It’s finally here! It seems like I say that every year. Well, every year I’m excited for the NFL Draft. Dreams are made, fans hopes are up and many hearts get broken. Sounds pretty exciting, if you ask me.
Who will our precious Silver and Black select? Here are some ideas as well as my selection.
The Fans’ Pick: Obi Melifonwu, S, UCONN
All the fans love this pick. For good reason too. Melifonwu is the kind of prospect who Al Davis will turn in his grave for. The big-bodied and fast safety made a name for him self at the NFL Combine and Senior Bowl. Melifonwu Los has experience as a productive corner and safety at UCONN. He could develop into Reggie Nelson’s eventual replacement. The only issue with this pick is that the safety class is so deep. The Raiders could get a guy just as capable in the second round.
The Dark Horse: Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
You never want to reach for a need in the NFL Draft. However, Robinson has an argument to be the best tackle in this class. He has big game experience that dates back to his days at Bama. Robinson has the size and athleticism to be the long-term answer at either of the Raiders’ tackle spots. Ultimately, there are some questions about his ability to finish run blacks and his balance/technique in pass pro. Luckily, the Raiders have some veterans at the position to help groom Robinson. Personally, I think Robinson is a better value in round two. Nonetheless, Mike Mayock pegged him here.
Draft Crush: Kevin King, CB, Washington
Everytime we play the Chiefs, I believe that Marcus Peters should be a Raider. His play style and swagger would have fit perfect with Oakland. Now, King isn’t quite the same player as Peters. However, he is a big and fast corner from the Bay Area. King played safety and corner at Washington so he brings the versatility that the Raiders need. He should immediately challenge for the nickel corner position. King might even challenge David Amerson and Sean Smith for starting roles on the outside. King has the size and ball skills to develop into the Raiders eventual starter on the outside. He might not be available at No. 24, but it would be really hard for the Raiders to pass on the Bay Area kid.
The Gamble: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
Draft experts have nothing bad to say about Foster’s tape out of Alabama. However, he could fall to the Raiders due to off-field concerns. Foster had an incident that got him sent home from the NFL Combine. He also tested positive at the Combine. Then, he’s got size and injury concerns. Plus, Oakland is still haunted by the demons of another former Bama linebacker taken in the first round, Rolando McClain. I say no but the Raiders may roll the dice.
The Al Davis Pick: John Ross, WR, Washington
Questions about his size, ankle, knee and shouler health could make Ross tumble in the draft. You think Al Davis would care about any of that? Ross broke the NFL Combine record for the 40-yard dash with a sub-4.3 40-time. Not to mention, he was highly productive at Washington. Ross’ route tree is extensive, his hands are good and he is Cali-native. Al Davis would make this pick despite the Raiders’ receiving corps already being among the NFL’s best.
The Safe Pick: Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
Davis has been another popular target for the Raiders in various Mock Drafts. There are a lot of good reasons. Davis was productive at Florida and he tested well at the combine. He projects as an outside or middle linebacker in the NFL, despite his limited size. Oakland would sure up their middle linebacker spot with a rangy backer. However, I’m not sold on taking a MLB this early unless you think he can change your defense. Davis will be a solid starter but I don’t know if he is a future Pro Bowler. I’d roll the dice on him in the second round, especially given his injury history.
My Pick: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
Early in the draft process, I was high on the Raiders selecting Davis. Cunningham’s scheme fit, speed and hands had me questioning his fit with Oakland. Then, I remember that the Raiders defense has not been good enough to establish a scheme. There scheme is flexible for the players that they select. Moreover, Jack Del Rio and Reggie McKenzie have both put empathisis on selecting impact players. Cunningham was a productive, impact player in the SEC. he has the size and frame to play a variety of positions in the front seven. Moreover, he is ready to start from Day One. This pick makes too much sense. BR’s Matt Miller also consigned this pick in his latest mock draft.
Ultimately, we will find out who the Raiders select at about 8:00 p.m. PST tonight. Who do you think they should select? I know I can’t wait to welcome the newest member of the Silver and Black.