Back-Breaking LB Bojay Filimoeatu

In UDFA signing Bojey Filimoeatu the Oakland Raiders got another member of the bad-boy-facemark-brigade (ala Justin Tuck, Khalil Mack). Bojey’s stats are very impressive, and if he hadn’t suffered a bad injury at the end of his 2012 season, I think Filimoeatu would have been a day one-or-two draft pick. Do not be at all surprised if Bojey Filimoeatu makes the 53-man roster, or at least is put away on IR or the practise squad for next year.

At 6’1″ and 258 lbs Bojey is a stout run-defender, combine these bulldog-like measureables with his impressive strength (lifting 225=lbs 33 times at a pre-draft workout) and speed (4.7 second 40-yard time) and we’ve got the makings of a real nfl LB’er. His game-tape, from the year before last, shows him rarely being moved by the opponents OL, plus a real canny ability to wrap up the RB. He seems to flash out an arm, with which to wrap up the RB, and very rarely can they escape, or is he moved backwards.

I’m putting Bojey out there as this year’s wildcard UDFA, although his game time (in 2012) was largely spent at OLB, a potential switch to ILB/MLB might make more sense in the pros, but in 2014 I’m expecting impressive performances on special teams.

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Running-back by Committee

With Maurice Jones-Drew, Darren McFadden, Latavius Murray, Gerorge Atkinson III, Kory Sheets, Jeremy Stewart, Jamize Olawale, Marcel Reece and Karl Williams on the roster it looks like the 2014 Oakland Raiders are going with a running-back-by-committee scheme.

We have a burner in McFadden. A couple of powerhouses in MJD and Stewart. A smaller back in Sheets. A promising all-round back in Murray and a pass-catching wizard in Reece.

Most exciting of all, however, is that we now have a much bigger, more powerful….simply better, offensive line. We are going to pound the ball down opponents throats. Expect big years for MJD, McFadden and Reece, and this will make Schaub’s job a lot easier, as the LB’ers are more concerned about stopping the run than helping out with the pass.

Raiders Sign DE Denico Autry

It seems at the moment like its “another day – another signing”, and today we signed Mississippi State DE Denico Autry.

This kid has the physical capabilities to make it as an nfl starting DE, standing at 6’5″ and weighing in at 275 lbs, plus he has plenty of speed, with a 4.9 second 40-yard time to his name, but watching the game tape last year he lacked a little explosion. I guess he’s one to put in the weight room, with Tuck, Woodley and Mack, to see if he can see what he needs to do to make the step up.

I remember against LSU, he sure put a nice sack on Zach Mettenberger that caused him to fumble the ball, but after that he seemed to take a breather on too many plays.

The DL-mix in camp is sure going to be interesting. My guess is that Denico Autry will be competing with Jack Crawford, Shelby Harris, C.J. Wilson and Ryan Robinson for the two (possibly, at a stretch, three) backup DE spots behind Woodley and Tuck. Its going to be an interesting camp, that’s for sure. 

Former Browns WR Greg Little signed

The Oakland Raiders have signed former Clevland Browns WR Greg Little, a move that I have thus far somewhat unfairly heard written off.

Greg Little is a 6’2″, 230 lb, 4.45 second 40 timed, former second round draft pick, who has excellent ability after-the-catch (hence his use as a kick returner, and previous incarnation as a RB). Yes he has suffered from the drops, hence his release from the Cleveland Browns roster, but I don’t think this is because he is a poor player. Rather I think the pressure of being a second round draft pick and being played out of position, as a deep-threat burner, got to his confidence. As one of our talented young WR-core, he can get back to doing what he is best at, making tough catches in traffic and breaking away for big gains. Two years down the line, when Shaub hands the keys of the francise over to Carr, Little’s confidence will be ready for deep balls.

Little pulled in over 60 catches as a rookie, in 2011, and possess rare physical tools for a receiver – he’d make an ideal WR/TE hybrid, something that would ideally suit Matt Schaub’s love of a TE. http://draftbreakdown.com/scouting-report-greg-little/ described him as having the “ability to develop into an upper-echelon receiver in the NFL” ….. lets hope this kid can turn it around and re-direct his talents under better tutelidge.

