The third and final day of the 2014 NFL Draft was a busy one for the Oakland Raiders. As a result of their trade down in the third round, the team was able to acquire an additional 4th round pick from the Dolphins. With their original pick at 107, the Raiders selected Justin Ellis, a defensive tackle out of Louisiana Tech.
Ellis is a mammoth of a man, standing at 6’1” and 334 lbs. He is not much of a pass rusher, but is adept at anchoring against the run and occupying blockers. His biggest knocks are weight management and some injury history, but if he can stay healthy and at a playable weight, the Raiders found themselves a powerful run defender.
Ellis, like Mack, brings now more intrigue to the speculation the Raiders want to move to a 3-4 base defense. Ellis can either play a 0-technique nose tackle in a 3-4 or a 1-tech DT in a 4-3. However, Ellis and Mack just mean that defensive coordinator Jason Tarver can be more multiple in his defenses in 2014. He immediately could challenge Pat Sims for the nose tackle job.
With their second 4th round pick at 116, the Raiders picked Keith McGill, a cornerback from Utah.
McGill is a big, athletic corner (6’3, 211) with the ability to play corner or safety. He excels as a press man corner, and has been likened by many scouts to Brandon Browner of the Seahawks.
However, McGill has only played one full season at corner after missing a year and half with injury. Before that, he was a safety for Utah. If he can stay out of the trainers room, McGill can turn into a top notch NFL defensive back and form a lockdown tandem with DJ Hayden.
After that, the Raiders did not pick again after that until the 7th round, where they had three picks. Their first was at 219, where they picked up another corner, Travis Carrie, of Ohio.
Carrie has outstanding size and speed for the position, with top notch ball skills, with nine career interceptions. He is also an outstanding punt returner, leading the MAC in punt return average as a senior.
Carrie could eventually get defensive playing time as a subpackage corner, but the Raiders love his special teams ability. Both the cornerbacks now solidify the depth the Raiders have, and could make Carlos Rogers or Tarell Brown expendable.
With their next pick at 235, the Raiders drafted Shelby Harris, a defensive end from Illinois State. Weighing in at 288lbs, he is more of a power end, but had 7 sacks in 2012, his last season playing college football.
Harris is the penultimate late round flier, although he has a the size and nose for the football, his off the field transgressions could scare people. Harris has been kicked off of two college football programs in his career; Wisconsin in 2010 and Illinois State in 2013. He actually spent the 2013 season working at a restaurant while most other prospects were actually playing football. Shortly after he was selected, reports scrolled through his twitter, finding numerous questionable tweets, including some vine posts that would make most general managers shake their head.
However, the Raiders took a risk last year with Stacy McGee who went on to produce as a rookie, McKenzie is hoping for lightning to strike twice. However, with the depth the team is building, Harris will have a short leash and McKenzie won’t be afraid to cut him.
With their final pick at 247, the Raiders selected Safety Jonathan Dowling, a safety from Western Kentucky. Dowling was originally kicked off of Urban Meyers’ Florida team as a freshman, but developed into a rangy turnover machine at Western Kentucky, posting right forced fumbles and nine interceptions in two years. He is a perfect fit as an understudy of Charles Woodson, and could attempt for a starting job eventually.
Overall, the Raiders got some very good, starting caliber players in their draft class. Check back soon for more on the haul in undrafted free agency.