2015 Looking Much Much Better

Firstly, we are looking a whole lot better this year. Secondly, with a nice bit of cap space this offseason we can get really good in 2016 (more to come shortly). I’m talking about top 5, superbowl contenders. This team has REAL potential.

Derek Carr looks awesome, the WR’s have real talent, the TE’s have good potential, our RB’s show flashes and the O-line has made big strides.

On the other side of the ball, the D looks very stout. I like Mario Edwards Jr at DE, Aldon Smith on the other side, Dan Williams is a beast and Jelly if he’s fit is decent. I also saw some impressive play from Stacy McGee the other day, while Autry is improving and I like the potential of Shelby Harris. Back in the LB’s, as long as we don’t overplay Jar Jar were fine, I love the new additions and I’m really impressed with how Norton has got them developing. Finally our much maligned secondary has shown improvements, dramatic ones at that. David Amerson needed the fresh start, and now looks every bit the high-round draft pick, while our own heavily critiqued DJ Hayden has also shown signs of improving. Safety in a injury-hit revolving door at the moment, but with Nate Allen coming back soon, Charles Woodson rocking the field and TJ Carrie looking great anywhere in the backfield (bar returning punts) we look pretty set. I also like Neiko Thorpe.

Getting us out out of a Tight-End

With David Ausberry having just had surgery and Nick Kasa likely out for the season we are in a little bit of a proverbial pickle. But don’t panic Raider-Nation as RaidaLove has a couple of ideas, chiefly the possibility of us picking up a free agent…..”but there aren’t any out there” I hear you scream….well lets look at the possibilities:-

(1) Kyle Auffray – the Cleveland Browns just waived this kid, who was previously on the NE Patriots roster… “if he was that good surely they’d hold onto him?” – number one I’m not called Shirely, and number 2 have you seen the TE’s on the Browns and Pats rosters. Auffray has great size (6’6″ and 255 lbs), speed (timed at 4.6 seconds over 40 yards), is a decent blocker and has good hands, to be honest I can see him starting for us not simply being a backup. Another thing I like about this kid is that he can also play backup punter!!
http://www.thefootballeducator.com/kyle-auffray-tight-end-every-teams-radar/

(2) we wait until the roster cuts, and pick one of the numerous talented TE’s that are bound to be cut (watch Detroit). This could be a great strategy, particularly as it means we also give Brian Leonhardt and Jake Murphy a bit more time. Murphy has reportedly been impressing in camp, but his drop against the Vikings in the first pre-season game do worry me

(3) we trade for someone, I guess this would definitely work, particularly if trade someone we are looking to cut….any ideas here readers?

(4) we make do with Murphy, Leonhardt and Rivera….another distinct possibility, particularly as Ausberry is reportedly recovering well (Kasa looks like he’s out for the season)

(5) We switch multi-talented FB/RB/HB Marcel Reece out wide a bit more often – this could be the real gold (and a great sleeper for fantasy leagues), and what I envisage them doing, once again particularly if Ausberry heels quick.

Let me know your thought Raider-nation, and we can really get to the bottom of this particular ‘tight-end’.

Some Good UDFA’s

Reggie has proved his mettle here before, so I’m expected more of the same this year, here’s a comprehensive list http://www.nepatriotsdraft.com/2014-nfl-undrafted-free-agents but a few names that jumped out included Texas WR Mike Davis, Utah TE Jake Murphy and LB Carlos Fields Jr, those three kids definitely have the potential to make the 53-man roster. Also I imagine George Atkinson III and Karl Williams should have enough to make the practise squad.

Carlos Fields has explosive speed and is a very reliable run-defender, on watching the tape on him the thing that really stands out is that he doesn’t always go for the glory hit, instead focussing on stopping the player, a very useful trait in a LB.

Jake Murphy is a really strong TE prospect, that if he’d stayed in college another year would probably have been a top-4 round pick, but he has a family to feed and decided to take the plunge…luckily we were ready to give him the opportunity, seriously expect this kid to be starting some time this year.

Mike Davis looked like a certain mid-round WR, no guarantee to make the roster but great competition for Criner et al. Davis really struggled with poor QB-play at Texas.

Before I go I wanted to share a link with you on the surprise-Raiders draft choice this year, DE/DT Shelby Harris, this kid didn’t even play last year because of various troubles, but as Reggie showed with Stacy McGee last year sometimes its worth giving a kid a second-chance. anyway here’s the link http://www.raiders.com/news/2014-Draft/article-1/Shelby-Harris-Discusses-His-Fresh-Start/0d916c31-abde-453d-8f50-81b1d5e3620f 

Seconds Out, Round 4

So there we have it, on paper the Oakland Raiders already have one of the best drafts in living memory, so what/who is next? We have two fourth round picks and three seventh rounders, and I’d say we definitely need to pick up a free safety and a DE in those five picks, I’d also be keen for us to acquire another DT, possibly a NT, then maybe an OT, or a CB or a WR, depending upon who’s there when we draft. As a wildcard I also wouldn’t mind us getting another QB in the seventh if any real gems are available late.

Players we should go for:-

* Ahmad Dixon – FS, Baylor – this kid has got a bit of the Charles Woodson swagger about him, and would be an ideal candidate to sit and learn for a season from CW24. Dixon helped Justin Gilbert immensely this past year. He hits like an aggressive Ram that hasn’t had its morning coffee and has woken in a bad mood, this kid looks like an awesome typical Raiders DB to me.

* Dion Bailey – FS, USC – another big big hitter, this kid just wraps people up and has great balls skills. Again we could bring this kid through slowly, as he learns from the best CW.

* Keith McGill – CB, Utah – 4.5 40 time, this 6’2″ coverage CB is a blanket for receivers, looks like he could easily convert to FS also if the need requires. How this kid slipped out of the first three rounds I will never be able to comprehend – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6qv3hVhKzA

* Cameron Fleming – OT, Stanford – looks like a ready to roll RT option, with him in the mix we could slide Watson over to LT, where his superior foot speed would actually probably work better. Cameron is big and powerful, possessing excellent technique for such a young kid  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4MfBjCRCM8

* DeQuan Jones – DT, Penn State – at 6’3″ and 320 lbs, with great gap-discipline, Jones is a force against the run. His excellent power and impressive snap anticipation show Jones to be a natural for the DT/NT role and would help solidify the position for years. If we don’t go for someone like Jones, Anthony Johnson or Brent Urban (and seeing as we avoided drafting Louis Nix III yesterday) then, to me, it strongly suggests forgotten man Torell Troup (the 330 lb unit the Bills drafted in the second round of the 2010 draft) is fit and ready to go….in which case we’re good at DT anyway

* Aaron Lynch – DE, USF – explosive QB-killer, looks like a leader on the field which I particularly like. He’s big (6’5″), explosive, like an albatross in terms of wing-span and emotional on the field, if anything I’d say he looks a little to lean, but that’s nothing LaMarr Woodley and Justin Tuck can’t teach him to improve upon in the weight room. Another good DE option , although this time more of a run-stuffer in Ed Stinson from Alabama.

….thought I’d slip this last one in – and sorry to all my fellow Raiders who are sick to the back teeth of Terrelle Pryor talk – but an even more promising quasi-QB option is Logan Thomas. Along with Derek Carr, Logan Thomas has in my opinion the best arm in this year’s draft class. Unlike Carr, however (and more like Pryor), 6’6″Logan Thomas lacks accuracy (actually Derek Carr needs work here too, hence sitting and learning under Matt Schaub would suit Carr and Thomas). Check out his highlights, they’re impressive, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfooRmEF8AE maybe we draft this kid as a TE?