round. With such a deep draft class, the first three rounds will be easy to pick.
Once they hit the 4th round, the Raiders could find some absolute steals. Here are some names the Raiders should keep an eye on with their 4th and 7th round picks.
Stephen Morris, QB, Miami
Stephen Morris began this past season with high status. He was a rising prospect with a big arm, with the possibility of taking over a weakened ACC, at least before Jameis Winston took the NCAA by storm.
Morris is a highly athletic prospect, able to move around in the pocket, avoiding clutter, and able to pick up chunks of yards when he escapes. His arm is one of the best in the class, and has no problem slinging it downfield, something the late Al Davis would love. He also is smart before the snap, recognizing defenses and able to find matchups to exploit.
However, he is an extremely streaky passer, and forced too many throws with bad decisions. He’s very inconsistent as a passer, and occasionally unfocused. With proper coaching, he could become a great NFL quarterback. Sitting behind Schaub and McGloin would do well to prepare him to start down the road for Oakland.
James White, RB, Wisconsin
Despite never being a full-time starter in Madison, James White left Wisconsin fourth in rushing yards in school history, third in rushing scores, first in yards per carry, and first in receiving yards by a running back.
He is not the biggest of backs, and won’t break many tackles near the line of scrimmage, but he is a smart, fast runner. He knows which hole to hit and when, and then he cut back easily and go from 0-60 in the blink of an eye.
Also a good receiving back who works back to his quarterback, but a liability in pass protection. Not meant as an every down starter, but the Raiders could use him to complement one of their power runners.
Cameron Fleming, OT, Stanford
Fleming is a big, local product. He is a strong run blocker who excels in driving people off the ball. He plays until the whistle, and even then some.
However, Fleming is still working on his pass protection skills. He overextends to rushers, and cannot mirror rushers effectively. Waist bending is usually an ugly tribute in tackles, but can eventually be coached over time. He’s a bit slow off the snap, and tries to win with pure force rather than combine with technique. Fleming may be a big body, but he’s a bit passive. In addition, all 39 college starts have come at right tackle, so his versatility isn’t there.
However, he is a good late prospect for Oakland, who lack depth at tackle. Fleming would allow the team to focus on training Menelik Watson at left tackle, with Matt McCants and Fleming battling for the future at right tackle.
Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas
One of the most underrated pass rushers in a class full of them. He is a strong pass rusher with violent hand movement to stay off blocks and make a living in the backfield. He is also athletic enough to get around in space and sidestep blockers, as well as give chase in space. He is a lunchpail player who never gives up on a play.
However, he is not a very fluid rusher and more often than not attacks tackles in a straight line. He also has tendencys to play high, and with a broad chest, can be blocked out of the play easily. His lack of functional strength works against him when teams run at him, which many learned to do late in his career.
Jeffcoat is not an elite player, but with a high motor and strong hands, he can do well in the NFL. He fits well in Oakland who lack depth behind Justin Tuck and Lamarr Woodley.
Loucheiz Purifoy, CB, Florida
Purifoy is an athletic, speedy corner, with long arms. With fluid hips, he is able to keep up with quick receivers and keep up with the speedy ones. He loves to tackle and won’t back down from larger ball carriers. Was a turnover machine and knows how to make plays on the ball.
However, his size is a bit small, and he lacks NFL strength. Unless he bulks up, he will likely be bullied by strong WRs in the pros. His character is a concern as he prefers to freelance his play rather than use technique. Also was suspended this past season for marijuana posession.
He is an extreme risk for the Raiders, but if he drops to the later rounds, he could develop into a solid playmaking corner for Oakland with the right coaching.