Now that the rush of the NFL Draft has subsided, the Oakland Raiders can start looking to finalizing the roster. They used the draft to load up on depth and get quality starters. However, there were some mistakes. Let’s go back and grade each pick.
5th overall pick: Khalil Mack/Edge Rusher/Buffalo:. Heralded as the second best defensive player behind Clowney, Mack is the crown jewel. He can move all around the formation and be a dominant pass rusher. He is exactly what the Raiders need to bring their defense up a few levels. Grade: A
36th pick: Derek Carr/QB/Fresno State: It was pretty lucky the Raiders could get Carr. If the Texans went QB with their second round pick, he was gone. He is a strong-armed QB, with great intangibles. While he probably won’t start as a rookie, he could eventually become the QB of the future. Grade: A
81st pick: Gabe Jackson/OG/Mississippi State: A giant man who stops defensive lineman in their tracks. Although he has menacing size, he does not display a nasty streak you might think he has. Jackson could easily slide in at left guard. Grade: A-
107th pick: Justin Ellis/DT/Louisiana Tech: Another massive body, Ellis is actually quick for his size, but likely wont contribute in the passing game. His massive frame will best be served to take up space and block rushing lanes. A prototypical run stopping nose tackle, Ellis is a great foundational pick. Grade: A
116th pick: Keith McGill/CB/Utah: With not many options behind DJ Hayden, Tarell Brown, and Carlos Rogers, McGill makes a lot of sense. He is a giant corner who excels in press-man and can shadow receivers up and down the field. He does have many injury concerns and only played one full season at corner. He could be a dominant corner, but the injury bug has not been kind to Oakland. Grade: B
219th pick: Travis Carrie/CB/Ohio: He has decent size for the position, with great speed. He has a knack for being the ball with nine career interceptions. However with so much depth in front of him, he will be stuck as the 5th corner likely. Luckily he does have great experience as a returner, which could get him on the active roster. Grade: B
235th pick: Shelby Harris/DE/Illinois State: Quite possibly the worst pick in an outstanding draft. Harris has been out of football for the past year after being kicked out of Illinois State, and was kicked out of Wisconsin after his freshman year as well. He currently weighs somewhere in the 280s range, which is a bit heavy for a defensive end. He has been noted as a player who is around the football, but that was when his playing weight was around 250. Between the work eithic, and the suspensions, Harris won’t make the roster. Grade: F
257th pick: Jonathan Dowling/S/Western Kentucky: Although he has some early off the field issues, Dowling is an intriguing prospect who was a turnover machine. Might never compete for defensive snaps, but likely a good ticket for special teams ace. Grade: C
The first four picks of this draft class make it spectacular. Luckily, most 4th round and later draft picks are not expected to contribute much outside of special teams and role positions. Although the team did not address offensive tackle, in case Menelik Watson does not work out, they otherwise addressed every other need they had going into the draft.
The overall grade for this draft is a B+