The NFL draft has finally come and gone and it’s time for the part everyone loves, grades.
Specifically with the Oakland (maybe not for long in Oakland) Raiders who started the day with eight available draft picks but ended up with seven selections.
Beginning in the first round with the fourteeth pick the Raiders selected West Virginia standout safety, Karl Joseph.
Joseph is considered by many scouts to be a hybrid of Bob Sanders, and Earl Thomas, and received high scouting reports.
The down side is Joseph is currently coming off a season-ending ACL tear and is still rehabbing, however he’s likely to enter to training camp and play this coming season.
In the second and third rounds on day two the Raiders bolstered its defensive line for the future with the selections of defensive ends Jihad Ward of the University of Illinois in round two and Shilique Calhoun of Michigan State in round three.
Day three is where the excitement happened for the silver and black, with the highly questionable decision to trade up 14 picks with the Cleveland Browns and moving in front of the Dallas Cowboys with the second pick in the fourth round and second pick of the day to select Michigan State Spartan quarterback Connor Cook.
Cook was considered one of the best quarterbacks in this draft, however character concerns due to him not being selected as a team captain at Michigan State scared off many coaches and general managers.
The pick is highly questionable due to the fact that the Raiders are already very secure at the quarterback position with third year veteran Derek Carr and trustworthy backup Matt McGloin.
The picks of Ward and Cook are considered future picks, which means that they’re not going to be asked to do much but learn and compete.
Ward is a project. He’s a massive specimen on the defensive line standing at 6’5” weighing 297 pounds but showing off during the NFL Combine his immense explosion and athleticism. He practically jumped out the stadium with his performance.
He’s as green as you can get in a second round pick. He’s going to take time to develop but the size and athleticism is the upside, and why the raiders selected him.
The rest of day three with rounds five through seven were the gap picks selecting Texas Tech running back, Deandre Washington, in the fifth round. The Raiders selected Colorado State Linebacker Cory James in the sixth round and versatile Louisiana State University offensive lineman Vadal Alexander in the seventh round.
Washington is a concern due to his size, standing only 5’8” but film shows him to be elusive and flashing similar traits to that off Oakland native Maurice Jones-Drew.
Cory James flies off the film with his speed but is a little misplaced on film. With time he could be a capable outside linebacker.
Alexander is the most exciting prospect of this draft. He’s an old school offensive line coach’s dream standing 6’6” and weighing in at 342 pounds but showing incredible athleticism with that size. His feet are average at best, but with time he could become a premiere right tackle in the NFL. A huge potential steal for the raiders.
The grade on the Raiders 2016 draft selections is a B-.
The decision to select Joseph in the first round Alexander final round is the biggest reason why.