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.

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.

Reports of Amari Cooper in Return Game Suck

Espn reports that the Raiders are considering using Amari Cooper in the return game suck. Why risk our future star, not only to injuries but also to not focusing on where we need him best, catching passes.

I also don’t like vague rumors of Latavius Murruy returning kicks, or TJ Carrie for that matter, we signed Trindon Holliday for a reason, he’s a return star (who unfortunately developed a nasty habit of fumbling, but with good coaching this can be worked on).

We have to focus on Holliday, Taiwan Jones or one of the reserve WR’s/DB’s returning kick/punts, not a potential starter…..no way.

KR-Carousel

First of all I was happy when I heard the news the Oakland Raiders brought in the extremely talented KR Trindon Holliday, then I got sad as I discovered we’d waived late-round draft pick Andre Debose…..now I’m happy again though as Debose has cleared waivers and we’ve stashed him on our injured reserve list.

There is very little draft-junkies, like myself, hate than losing draft picks (look at David Bass recently, cut and now playing for the Chicago Bears, its not as if we’ve been super-deep at pass-rushing DE’s), so to at least still have Debose I am very happy. The poor kid hurt his ankle – KR’s don’t historically have a long shelf life – but he’s explosive and I want to see what he can do next year, we need a Harvin-style WR to complement the rest anyway.

Back to Holliday, this kid is probably even more explosive…..his problem, thus far, has been fumbles. If our coaching staff can fix this we have a gem back there – remember his two touchdowns (one PR, one KR) for the Broncos in the playoffs a few years ago now.

Holliday is smaller (5’5″) than Debose (6’….mmm, on tip-toes?), and minus-fumbles a better returner, but in the long-run I’m happier with Debose. His school film, as a receiver is excellent, he upset some people in Florida and didn’t get the chance as a receiver. Anyway, while on IR can grow-up a bit (mentally), learn the playbook and bulk up a bit. Lets just think of Debose as essentially a free draft pick in 2016.

Other KR/PR options this year include Taiwan Jones, TJ Carrie and George Atkinson III. Jones has/had similar fumbling issues to Holliday, but again hopefully with coaching this has/will improve….I’d be more than happy with Taiwan returning kicks, we missed him last year. TJ Carrie is now too important as a CB, so don’t let him return kicks. George Atkinson III didn’t impress me enough last year, and is very unlikely to make the roster.

Bad-ass

One of the long-shots on the Oakland Raider’s roster that I am more excited about is OLB “Ray-Ray” Armstrong. The former University of Miami LB has serious intensity and according to reports from OTA’s has really been impressing.

The thing I like best about “Ray-Ray” is his passion, this kid obviously loves football and in a LB-grouping that includes Khalil Mack, Sio Moore (Mr Intensity himself) and Malcolm Smith it is quite possible that a real quality grouping emerges.

In the past Ray-Ray Armstrong has sometimes struggled with missed tackles and poor positional play, but (if OTA reports are true) he’s really improved this offseason. Lets give Ray-Ray a chance, he only has a couple of years experience at LB, having played S in college….a plus being here his coverage skills exceeded many backup LBs.

Pondering an alternative

With Derek Carr out nursing a finger injury, Christian Ponder and Matt McGloin have been sharing first team reps at Oakland Raider’s OTAs and the one clear take-away that I could gather was that former first round draft pick Christian Ponder looked really good.

Ponder has always has a nice rhythm to his passing, his down fall in his early nfl career with the Minnesota Vikings being his tendency to fluster under pressure, but maybe (and its a big maybe) the change of scenery, lack of pressure and time to develop will allow him to iron out this very important flaw. Christian Ponder has always had good feet and a nice west-coast short-passing game but he has often suffered from a lack of zip on his longer balls and somewhat panicked-style. At OTA’s however he has looked smooth and very impressive.

Yes the pressure is not there, at OTA’s, but maybe (just maybe) this young man just needed some time to mature. As long as we mainly want to run the ball, just playing west-coast offence at QB, Christian Ponder should/could be fine. Yes, I’d much rather see Derek Carr developing, but if he’s carrying an injury lets not push it, no need to risk Carr long term future, instead lets give the keys of the juggernaut to Christian Ponder and see where he can take us.

Fury Road

Starting with the haunting line “our world is fire and blood” the new Mad Max trailer perfectly encapsulates the excitement that I feel going into the 2015 season. Reggie is gradually pulling together a roster with not only talent but also a nice bit of Raiders’ swagger.

Any Raider fan can’t help but love the style and mystique of the Mad Max films, lets face it our former players and ongoing fans are pretty much the inspiration for the creatures that so hauntingly grace the backdrop of these brilliant films.

The bad-ass attitude that players like Khalil Mack, Sio Moore, Just Tuck and Charles Woodson bring to the defense a nasty, hungry personality, warriors looking to be set free on offenses by the excellence and dependability of new recruits, such as Curtis Lofton and Dan Williams. The additional pressure that our front 7 are going to bring this year should be awesome, and is likely to create a big increase in turnovers for our speedy DB-set. As Humungus the central baddy in Mad Max 2 said, “unleash my dogs of war”.

http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/67157122/khalil-mack-top-10-pick-in-the-nfl-draft

…. I can just see now, Derek Carr calmly striding onto the field, helmet in hand, to take the ball back after CW24 picks off another interception. Fakes a hand-off to Murray then pings a 50 yard bomb into the hands of Amari Cooper – the Oakland Raiders are back, its silver and black!!!