2019 Raiders Draft Prospect Profile
Name: Bobby Okereke
School: Stanford University
Weight: 235 pounds
Round Projection: 2-3
While many juniors looked ready for the NFL Draft, Okereke made the smart decision. Coming back for his senior year, Okereke needed to improve his tackling technique. In the three previous years, Okereke would solely rely on his athleticism to swarm and collide with the ballcarrier. Now, Okereke sets himself in much better position to make the play. With a solid pad level and the ability to drive through the tackler. At the next level, Okereke must build upon what he learned at Stanford. Luckily, he does not try to go for the blow-up hit.
Attacking the ball is Okereke’s best trait. From sideline to sideline, he shows above average burst in pursuit. Whether back or play-side,Okereke gets upfield with acceleration. He can destroy a screen or swing pass with the ability to meet the ballcarrier at the catchpoint. In addition, Okereke shows the knack for getting skinny through gaps, exploding through.
When combating a blocker, depending whom the opponent is, Okereke adjust his power approach. Smart enough not to attempt to bowl over a guard. Meanwhile, he will throw away a back or wideout, on his way to the play.
While the phrase twitchy can seem cliché, some of those qualities apply to Okereke. First, while blitzing, he will use footwork and a quick jab step to beat the lunge of a tackle. Next, when funneling down to make a stop, Okereke sifts through the trash. On perimeter plays, Okereke gets parallel with the tackle and sliding away from the punch.
With an underperforming group of ‘backers, the Raiders need talent. With prolific offenses in Los Angeles and Kansas City, Paul Guenther needs an upgrade. Tahir Whitehead struggles with coverage limitations and speed issues. With the other two spots, the Raiders still need the ability to get control the box and the tight ends. Despite Reggie McKenzie’s dismissal, the cupboard remains back at linebacker. As of this writing, Jason Cabinda sees extensive playing time. If you don’t think the Raiders need a player like Okereke, look at the Broncos’ back, Chiefs tight ends and the Los Angeles passing game. In Okereke, the Raiders could enjoy flexibility. In reality, Okereke’s feel for the game gives him a Day 1 starter advantage.