With the draft hours away, the Oakland Raiders, and their fans prepare to see the drama unfold. With Reggie McKenzie and Jon Gruden, Oakland will never divulge plans or tip pick before the announcements. FPC writers Ray Aspuria, Chris Simmons, Pete Camarillo, and Anthony Zaragoza discussed Thursday’s possible events in Dallas.

If you had to guess, what direction do you envision the Raiders going at 10?

Zaragoza

I have a feeling Tremaine Edmunds will not be there when the Raiders select at #10. Therefore, Paul Guenther gets a great consolation prize with Roquan Smith. Smith owns the speed and ability to make plays from sideline to sideline for Guenther in 2018. Pairing Smith with former Detroit Lion Tahir Whitehead at linebacker will give the defense a nice duo at linebacker.

Simmons

This would be easier if there was an offensive player who might fall to 10. If Barkley is there, I do not see any way that Gruden passes on him. With that in mind, if Roquan Smith is available, I fully expect Reggie McKenzie to buck his no linebackers in the high rounds trend. His talent and fit are just too rare to take anyone else.

Aspuria

There are two players I see the Raiders taking at 10, Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and Notre Dame offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey. Edmunds — no guarantee he is going to still be on the board — is a classic height, weight, speed Raider. McGlinchey, on the other hand, is a run game mauler who could be molded into a stout protector for franchise QB Derek Carr.

Camarillo

Every prospect is in play for the Raiders in the first round. One of the top linebackers, Tremaine Edmunds and Roquan Smith, probably makes the most sense since that is the position the Raiders have not invested in heavily over the past couple of free agency and draft periods. However, that is a deep position in this draft class so I could see the Raiders passing on filling that need in the first round and selecting the best player regardless of need.

In which philosophical ways do Gruden and McKenzie differ?

 

Simmons

Thus far, it is hard to tell before the draft, but it seems like maybe Gruden has a specific kind of player in mind. In contrast, McKenzie may have been consistently drafting what he thought was the best player. Gruden drafts for scheme. This is an important distinction because it has become clear over time, and coaching turnover, that in the past some players simply did not fit. It is likely that there are already players on the roster who should be concerned in that regard.

Aspuria

While Reggie McKenzie reinforced “the board will do the talking” during the Raiders’ pre-draft press conference on Friday, I am thinking RM and Jon Gruden have different boards. Moreover, why not? Discussion and intense scrutiny will make for a better selection.

Zaragoza

Jon Gruden brings an old school approach with his drafts, getting the best available that fits his coaching style. Gruden knows what he wants in his team and will focus only on those players. While Reggie McKenzie likes the high upside/developmental players with his high picks. Case in point, McKenzie selected Mario Edwards, Menelik Watson, DJ Hayden, and Obi Melifonwu early in drafts. The jury is still out of Melifonwu. However, you can see potential was a key trait with his selection. Therefore, it will be very interesting to see how this first draft plays out with their contrasting styles.

Camarillo

Latest From FPC on SportsCastr


I would expect Gruden to exercise a short-term view of the draft since he arrived from the media hype machine that is ESPN. On the other hand, McKenzie is a scout by trade and he probably uses a long-term view on what a player can be. This is why he will reach on players at times. In the draft, Gruden and McKenzie may bump heads about trading back. Traditionally, McKenzie loves hoarding draft picks and he may want to do that if his draft board is barren in the first round. However, Gruden may want to take the best player who can affect his roster immediately.

 

Who is your under-the-radar draft pick in the later rounds?

Camarillo

Penn St. Safety Troy Apke… why? Because that is what Al Davis would want. The safety ran a 4.3 forty-yard dash and made a name for himself at the NFLPA Collegiate Game. He does not have the coverage skills now, but he has the measureables to warrant a late round selection. At the very least, he could show potential on special teams.

Zaragoza

Very few true middle linebackers exist in this draft. If the Raiders fail to draft Tremaine Edmunds or Roquan Smith in the first round, another option at MLB could be available in the fifth round for Oakland to draft. That player is Micah Kiser. All Kiser did at Virginia was tackle ball carriers. A third-team AP All-American last season, Kiser totaled 145 tackles for the Cavaliers. Kiser brings size, instincts and underestimated speed at the linebacker position. I love his potential, especially late in the draft.

Aspuria

Oklahoma fullback Dimitri Flowers. The Sooner is a quality blocker and an athlete. He can both carry the rock out of the backfield or sneak out and snare a pass. He has the makeup to be a movable chess piece for a flexible coach.

Simmons

Genard Avery has a chance to be an impact player if he can figure out how to slot into the nickel linebacker role. He possesses the talent and movement skills to play well in the middle of the field. He would not have to be a starter, but could make big plays if deployed properly.

 

What 2017 starter should most is worried about losing his starting spot to a rookie?

 

Zaragoza

Nicholas Morrow started to gain more and more reps towards the end of the season. Unfortunately, that ends this season. Tahir Whitehead will take one of the three LB spots to start the season in 2018. The other spot with go to either Roquan Smith or Tremaine Edmunds. This of course, is predicated on Reggie McKenzie making Edmunds or Smith the pick at #10.

Camarillo

Marshawn Lynch played about as well as you can expect a running back that is over thirty and coming off retirement. That does not mean his job is safe. The Raiders need a back who can catch, as well as one who has the second gear to hit home runs. They will hope that they have one on the roster to compliment Lynch. Either way, the smart move suggests inserting a rookie into the competition. This is a deep running back class. As a result, the Raiders may take Lynch’s replacement.

Simmons

Mario Edwards should probably feel the heat right about now. If of the major linebacker prospects fall to tenth, Raiders could opt neither for Hurst or Vea. If that happens, Edwards could struggle to find a role. Unless he earns goodwill right away with Gruden, MEJ could surface as the odd man out.

Aspuria

The Raiders do not necessarily have a starter at the position now, but I envision a rookie operating the middle linebacker spot. With NaVorro Bowman still on the free agent market and Tahir Whiteside best suited on the outside, a neophyte Mike is destined to be the man in the middle.

 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.