To seal the deal, recently signed UDFA DJ Coles was released.

Jonathan Dowling – Profile

With the Terrelle Pryor compensatory pick – i.e. what we got from the Seahawks in exchange for Terrelle Pryor – the Oakland Raiders selected the heir-apparent to Charles Woodson.

Ok, so maybe I’m stretching things a little, at this point, but it could be true. This kid is 6’3″, packs a mean hit and runs a 4.4 second 40-time. He’s not exactly refined and discipline looks like it might be an issues, but if you want to completely get your money out of the experienced players (like Woodson) that’s what you do, you bring in kids that need to see how-its-really done, and let them learn. If you don’t look up to one of the best ever, and learn from him, then you wont learn from anybody. It sure is a lot better than sitting and learning from many of our previous safeties we had – Eddie Anderson, Dorsett, etc, etc

This Dowling kid looks like he has all the physical tools, he just needs to sit with Woodson and the coaches day-in day-out and study. In 2 years time I’ve got a feeling this Dowling pick will be being talked about as one of the best Raider’s draft picks of all time, and nobody will be wishing we had Terrelle Pryor instead.

Front 7

A quick look at our defensive front-7 going into the 2014 season puts it into perspective how much better the Oakland Raiders now look.

Starting at the two DE positions its former-pro bowlers, Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley, then either side of them at OLB its last years best rookie Sio Moore, bound to be better with a second training camp under his belt and this year’s defensive stud Khalil Mack…..that my friends is awesome. Looking across the rosters of the other teams you will struggle to find better combos.

Then moving over to DT, we now have Antonio Smith and Justin Ellis, an excellent QB-hastling, run-stuffing combo, backed up by the very imporessive Stacy McGee and Pat Sims

At MLB then we have Roach, plus a decent bit of depth, particularly at LB….we could be real good next year.

 

Any Other Players We Could Pickup?

Following the excellent 2014 draft, and reasonable UDFA-period, it left me wondering are there any other players out there that the Oakland Raiders could still pickup. Here are a few possibilities, let me know if you can think of any more:-

* Vince Young – I thought I’d start with the real controversial one. Former pro bowl QB and apparently the player Al Davis really wanted when we drafted Michael Huff, Vince Young is the unfortunate victim of Manziel’s signing with the Browns. If I’m honest I don’t really want Vince Young on our roster, as unless he has changed dramatically in personaility recently he isn’t the kind of character we need on this team (and we brought him in for a tryout last year), but I would rather have his talent on the roster than Trent Edwards….#justsaying

* Jordan Rodgers – if we’re collected brothers of other QB’s how about Aaron Rodger’s younger brother Jordan. The dolphins just released him to make room on their roster. Seriously I am NOT stating this is a player we should give realistic consideration to, just making a very poor reference to the brother thing – sorry.

* Bruce Campbell – our former OT, played reasonably well at times with the Caroline Panthers, and according to sources at the club, was unfortunate not to be given a new contract. Campbell would suit our renewed emphasis on power-running schemes and has learnt a lot since his Raiders days. Would provide good competition at OT and would surely improve under Tony Sparano’s teaching.

* Santonio Holmes – the former Superbowl MVP still has the field-stretching legs, might be worth Reggie looking into the eyes of to see if he can change his ways, #ReggieSeesAll

* Michael Bush – still a free agent, despite talk of signing with the New England Patriots. Bush can still do it, the only question is do we have room in our now very well stock RB-vaults?…..no, sorry

* Colt Lyerla – the risky TE that nobdy wants to take the risk on. I don’t know what this talent kid did, but following his getting kicked off the team he said “it’s something I deeply, deeply regret and it’s a mistake I’ll have to live with the rest of my life”….it seems all the nfl teams are more than a little concerned themselves! With a 4.61 second 40 yard dash, a 39” vertical leap and decent receiving skills, this kid though surely can play TE. Again one for Reggie to look into the eys of, #ReggieSeesAll