Raiders Prospects in 2018 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl
The 2018 Raiders draft will again rely on a few valuable free agents in the later rounds of the NFL Draft and signing some undrafted free agents like they have over the past few years. They’ll need to find some developmental prospects who fit Jon Gruden’s coaching and playing style.
Insert the 2018 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl as the perfect avenue for the Raiders to find some contributors and depth on their roster. The game kicks off at 1 P.M. PST. Here are a few prospects to watch.
National Team No. 45 – Marcus Baugh, TE, Ohio State
The Oakland Raiders are expected to move on from Lee Smith at tight end. Smith is a free agent this offseason and Gruden’s staff may look for an upgrade. The primary blocking tight end has dealt with several injuries during his tenure in Oakland.
This tight end class is not deep as it is. Therefore, Baugh can work his way up NFL Draft boards with impressive showings throughout the process. That begins with showing his big school pedigree in the NFLPA game.
Baugh is a more than capable blocker. He also caught five touchdown passes in 2017. At six-feet-four, Baugh brings the size the Raiders would want at the tight end position. His blocking pedigree also makes him a desirable prospect for Oakland.
American Team No. 71 – Korey Cunningham, T, Cincinnati
Cincinnati's Korey Cunningham leads the nation's tackles in terms of most pass blocking snaps without allowing a sack this season. pic.twitter.com/6vHlV5FD6a
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) December 19, 2017
Donald Penn went down with injury at the end of last season and Marshall Newhouse gives the tackle group some room for an upgrade. Expect the Raiders to explore offensive tackles in this game and the entire draft process.
Cunningham is one of the best tackles in the NFLPA game. He started 24 consecutive games at Cincinnati which shows the mental toughness and dedication the Raiders want on the offensive line. He is listed at six-foot-five and 310 pounds which give him solid size for an NFL tackle. His background as a tight end before playing at Cincinnati proves he has the athleticism to fit the Raiders if they move to more zone blocking.
A good showing at the NFLPA game may prove that Cunningham is worth developing. He needs polish so he should be available in the later rounds but he was once considered a prospect to watch for Day One and Two of the draft.
American Team No. 27 – Amari Coleman, CB, Central Michigan
By the end of his career at @CMU_Football, many college QBs avoided throwing in the direction of shutdown DB Amari Coleman. But that didn't stop him from making an impact. #NFLPABowl [https://t.co/HsBNo8jkRk] pic.twitter.com/cobhyb9utm
— The Collegiate Bowl (@NFLPABowl) January 19, 2018
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The Central Michigan corner finished his career with 8 career interceptions and three for touchdowns. In his senior year, he had 42 tackles, 7 passes broken up, 10 passes defended and three interceptions. The Raiders could definitely use his ball skills in the backfield.
Coleman isn’t high on a lot of draft boards yet because this is a deep corner class. He’s listed at five-foot-eleven and 180 pounds. That means he will need to bulk up to fit the modern corner prototype. However, he could make a name for himself on special teams or in slot and dime duties.
A good showing at the NFLPA game may help Coleman work his way up the deep corner rankings. Either way, he is a deep sleeper for a team that needs help at corner.
American Team No. 59 – Sione Teuhema, LB, Southeastern Louisiana
— The Collegiate Bowl (@NFLPABowl) January 8, 2018
Teuhema was once a coveted player at LSU before landing at Southeastern Louisiana. Teuhema is a tweener at six-foot-four and 245.
The Oakland Raiders have proven that they will take chances on players with high upside in the middle rounds. Teuhema could fit as a developmental outside linebacker as General Manager Reggie McKenzie and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther have shown a preference for linebackers in the middle rounds.
He’s probably a standup linebacker for the Raiders but he also has pass rush ability. Teuhema finished the year with nine sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception. He’s seen as a middle to late round prospect but a dominant showing at the Collegiate Game could easily have him climbing up draft boards.
American Team No. 60 – Bruce Hector, DT, South Florida
The Raiders need some help at defensive tackle. They’ve found contributors in the late rounds like Treyvon Hester, Darius Latham and others. Expect them to take a look at Hector as he is another defensive tackle who could contribute despite the possibility of going undrafted or getting picked in the late rounds.
Hector finished his career with 18 sacks at USF and he registered 7 in 2017. Hector is listed at six-foot-two and 275 pounds. He doesn’t have ideal bulk for the interior line yet but he doesn’t have ideal length for the edge either. However, Hector could prove he is worth some development with a big showing in the NFLPA Bowl.
It will be important for him to stop the run and showcase a willingness to take on bigger blockers. The Raiders need a three-technique and someone who can rush the QB. Hector may provide that as a steal in this draft.
The 2018 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl begins at 1 P.M. at the Rose Bowl. Pete D. Camarillo will be there so follow him on Twitter and catch him going live after.