2018 Raiders Draft Prospect Profile
Name: Oren Burks
Weight: 233 pounds
With Burks, a fine line exists between intent and technique. While he brings malice to the play, the execution needs refinement. As the ballcarrier approaches, Burks appears to focus on the waist. With solid hands, he secures and drives through the target. However, Burks needs to use his frame better to generate pop.
In the grand scale, Burks operates as a hybrid. While he could play as a box safety, Burks uses functional strength as a linebacker. During his career in Nashville, Burks’ explosion saw him encounter interior linemen on the outside. When they meet, Burks will play behind his pads to disengage with occasional power.
If you ignore Burks’ outstanding combine time (4.59), his film will tell the same story. From the snap, Burks streaks toward the ball. More importantly, he stays within his responsibility. Although he can run with tight end and backs, Burks uses an economy of motion to keep coverage. That is to say, he will not overrun plays.
Currently, Tahir Whitehead is the only confirmed starter at linebacker for the Oakland Raiders. As a result, players like Morrow and James will fight for snap. In addition, chances are the Raiders will more than likely spend at least one draft pick on a linebacker. If the Raiders do not spend a higher, pick on a ‘backer, Burks fits in a few ways.
- Blessed with the ability to cover, Burks could see the field in passing situations. In subpackages, Burks can occupy the flat, trail tight ends, or back either in a short zone or down the seam.
- Special Teams coach Rich Bisaccia prefers speed and rangy players to lane clogging brutes. Burks can immediately star on special teams. In essence, his agility and foot speed translates into coverage. Although kickoffs slowly fade from the NFL, punt returns remain vital to field position.
In essence, Burks offers the Raiders a talent that can serve many roles on the team. In the vastly improving AFC and with Gruden at the helm, versatility helps.