As the Scouting Combine and 2018 Free Agency set to start, the Oakland Raiders still need to plug holes and build a roster. With that said, FPC Raiders writers Anthony Zaragoza, Ray Aspuria, and Terrance Biggs discuss what free agent and which combine participant that most intrigues them.
Which player do you want to see most participate in the Combine?
Since the end of the NFL season, Roquan Smith and the Raiders seem linked by speculation, with good reason. Smith was the 2017 SEC Defensive Player of the Year. Furthermore, he led the fourth stingiest scoring defense last year at Georgia. The 2017 AP All American flew all over the field in the National Championship game against Alabama. Therefore, no better person to watch at the combine than Smith. Especially, to see how he measures up against Tremaine Edmunds, another great option for Reggie McKenzie and Jon Gruden in the top 10.
The Oklahoma fullback is a freak athlete. Without a doubt, he could produce an absurd 40. As a result, that would catch the attention of all 32 teams in the league. He is a punishing blocker and deceiving receiving option. Flowers could excel at FB, H-Back and tight end at the next level. In Raiders terms, he is Marcel Reece all over again.
While he may not garner the attention of Smith or Edmunds, Evans fit the Raiders in a myriad of ways. First, he is a sure tackler that makes sideline-to-sideline plays. Second, he stays with backs and receivers in coverage. We all know that coverage continues to haunt the Raiders. More importantly, Evans brings a pass rush element from the middle linebacker spot. In Paul Guenther’s defense, that A-gap blitz or threat of it remains important.
What free agent would you like the Raiders to pursue?
The veteran came over from across the Bay and stabilized an unsure middle linebacker position. Also showed he is capable of being an every-down linebacker. Moreover, his return gives Jon Gruden and Paul Guenther an accomplished leader to captain the defense in the middle. As a result, Bowman could serve as a sound bridge to young middle linebackers.
Dontari Poe does not get the same praise or notoriety as the other big free agent defensive linemen. However, the two-time Pro Bowler produced a solid season for Atlanta last year. His year with the Falcons proved that the 27-year-old still has plenty left in the tank. The best part of Poe, compared to the other free agents, is that the former Chief will not require a monster contract. Therefore, adding a solid player like Poe is not only beneficial for the play of the defensive line, but also the future structure of the salary cap.
Granted, Fuller is not the attention-grabbing signing, yet he checks the boxes for what the Raiders need. Oakland needs a versatile corner that can play outside or the slot. During his time in Chicago, Fuller displayed versatility. His eight picks and forty-one deflected passes scream instant starter. If you look at the Raiders roster, the cupboard looks bare.
In reality, the Raiders will use the next ninety days to shape their first roster in the Jon Gruden. Due to the mammoth contract, pressure already exists. The Raiders need to fill these needs immediately.