Oakland's defense improved as the season progressed, but there was always a big void in the middle of the defensive line. I imagine the Raiders will want to spend a high selection on a prospect who can generate some pressure in the interior, and Caleb Brantley is one of the top prospects available.
Rd. 2, Pk. 24
Curtis Samuel, RB/WR, Ohio State
The Raiders had one of the worst No. 3 receivers in Seth Roberts last year, so they could use an upgrade to play along with Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper.
Rd. 3, Pk. 24
Dalvin Tomlinson, DT/NT, Alabama
As mentioned earlier, the Raiders happen to be very weak in the defensive interior, so they could stand to double up on defensive tackles.
Rd. 4, Pk. 22
James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh
The Raiders want to bring Marshawn Lynch out of retirement. If they're not successful, they'll have to use an early pick on a running back in the wake of losing Latavius Murray.
Rd. 5, Pk. 24
Avery Gennesy, OT, Texas A&M
Things fell apart for the Raiders when Derek Carr got hurt, but Connor Cook never had a chance because Donald Penn was injured. A better backup behind Penn is needed.
Draft Needs: CB * ILB * DT * RB * OT * SSLB * OG * FS * TE
The Raiders have been one of the best drafting teams the last 3 season's and this year it paid off for them with a Division Championship, had Derek Carr not been injured who know's how deep a run the silver and black could have made.
The Raiders will enter this draft with a few very specific needs DT, CB and ILB after that they will look for depth.
Cunningham is a player that jumps out at you watching Vanderbilt game film, he is consistently the first one to the ball and never seems to miss a tackle. His speed and play recognition are elite, probably more suited to a 3/4 based defense as an inside linebacker Cunningham is just to gifted not to be a star weather the Raiders put him in the middle or at the strong side where I think his coverage ability will be a true asset.
The Raiders can use some solid depth and talent at the Defensive Tackle position. Dan Williams is very productive but he is getting older, not only that there is not many talented back-ups on the D-Lin. Caleb Brantley can fill in that spot and be a potential starter later on in his career.
Has a compact, powerful frame with a naturally low center of gravity and thick limbs. Springs off the snap with the initial quickness to penetrate gaps and wreak havoc in the backfield. Brantley does a nice job of using an over-arm swim and chopping his hands to knock away the blockers' attempts to latch on, coordinating his hands and feet to slip free. Brantley's quick, powerful hands also show up with his ability to punch the ball out as ball-carriers attempt to slide past him. He shows impressive upper body strength to stack and shed blocks, as well as the lateral agility and balance to sprawl and keep blockers from reaching his legs, rarely getting knocked to the ground. Highly regarded by the Florida coaching staff for his toughness and selfless play.
The Raiders could use a feature back as their rushing offense lacks consistency. A runner like McCaffrey could be dangerous with defenses focused on stopping Derek Carr and Amari Cooper. On top of that, McCaffrey would give Carr another receiving option. <br> <br>
In 2016, McCaffrey has averaged 6.3 yards per carry for 1,399 yards and 12 touchdowns. He has 35 receptions for 287 yards and one touchdown as well. McCaffrey also had a 95-yard punt return for a touchdown called back by a questionable penalty. <br> <br>
In my opinion, McCaffrey should have won last season's Heisman Trophy because he carried Stanford in 2015. McCaffrey was a home-run hitter and a threat to rip off a huge gain every time he touched the ball. McCaffrey has a tremendous burst to break into the open field with vision, cutting ability and elusiveness. In 2015, he averaged six yards per carry for 2,019 yards with eight touchdowns. As a receiver, he had 45 catches for 645 yards and five scores. McCaffrey (6-1, 200) looks undersized, but he still should be an early rounder. <br> <br>
<u> <i> Pick change; previously Alvin Kamara, RB </i> </u>
The Raiders could use some upgrades at cornerback. Oakland had coverage issues all season. <br> <br>
Tabor totaled 33 tackles with four interceptions and six passes broken up in 2016. Because of getting in a fight with a teammate, Tabor was suspended for the 2016 opener, but he covered really well after that and was a ballhawk. Tabor turned in a mixed game against Tennessee as he had an impressive interception, but also fell down in coverage to allow a 67-yard touchdown. <br> <br>
As a sophomore, Tabor recorded 40 tackles, 14 passes broken up and four interceptions, two of them being pick-sixes. Tabor did hurt his draft stock with a suspension during his sophomore season as well. Tabor (6-0, 191) had an excellent freshman season in 2014 totaling 31 tackles with an interception and eight passes broken up that year.
Some team sources say that Tabor has been overrated by the media, but he still could end up being a first-round pick. His best role might be as a big nickel corner in the NFL. Tabor is lacking long speed and gives up plays downfield. He is great underneath with very good feel and awareness, though he is a gambler and guesses a ton. Tabor is good when plays are in front of him, but gets in trouble with plays behind or over him. Multiple team sources like other first-round corner prospects more than Tabor. <br> <br>
2016 First Round Pick: Karl Joseph, West Virginia (14)
2016 Offense Rankings: Total (6) Pass (13) Rush (6)
2016 Defense Rankings: Total (26) Pass (24) Rush (23)
2017 Projected Salary Cap Space: $42,365,487
(1) Howard ($5 M)
(2) Williams ($4.5 M)
(3) Janikowski ($4.05 M)
(4) Smith ($3 M)
GM: Reggie McKenzie
Head Coach: Jack Del Rio
Offensive Coordinator: Bill Musgrave
Defensive Coordinator: Ken Norton Jr
Offensive Scheme: West Coast
Defensive Scheme: 4-3
Needs: (1)43ILB, (2) 43DT, (3) CB, (4) RB, (5) RT
LEO: (1) Mack (2) Ward
NT: (1) Williams (2) Ellis
DT: (1) McDowell (2) McGee
DE: (1) Edwards (2) Autry
NFL.com Grade: 6.56 ESPN Grade: 87
NFL Comparison: Ezekiel Ansah
Measurables: H: 6'6 W: 280 40: 5.35
As a top-50 high school recruit out of Detroit, McDowell could have gone anywhere. He went against his family's wishes and enrolled in East Lansing, which made head coach Mark Dantonio and his staff quite happy. After playing mostly in a reserve role as a freshman (15 tackles, 1.5 sacks), McDowell lined up two second-team All-Big Ten seasons for the Spartans. Using an explosive first step, he racked up 13 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks as a sophomore as the team made the college football playoffs. Both Sparty and McDowell saw things turn south a bit in 2016, including his numbers (seven TFL, 1.5 sacks) and the team's wins (just three). The junior suffered an ankle injury mid-season, which in part caused his lack of production.
Has similar physical traits and abilities of Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner, but may not share their football character. McDowell lacked production along the interior and could benefit from a move to a defensive end spot in a 4-3 or 3-4 front. McDowell is raw, but when he flashes, it can be blinding. McDowell is an explosive, ascending prospect with All-Pro potential if he grows into his body and takes the necessary coaching.
While McDowell didn’t have the monster breakout season we hoped to see, he was strong in the run game and disruptive as a pass-rusher, tying for 20th overall among interior defensive linemen at 85.8. McDowell even took his 6-foot-6, 286-pound frame to the edge at times, showing that he can push the pocket from the outside when needed. He can be a playmaker in the middle of the defense, or perhaps a movable threat as a rusher, and his continued progression as a player bodes well for the future.
McDowell’s burst off the line and length have allowed him to grade well as a pass-rusher (85.1) and in the run game (83.7).