The 2013 NFL Scouting Combine has reached its conclusion, and with that, the Oakland Raiders continue their preparation in advance of April's NFL Draft.
The Raiders’ offseason needs have been well documented. They could certainly use help at pass-rusher, defensive tackle, cornerback, offensive line and wide receiver to name a few.
Coming away from this combine, as seems to be the case every year, several prospects have helped their draft stock in a big way. As such, the Raiders could be starting to get a much better idea of who should be selected to help rebuild this franchise.
Here are five NFL Draft prospects who have become that much more of a fit for the Oakland Raiders following their performances at this week’s Scouting Combine.
All combine results courtesy of NFL.com.
Finding a pass-rusher just may be the most glaring need this offseason for the Raiders, and should they look to address it in the first round, Dion Jordan could be their guy.
Jordan’s movement ability shone in coverage drills at the combine, continuing to prove that he just may be this draft’s pass rush prospect who can do it all. For the Raiders, whose defensive scheme for the future is yet to be determined, that versatility could certainly be put to use.
Due to the scheme that Jordan played in at Oregon, so often utilizing his athleticism to line up against receivers in the slot, we can consider his pass-rushing ability to be relatively untapped. He no doubt produced when called upon, but the sack numbers could have been even higher.
Dion Jordan would instantly step in as the Raiders’ top pass-rusher and would not be a liability when put into coverage like many others around the league are. This makes Jordan quite the interesting prospect for the Raiders to build their front seven around.
The Raiders' defensive tackle position is likely to look a lot different in 2013. Richard Seymour will not return, and Tommy Kelly’s contract makes him no guarantee to do so either.
Should the Raiders look to address the trenches in the first round, and not necessarily an outside pass-rusher, they should be looking the way of Florida DT Sharrif Floyd.
Floyd has been considered to be a top-10 talent all along, and an impressive combine performance may have solidified that even further. He performed well in all drills, but it was his speed and quickness in movement drills that were particularly impressive for a defensive tackle. Throw in a 4.92 40-time and his athleticism gets put on display that much more.
While it is the speedy defensive ends and linebackers who most often put up the big sack numbers, J.J. Watt and Geno Atkins have proved just how disruptive interior pass-rushers can be to opposing offenses. With Floyd, the Raiders would be getting an elite interior defensive line prospect who has the potential to do just that while providing a force in the running game as well.
With the first overall pick, the Kansas City Chiefs could very likely opt to select Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel. While Joeckel is widely being considered as the top offensive tackle in the draft, Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher is not far behind, if at all.
The offensive tackle is another very strong position in this draft that the Raiders could afford to improve upon, and Eric Fisher would be a great player to pair with Jared Veldheer at the position for years to come.
At the combine, it is tough to judge the performances of offensive lineman, but Fisher’s numbers in both the broad jump (9’8”) and 20-yard shuffle (4.44 seconds) were extremely impressive, and they speak heavily in favor of his explosiveness and athletic ability.
If the Raiders want to get back to having a dominant and powerful ground game, drafting Eric Fisher could go a long way toward to helping that.
The Raiders’ receiving corps was certainly not a fit for Greg Knapp’s West Coast offense in 2012, but Greg Olson’s vertical attack should help matters in 2013.
At the same time, the Raiders could still use a big target who has the ability to make plays over the middle of the field in addition to getting vertical. In the middle rounds, a player who can do just that is Tennessee Tech WR Da’Rick Rogers.
Rogers was one of if not the most consistent receiver at the combine, producing standout results in nearly all drills. He was among the top-performing wide receivers in the vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone drill, 20-yard shuttle and 60-yard shuttle.
A 4.52 40-time may be a little slower than some will look for in a wide receiver, but his body type and ability as a pass-catcher make up for a lack of that breakaway speed.
Da’Rick Rogers is the big-bodied physical target that the Raiders’ speedy receiving corps has been missing for quite some time. If they are able to select Rogers somewhere in the middle rounds, he would bring a new and much-needed dimension to their passing attack.
As last season showed, the Raiders are in significant need of playmakers at the cornerback position, and on the defense overall.
Tyrann Mathieu may come with his questions, but those would have been addressed during any meetings with team personnel at the combine. One thing is certain, and that is that Mathieu is a playmaker.
As far as his physical ability, questions coming into the combine surrounded his speed. His 4.41 40-time showed much better speed than anticipated, and that can’t be anything but beneficial to his draft stock.
Mathieu projects as a nickel corner, but as the NFL becomes more and more of a passing league, that is a position that we can now consider to be a starter, and a very important one at that.
Should Tyrann Mathieu become available to the Raiders at one of their picks in the third or fourth rounds, he would certainly be an option. His addition would improve the secondary in a number of ways, providing a much-needed playmaker to match up against the very productive slot receivers of today’s NFL.