2020 Raiders Draft Prospect Profile
Name: Justin Strnad
School: Wake Forest
Weight: 235 pounds
If you watch Strnad, the only noticeable flaw in this trait is the high backpedal. Strnad just needs to drop his pads. However, that is an easily fixable issue that can be fixed with sound coaching. Meanwhile, his loose hips, flexibility gives him an edge in trailing targets. Strnad lines up five to seven yards of the line and presents the ability to open the gate in either direction, collapsing on the play without hesitation.
At the next level, Strnad will need to hone this explosion to become a better blitzer. He easily arrives at the ball, forcing the ballcarrier to alter their path. In pursuit, he closes well enugh to profile as a three-down linebacker. More importantly, he plays fast, every down. In the run game, he will fly through the gap, beating blockers, blowing up play with a burst.
A capable tackler, Strnad’s talent base in this area gives him a good starting point. With an active set of hands and shoulder drop, Strand strikes the target within the appropriate zone. When the play flows away from him, Strand uses a gator roll to secure the stop. With his speed, Strnad needs to turn up the speed to power aspect in the open field.
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To the chagrin of most, Tahir Whitehead could return. Under those circumstances, the linebacking group remains at a deficit. No one flashes athletic ability, enough to cover anyone, blitz or provide any disruption. The Raiders remain far behind in coverage. The defense allowed fourteen touchdowns to backs and tight ends.
Building a competent linebacking group starts with depth. Injuries and the battle of attrition will decimate teams. However, finding quality, potentially starting depth. Strnad would fight for and conceivably win a starting job. Teams pick on the Raiders and their lack of tight end coverage. Moreover, the inability to stop screens and swing passes continues to be an annual problem. Imagine Austin Ekeler turning a dump pass into a long gain. During his six games versus the Raiders, Ekeler averages 15.4 per catch. Strnad possesses the ability to cut that in half. He takes sharp, but smart angles that will prohibit running backs from getting loose and accumulating chunk yardage.
On October 19, in a game versus Florida State, Strnad suffered torn biceps. As a result, he sat for the rest of the 2019 season. While he looks a go for the Combine, it remains to be seen, what his status looks like. Right now, Strnad looks like a Day Two, early Day Three selection.