Over the years, the Oakland Raiders prided themselves on taking later round chances. While some paid off others fell into the abyss. Below, some later round finds that could immediately help the Silver and Black.
Leon Jacobs, EDGE, Wisconsin
Jacobs ran a 4.48 40. In addition, he netted 26 bench press reps at the combine. Jacobs boasts experience playing all three linebacker spots as well as the edge. He is definitely a project. Listed at 6’3 230lbs, he can be molded into a position. General Manager Reggie McKenzie’s philosophy of passing on good linebackers to develop other ones in the later rounds has yet to work. Yet, this linebacker class might justify one more attempt. Jacobs looks like he could be molded into what the late Thomas Howard was. Howard played linebacker at UTEP with 4.4 speed. He was a second round pick in 2006 & led the Raiders with six interceptions in 2007. Jacobs weighs 10-15lbs lighter than Howard was when he played but can develop into a something special.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, South Florida
After running a 4.37 40 at the combine, Scantling separated himself from the notion of being a big, slow receiver. He set the South Florida single-season receiving record with 879 yards. Quentin Flowers was arguably the greatest quarterback in school history but by no standards is he an NFL caliber quarterback. Scantling has a tremendous amount of potential at 6’5. Plus, his speed and ball skills are coachable.
He has a similar prospect to former Green Bay Packers and current Cleveland Browns receiver Jeff Janis. Janis had a much better vertical leap but both were raw receivers. Scantling would have the benefit of current Raiders receivers coach Edgar Bennett and learn from the likes of Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson, and tight end Jared Cook. Burning a sixth or seventh round pick on Scantling could be the red zone & deep threat that could elevate the depth & play of the fourth & fifth receiver positions.
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Antonio Callaway, WR, Florida
Callaway ran a 4.41 at the combine & has Percy Harvin type athleticism and versatility. However, screaming red flags abound all over him. He left school a year early rather than seek reinstatement or transfer to the FCS level due to being suspended his entire junior year for involvement in a credit card scheme with some of his teammates.
Callaway possesses gamebreaking talent like Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill. Hill behaves like an upstanding citizen since being drafted. Callaway could follow the same path. It would be shocking to see him drafted with his off the field issues. However, his immense talent could land him in the sixth or seventh round. He would be a dynamic special teams player from day one. It really depends on if the Raiders brain trust think he is worth the gamble.
Desmond Harrison, OT, West Georgia
Harrison 4.90 40 was the 11th fastest time since 2006 amongst lineman. He was a junior college All-American. Harrison enjoyed short stints at Texas and West Georgia. Under the coaching & discipline of Tom Cable and the zone blocking principles he incorporates, Harrison could ossibly be the left or right tackle of the future.
If his character issues are behind him or if he just needs one last chance, Reggie McKenzie has already proven with his support of Aldon Smith that the Raiders are in the redemption business. He could definitely be worth the pick in the fifth or sixth round. David Sharpe & Jylan Ware and Vadal Alexander seem to be in the team’s future, but none has the potential or athletic ability of Harrison. The Raiders might actually find the left tackle of the future in this current coaching regime.
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