Sammy Watkins Clemson
Watkins has broken away as the consensus #1 receiver in the draft. After torching Ohio St. In the Orange Bowl he has propelled himself as a top 10 prospect in the whole draft. If the Raiders are not in love with QBS or Pass Rushers at #5 then they will probably trade down. But if Watkins is available at 5, the Raiders may warrant a Watkins selection as the best player available in the draft. Receiver may not be their biggest need but Watkins versatility to play outside or in the slot can benefit the other Raiders’ receivers and any QBS under center for Oakland. Not to mention Oakland’s Offense desperately needs some home run threats.
What Watkins does in the scouting combine will determine if Watkins is better than the rest of the WR field in this draft. Oakland could fall in love with him at the top of the draft or they may elect to wait on Watkins and address the WR position via later rounds or free agency. This is a very deep receiving class and a poor performance in Indianapolis May justify the Raiders waiting til the 2nd.
Derek Carr QB Fresno
After a great week in Mobile for Derek Carr, he reaffirmed himself as the best senior QB prospect in this draft. His pocket presence and rocket arm have scouts and teams buying into a top 10 draft prospect.
However limited competition at Fresno and other small issues have teams unsure where he falls amongst the QBS at the top of draft boards(Bridgewater, Bortes, Manziel). Indianapolis will give teams a chance to see if he is in the top tier of QBS or if he is the top prospect amongst the other QBS.
How Carr fares in the combine could easily be the difference between being drafted in the top 15 or falling somewhere in the 2nd rd. Either way the Raiders will continue keeping an eye on Carr to determine his draft status
Bortes announced that he planned to do everything at the Combine. This shows exactly what kind of competitor Bortes is. The top quarterback position is completely up for grabs in this draft. Bortes’ performance in this combine could be the difference in him being selected top 5 or early second round. Scouts are all over the place on Bortes Value. The combine is another place for the teams to familiarize themselves with the mid-major school prospect. The Raiders will have their eyes on him because he is the biggest boom or bust quarterback in the pool
Whoever the Raiders elect as their starting QB is going to need more blocking upfront. I believe Lg Nix was rated one of the worse starters by profoootball focus. Guard is a position not usually utilized in the first round, but there are plenty of interior linemen jumbled up in the top of the second round in mock drafts. Indianapolis will be a venue for many of these guys to separate themselves.
The Raiders should address the roster need at the top of the 2nd or 3rd rd depending which guy they like. Names on the list: Stanford David Yankey, Miss st. Gabe Jackson, Baylor Cyril Richardson, and UCLA Xavier Sua’-Filo. Any of those could help the Raiders in the second round, so Indianapolis will help them establish a preference.
Outside of that Clemson’s Brandon Thomas and Notre Dame’s Chris Watt are some low risk high reward picks. Either would provide versatility to the Raiders OL. A great performance at the combine could propel either into the first group of Offensive Guards.
Defensive Tackle is one of the least deep positions in this draft. However the Raiders need more youth in the middle of the defense. The combine is an opportunity for the Raiders to develop a preference between the mid round tackles.
Pitt’s Aaron Donald is the consensus most NFL ready, prospect and the Raiders will have to consider him. The combine will determine if Donald is much better than the field. He has the game tape, so his measurables will incredibly important, as he is considered undersized.
Minnesota’s RaShede Hagemon. Hagemon looks the part and probably has the most ceiling, but he will answer questions about his work ethic at the Combine. He may not be available for the Raiders, but they should do their homework just in case he is
ASU’s Will Sutton is another name to keep an eye on. A year ago he was one of the top prospects in the whole draft but weight and production problems have reduced his draft stock as low as the third round. If Sutton can get below 300lbs. he can be an explosive mid round steal. Raiders should key in on his footwork and individual drills.
Stephon Tuitt, of Notre Dame, also suffered a major stock fall. Raiders will have an oppurtunity to decide if Tuitt is closer to the senior or junior version. Either way, he could be tremendous value if he stumbles into the third round.
Florida’s Dom Easley is coming off of his second rehabilitation of two non related ACLU injuries. He will have to capture people’s attention in the interviews and remind Teams exactly how dominate he was. Raiders should key on his Medical screens.