2015 Draft in Review: Oakland Raiders
The NFL draft is over and it suddenly seems like a long time to wait for the next meaningful event on the NFL calendar. But frankly we’re still excited trying to break down what it all means for each team and so we’re going to share some of that excitement.
Every team is going to have each pick broken down as well as a look at their undrafted free agents. Next is the Oakland Raiders to see how they fared in this first draft for the Del Rio coaching regime.
Round 1: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
Credit the Raiders for hitting the sweet spot here – claiming one of the top talents in the draft at a position of need. Cooper comes in as our top-graded WR and easily our No. 1 option at the position. “Polished” is the word you frequently hear with his name and we don’t disagree – runs the full route tree, does damage after the catch and on deep balls. This can be the foundation piece their offense has missed and they’ve got a chance to plug him in and let Carr and him grow up together.
Depth Chart Fit: A disappointment if not immediately to the top of the WR group.
Round 2: Mario Edwards, ED, FSU
Bit of a surprise given the talent that was on the board when Edwards was selected high in Round 2. Get the sense the talent is there but cruised at times in college. Landed 57th in the class as a pass rusher off the edge last season and his pass rushing productivity mark was just 41st. One of his college coaches is now on Oakland’s staff; must have had a lot of good to say to pull Edwards all the way up to this early spot on Day 2.
Depth Chart Fit: In the mix at DE with Tuck’s remaining years limited, but production will need a huge lift from his last college season.
Round 3: Clive Walford, TE, Miami
Much more of a receiving threat than a blocker, Walford earned our top receiving grade among tight ends in this class and also set the pace with his 3.26 yards per route run. Seems a different player with the ball in his hand, gets aggressive, upfield, and can make defenders miss with just enough moves to get by. Dropped just two of 46 catchable balls and his 22 catches from the slot tied for third-most in 2014.
Depth Chart Fit: Another instant rise to the top of the offensive chart, Walford should be the favorite to slot in as the team’s first TE option.
Round 4: Jon Feliciano, G, Miami
Played a handful of spots for Miami last year (left guard, left tackle, right tackle) but 572 of his 819 snaps came at guard where his pass blocking grade tied for 20th in the class — surrendered seven total pressures on 314 pass pro snaps. Run blocking left something to be desired, coming in 47th of 98 in that department.
Depth Chart Fit: There’s a hole at right guard and you’d have to believe Feliciano gets a shot at filling it.
Round 5: Ben Heeney, LB, Kansas
An around-the-ball guy for sure, among the leaders in total tackles (116) and missed tackles (21), Heeney’s tackling efficiency mark vs. the run was poor (85th of 98) but his run stop percentage (13.0) was ninth-best in the class. Works best when kept clean (what linebacker doesn’t?) but showed a particular trouble beating blocks to open himself up.
Depth Chart Fit: The team is looking for long-term help in the middle and Heeney will get a look behind vet free agent addition Curtis Lofton.
Round 5: Neiron Ball, ED, Florida
Great story of overcoming unfortunate situations, Ball played just 460 snaps last season after knee surgery. Run stop percentage and tackling efficiency scores weren’t flattering but did show well in pass rushing productivity, generating 12 total pressures on just 39 pass rush snaps.
Depth Chart Fit: Everyone is willing to take a shot at edge players with any promise, but Ball has a steep hill to climb.
Round 6: Max Valles, ED, Virginia
Usually coming off the left side, the 6-foot-5, 250-pound Valles spent 652 of his 852 snaps as a stand-up linebacker and produced 40 total pressures (9 sacks, 4 hits, 27 hurries). His 23 run stops had him in the top 10 at the position. Plays long and gangly, does good work on stunts. One to keep an eye on.
Depth Chart Fit: Valles could be the edge guy to make a splash in camp.
Round 7: Anthony Morris, T, Tennessee State
Morris didn’t face any FBS competition in 2014.
Round 7: Andre Debose, WR, Florida
After a college career that featured moments of flash, injury and missed time, Debose saw just 38 snaps in 2014 — logged one catch, one drop, and one yard – but he did turn in the eighth-best grade in the class among punt returners.
Depth Chart Fit: a look in the return game and a longshot entry for a spot down the WR chart.
Round 7: Dexter McDonald, CB, Kansas
Targeted 63 times in 2014, McDonald gave up 30 catches and got his hands in for nine PDs – that was tied for 19th in the country, eighth in the class.
Depth Chart Fit: With no established standouts at corner, Oakland has to look at all possibles.
Josh Harper, WR, Fresno State
Harper was targeted 40 times on deep passes, second-most in draft class (caught 12 of 15 catchable).
Robertson Daniel, CB, BYU
Standout game vs. UCF highlighted his season with a QB hit, two PDs and four defensive stops. Gave up six TDs in coverage on the year.
Josh Shirley, DE, UNLV
Played 418 snaps, run defense grade came in 119th of 127 qualifying edge defenders in class and pass rushing productivity mark of 7.5 was 32nd among 43DEs.
Cody Fajardo, QB, Nevada
Fajardo had the fourth-best overall grade among non-Power 5 QBs in this class
Terrell Pinson, LB, Louisiana Tech
Pinson’s run defense grade was 21st in the class out of 148 linebackers.
Leon Orr, DI, Florida
Orr’s grade against the run was tied for the seventh-best among the SEC’s interior defenders.
Jimmy Hall, LB, Northwestern
Finishing above Pinson in the category, Hall’s run D grade was in the Top 10.
Mitchell Bell, OT, Louisiana Tech
Played 740 of his 814 snaps as a right tackle for La Tech; surrendered one sack on the year.
Gary Wilkins, LB, Furman
Struggled in run D in his lone game against FBS competition (@ South Carolina)
Tevin McDonald, S, Eastern Washington
Limited look with just one game in vs. FBS and the Shrine Game, McDonald earned a positive run D grade in each.
Andrew Hendrix, QB, Miami (OH)
As bad a start to the season as you’ll see, Hendrix was the lowest-graded passer after five weeks. Something of a turnaround saw him climb a bit after, but was a massive hole to dig out of.
Gus Johnson, RB, Stephen F. Austin
His one game vs. FBS (@ Kansas State): eight carries, 30 yards, one TD, one missed tackle forced, one fumble.
Gabe Holmes, TE, Purdue
Came in graded 70th overall of 73 qualifying tight ends in the class.
Jacoby Hale, LB, Utah
Torn knee ligaments cost Hale most of the season; saw 71 snaps across seven games.
Milton Williams, WR, Delaware State
Logged three catches for 30 yards and a drop in his lone game vs. FBS competition (@ Temple).
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