Oakland Raiders Mock Draft: Predictions for Rounds 3-6
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By now the Raider Nation is growing tired of hearing about the "new era." There has been a lot of talk about new general manager Reggie McKenzie and how he is doing things differently, but there has been a surprising lack of talk about what hasn't changed.
McKenzie hasn't fired any scouts. There is speculation that a house cleaning is in order after the draft, but that might be a bit premature.
Surely McKenzie is evaluating his scouts, but he has to be mindful that the Raiders' struggles of the past few years might have everything or nothing to do with the existing scouting staff.
McKenzie can't possibly do everything alone; he needs a supportive staff to put his plans in motion. He has to rely on others in the scouting department to put together reports and turn his attention towards a diamond in the rough or an undervalued player to investigate further.
Everyone is trying to impress the new boss, but there can also be a genuine good vibe in the building. No matter what you thought of Al Davis, change can still be good. Change kills complacency.
The Raiders have actually had a nice string of drafts since the JaMarcus Russell debacle draft of 2007.
We'll take a look back at the past four drafts and see which players were drafted in the later rounds and identify similar prospects that could be on the Raiders' radar.
Round 3, Pick 95
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2011 Draft Selection: Joseph Barksdale, OT/OG, LSU
Barksdale was a guard/tackle prospect with good size and strength. He's smart and was an experienced player out of college.
The Raiders wanted Barksdale partly because of the move to the man/power blocking scheme, but he's athletic enough to move in space and be successful in the zone-blocking system.
2010 Draft Selection: Jared Veldheer, T, Hillsdale
Veldheer's workout numbers forced a lot of teams to take a second look. The Raiders did and found a strong offensive tackle with good footwork and an excellent work ethic. Veldheer was impressive enough that he received a rare interview by Al Davis himself.
2012 Similar Prospect: Brandon Mosely, T, Auburn
Veldheer falls somewhere on the spectrum between Matt Kalil and Brandon Mosely, but the Raiders don't draft until the end of the third round. Mosely is projected to be drafted between the third and fourth round, making him a likely candidate for the Raiders at pick 95.
2009 Draft Selection: Matt Shaughnessy, DE, Wisconsin
Shaughnessy was a productive player in college with injury problems. Doesn't have elite speed off the edge, but he gains leverage and has a quick first step. Gets a bit upright at times. Excellent motor and uses his hands well to disengage from blockers.
2012 Similar Prospects: Cam Johnson, DE, Virginia & Tyrone Crawford, DE, Boise State
Round 4, Pick 129
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2011 Draft Selection: Chimdi Chekwa, CB, Ohio State
Chekwa was known for his ability to read and react in college. Smart and understands what he is seeing. He's also fast and coordinated with good hips and could be productive in the zone scheme the Raiders are going to deploy in 2012.
2012 Similar Prospect: Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt
The difference between the two appear to be Chekwa's speed and ability to play man versus Hayward's superior ball skills. Hayward might be more limited to zone at the pro level. If the Raiders want depth he'd be a nice fit.
2011 Draft Selection: Taiwan Jones, RB, Eastern Washington
Jones has elite speed and agility and is a home-run threat but isn't going to be able to run between the tackles with his thinly-built frame. Liability against the pass rush as he isn't a good blocker and had injury concerns.
2012 Similar Prospect: Chris Rainey, RB/WR, Florida
2010 Draft Selection: Jacoby Ford, WR, Clemson
Ford projected as a possible slot receiver but immediate kick return man. Demonstrated ability to fight for the ball. Playmaker with the ball in his hands and accelerates quickly. Not a polished route-runner and sometimes struggles against press when he can't use his speed.
2012 Similar Prospect: T.Y. Hilton, WR, Florida International
Round 5, Pick 148 & 168
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2011 Draft Selection: Denarius Moore, WR, Tennessee
Good speed and fights for the ball at the highest point. Solid route-runner but is still developing. Above-average blocker. Soft, natural hands. Can struggle at times with press. Thinly built.
2012 Similar Prospect: A.J. Jenkins, WR, Illinois
2010 Draft Selection: Travis Goethel, LB, Arizona State
Good instincts and awareness. Sheds blocks and take good angles to the ball-carrier. Limited athletically and has difficulty covering backs down the field in man coverage. Doesn't have the speed to play sideline-to-sideline. Solid fundamental tackler.
2012 Similar Prospect: Emmanuel Acho, LB, Texas
Round 6, Pick 189
2011 Draft Selection: DeMarcus Van Dyke, CB, Miami
Van Dyke's biggest highlight was a blazing fast 40-yard-dash at the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine. He didn't start at Miami. He's a thinly built corner with excess athleticism. He was probably over-drafted, but he's a nice developmental player.
2012 Similar Prospect: Buddy Jackson, CB, Pittsburgh
Jackson is a late-round prospect that could be poised to rise on draft day thanks to an excellent pro day. He has good length and workout numbers that the Raiders historically love.
Unlike Van Dyke, he was not afforded the opportunity to wow the general public with his speed at the combine. Like Van Dyke, Jackson wasn't a starter in college.
Jackson also adds kick-return ability.
2008 Draft Selection: Trevor Scott, DE, Buffalo
Highly productive in college. A tweener in the NFL. The Raiders were never able to get him to produce consistently at linebacker or defensive end.
2012 Similar Prospects: Tim Fugger, DE, Vanderbilt & Kaelin Burnett, DE, Nevada
Tough to know how the Raiders will like these tweeners to develop as rush linebackers from the strong-side linebacker position. They could go in the sixth round or later.
Kaelin Burnett was recently kind enough to answer a few questions about his visits, his workout numbers and his family life.