Stanford draft prospects we might be looking at

Reports that Oakland Raider OL guru Mike Tice was at Stanford’s pro-day has me wondering who we might be looking to draft. Now although we already have one of the best OL’s in the league – that got real AWESOME with the signing of Kelechi Osemele from the Ravens and the re-signing of Donald Penn – Mike Tice is clearly looking longer term, and for OL prospects that he can coach up.

The main Stanford OL prospects in the 2016 draft class are:-

  • Joshua Garnett
  • Kyle Murphy

Garnett is probably the second or third best guard in this year’s draft class – and at 6’4″ and 315 lbs he’s real similar man-mountain to the two incumbents we’ve likely got starting in 2016, Gabe Jackson & Kelechi Osemele. Now as much as I’d like to sign this kid, I don’t see him lasting past the 2nd round, and given the talent we already have at guard (and don’t forget Feliciano’s development), its hard to justify us spending an early rounder on another guard. If for some crazy reason he falls to the fourth or fifth round, however, I say ‘pounce’….the third round, I’d have to get thinking really hard!

The kid I think Tice is really concentrating on, however, is the slightly less hyped Kyle Murphy, he’s a big 6’6″ OT, a position of much greater need to us and will potentially be available to us in the 4th round, certainly the 3rd. He’s more of a RT than a LT, although Murphy did play LT as a senior, is Tice thinks he has the raw talent to potentially play LT in a couple of years then I say ‘roll he 4th round dice”. Murphy is a bright kid, with long arms and good genetics – his brother played for Harvard and the Vikings. Bright obviously the Murphy family could be the developmental OL-peg we need, and what better place to learn than under Tice, Penn and Howard.

Revolving door…

…. one enters and another leaves, its a sad truth of much of life and Chimdi Chekwa’s arrival meant that another Oakland Raider had to leave. Remember 90 + 1 does not equal 90.

This week’s exit being the promising DB/LB Terrell Pinson. True we are short at safety, the most likely future playing position of Terrell Pinson, but not as short as we are/were of experience at CB. Bringing Chekwa in and deleting Pinson is a net gain for the Oakland Raiders, as Chimdi Chekwa probably makes the 53-man roster but Pinson was never really going to be more than a long-shot for the practice squad.

Profootball draft report had Pinson out of their top 75 safeties (note: they had our other young safety Tevin McDonald ranked higher)

http://profootball.scout.com/story/1502528-2015-nfl-draft-rankings-safeties

Looking at our roster right now I’d say Charles Woodson and Nate Allen are the likely starters, with Brandian Ross also a likely lock to make the final roster after a very good showing in the second half to 2014, then Tevin McDonald, Larry Asante, Jonathan Dowling (our last memory of Terrelle Pryor), Jimmy Hall and Ras-I Dowling are likely battling it out for one or two slots. Personally I think this could be a very promising group and I’d take 5 this year, as we need to prepare for when Charles Woodson finally hangs up the cleats.

Chimdi Chekwa returns

So just one day after being cut by the New England Patriots, the Oakland Raiders resigned CB Chimdi Chekwa, a move I like a lot. Why?

(1) He’s got some experience, having been drafted by us in 2011, and our most experienced CB on the roster prior to Chekwa signing was DJ Hayden

(2) he’s fast

(3) he’s a great gunner on special teams

(4) he’ll come cheap now he’s been through Patriot cuts

(5) he’s improved every year he’s been on the roster

Our top 3 CB’s right now are DJ Hayden, Keith McGill and TJ Carrie, then its a straight battle with Chimdi Chekwa, James Dockery, Neiko Thorpe (great height), Dexter McDonald, Rob Daniel, Travell Dixon and SaQwan Edwards for 2 spots, that’s going to be a really interest watch.

