How the combine effected the Raiders’ board

The Combine makes prospects stock rise and fall every year. Here are some performances that should impact the Raiders’ big board.

Pass Rushers

Always at a premium, the combine helped differentiate some of the nation’s top pass rushers.

Dante Fowler from Florida stole the show displaying fluidity and charisma in drills and with the media. He has the long arms to be a true 4-3 end, which are hard to come bye as stand up rushers are more utilized now a days. He may be worth reaching for but could also be a target the Raiders move down for.

Randy Gregory from Nebraska didn’t do bad but he didn’t do great either. He was underweight and proved he is more stand up end than hand in his ground. Raiders should eliminate him from consideration at four.

Vic Beasley made headlines displaying an explosive 41′ vert combined with 35 reps on the bench press. Combined with displaying great tape at Clemson, Beasley should earn top ten consideration. He also showed up bigger than expected.

Odighizuwa Owamaghe also had a great outing at the combine. He looks like a pure hand down defensive end, and he should be the Raiders pick if available at the top of the second

Preston Smith also did well showing a 2.71 fourty yard dash. He too could get consideration at top of the second round, If he lasts until the third, he could be the highly productive collegian steal McKenzie finds in the draft.

Wide receivers

The big three reminded everyone why they are some of the best players in the draft period. DaVante Parker got lost in the shuffle behind Kevin White and Amari Cooper. Still Parker’s sub 4.5 fourty dispels any myths about his speed. Hence, Parker could be a viable option if the Raiders move down.

White shocked the world running a 4.35. His frame combined with mentioned speed make him receiver with the most potential. Enough that many have the Raiders selecting him.

Cooper did not bomb the combine. He showcased the numbers people expected. It would have been fine if White and Parker didn’t do so well. I still prefer Cooper’s resume of production over the other guys, but it is definitely a matter of taste when separating the three.

Inside linebackers

Denzel Perryman and Tavrion Dawson both bombed the fourty yard dash. Good news is they are still the type of players with instincts and production that will translate. Better news is, either could be available in third our fourth rounds as Raiders have a glaring need at inside linebacker.

Meanwhile, Stephone Anthony increased his draft stock massively running a 4.5. He may be the type of athlete at inside linebacker that the Raiders reach for at the top of the second. Added, Kendricks out of UCLA did not hurt his stock, he may still be top Mike prospect.

Running Backs

None of the running backs cemented themselves as the top guy. Most performed as expected, hence it will be a matter of preference based.

Even with cap space to throw at a free agent back and an incumbent Latavius Murray, I still expect them to make a move in the draft.

Depending on how the draft shapes up, I’d love to see Jay Ayayi, TJ Yelton, Duke Johnson or Ameer Abdullah wearing silver and black.

All of the information above is from NFL.com

20150301-172848.jpg

Why the Combine still Matters

20140221-160730.jpg

What is all the hype with the combine? Who cares what time someone ran, or how many bench presses someone has. Why hype up the combine?
As fans, we want to see players flying around making plays and touchdowns. We do not care if they can run around bags or throw on air.

Even In High School, I can remember the players that excelled in tee shirts and shorts. The guys who would have people buzzing about their athleticism due to plays made without pads. Once the pads came on, they were a completely different football player despite their athleticism. The people with 100 spare ratings were the same ones tapping out once they got hit in pads.

The combine is the same principle. Every draft there is a player who wows scouts and has a team reach for him based on the athleticism. Said player may not have success on the field just because they ran or jumped well at the combine (ask any Raider fan). Then teams are left with a draft bust and angry fan base.

Why bother with the combine at all, if the tests do not mean success in the NFL?

No these drills are not the end all be all determinate of a prospects potential career in the NFL. Prospects prepare for months at high end facilities geared towards the type of combine testing that goes on in Indianapolis. That is part of the reason why prospects fair so well.

So why bother? Prospects have already put together hours of game tape that show what they can do on the field. Why not focus for bettering the infield product rather than combine numbers.

The answer is simple. The combine itself is an overwhelming experience for the players. They are put into a four day gauntlet of position drills, measurable tests, academic tests, interviews, and medical exams.

As an employer, NFL teams want to see how their potential investments fair in a high stress environment

Pro-days already offer the same combine drills, testing, exams, and interviews that the combine offers. The difference is The combine makes players step out of their comfort zone. Prospects are not dressing in their locker rooms, working with their coaches, or playing with their teammates. You want to see how a prospect reacts to leaving their comfortable college stage and entering the media spectacle that is the NFL combine

From a competition standpoint, it does not get better than the The NFL Combine

How often do you get. 300 of the best football players in one arena? Almost never. I remember being in my own High School combines, I wanted to see how I faired against the best around. I wanted to see if the best were as advertised.

The same should be said about the NFL. Teams want the player who wants to be the best. To be the best, you have to showcase that within your peers. Combine is the chance for NFL prospects like Clowney and Watkins to show why they are the consensus best players of their position. I give more power to them for wanting to showcase their abilities in pos. drills and athletic tests. Just being around that many good players with NFL eyes on you can be nerve-racking, but It is preparation for the type of competition in the Dog eat Dog NFL.

The game is still based around athleticism.
Every team is always looking for the next best thing. They want the big receiver, the running QB, the tweener safety, the big corner, and the lighting explosive pass rusher. The combine is for teams to see every players athleticism on display. Some say these drills are outdated having been the same since the first combine. Well players have been rehearsing these drills for years, there is a reason for that. These drills and tests have stayed around because they are the best judgement of a players athleticism translated to the game of football.

The Interview process is the most underrated part of the Combine.

The combine in itself is a large job interview. While scouts have familiarized themselves with players all year, The combine is an opportunity for Players to get acquainted with Teams coaching staffs. This is a really underrated part of the process because a prospect needs to be put into a position to succeed.

Like any other job, a player has to fit the organizational culture. Coaches have to be able to see themselves coaching said prospect, and they have to feel said player will fit in their locker room. Otherwise it is hard for a prospect to develop, with no mutual feelings of comfort between the player and organization. Not to mention today’s heavily media driven society means fans and media are more connected to players than ever. Teams are investing a lot of stake into these draft players and interviews are key to making sure a prospect is mature enough to handle the jump from amateur to professional.

The combine is the bridge between being a collegiate athlete and becoming a professional Football player.

It is not just a test of athleticism, personality, health, or football IQ. The NFL Scouting Combine is a small test to see if a player has what it takes to survive the multiple aspects of being an NFL football player. NFL teams want to see if prospects can handle the distractions and put an impressive product on the field.

In closing, The NFL Combine is not going anywhere. There is no magical way to predict how a player will transition to life as an NFL player. No matter how many tests there are, outliers will always disprove the system with successes and failures. Being successful in the NFL is a daily feat and no test can accurately access how a player will translate in the professional field. Either way, The Combine and the spectacle it has become, serves as the start to the spectacle that is NFL life, where eyes are watching you no matter.

Prospects Raiders should key on in combine.

20140220-182443.jpg

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

Blake Bortes

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

Offensive Guards

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 Tackles

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.