Amari Offers Reminders of World

The possibility of an Amari Cooper signing this week – with the number four pick in the 2015 nfl draft – has me thinking/harking-back to Jerry Rice….Don’t scoff, I’m serious, the smoothness both of these players possess, coupled with their incredible professionalism and love of the position have me thinking Amari Cooper could be a great signing come the draft.

Whoever gets Amari Cooper not only gets a three-year standout from Alabama, but also an incredible pro-ready receiver who would instantly improve not just their receiving corps but also the play of their QB.

Imagine a Derek Carr that not only has a resurgent Michael Crabtree to pass to, but also a dynamic young pass catcher in Amari Cooper (or even Kevin White), an improve OL (Hudson offering upside at C, while Jackson improves with experience at guard and the right side of the line is instantly better with Howard moving back to his natural position of RT), and a much improved running game.

This is a really good WR-talent pool that some observers think could even eclipse 2014

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/draft/2015/04/28/wide-receiver-preview-devante-parker-kevin-white-amari-cooper-cris-collinsworth/26505289/

Donald Penn impressing early on

The Oakland Raiders are reportedly very happy with former Tampa LT Donald Penn. He’s bringing a very level-headed attitiute to the Raiders OL, and impressing everyone with his quick feet. Not only is Penn huge but he is also incredibly mobile and will surprise many who expect a reduction in performance at LT….don’t Donald Penn is an uptick at LT.

http://www.raiders.com/media-vault/videos/Penn-Were-Not-Going-to-Take-Any-Stuff/46e81e27-c3d3-4376-b8b6-4e905e33b9a3

Unfortunatley Donald Penn is 31, so realisticlaly can’t have more than another couple of seasons in the tank, but this should be more than enough time to see in Menelik Watson will be ready to step in as his eventual replacement.

(note: Penn says “I see signs (that Mack will be a strong passrusher)….the way he puts his foot in the ground, to change direction, he could be a DB”)

Talk of Carr Starting Overdone

Reports of Derek Carr potentially starting over Matt Schaub http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000356437/article/derek-carr-to-push-matt-schaub-for-raiders-starting-job are more than a little overdone at this point, in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong I like this kid, I really do (great arm and terrific athletic potential as a QB), but he needs time to learn.

Schaub still has the tools to be a successful nfl-QB, he’s just had a couple of off seasons, give Matt Schaub a chance behind a decent OL (like our’s will be this season) and you’ll see the old Schaub.

Derek Carr will be a much better QB in a year, or two, if he is given proper time to adjust. I seriously think in 2016 h could be one of the nfl’s top-10 QB’s if we give him time. who knows he may still become that anyway, but I think he’ll be a whole lot better if given time to adjust.

Nice QB Situation

The Oakland Raiders, after many years of trying, finally go into a season with a nice QB situation. OK, wipe your mind clean. Loose your preconceptions and let me explain: the Oakland Raiders have the former pro-bowler, in his early 30’s, starting; a young, best-arm-in-the-draft, rookie to learn from the number-one; and a determined battler back-up, who will do whatever is necessary to help the team. Wow, that’s a nice combination, I don’t think we’ve ever had that before.

I don’t love Matt McGloin, but you have to like his fire and determination, and I can’t argue with him as this year’s number-2, the long-term number-3.

Derek Carr has everythign I want in a starting QB, post-2015/16, a huge arm, strength, a great work ethic and speed (his 4.6 second 40 time shocked me). In the past I’d have wanted Carr to start right away, but I’ve learned my lessons, and he’s not quite ready for that now. A year or two learning will make him a much better player.

Then you’ve got the pick-6 machine Matt Schaub ready to come back and show the nfl they were wrong to write him off. Matt Schaub is a good QB, man he might even be a great QB, I certainly think he”s the best we’ve had since Gannon. Remember last year when we were beating his team pretty convincingly, it wasn’t until Schaub came on there was any danger of us really losing, then he sarted pinging the ball around I was worried. Schaub, with a decent OL (which we now have), will be good….I think potentially very very good.