Oakland Raiders 2014 Draft: Aggregating Report Card Grades from Around the Web
In the most important draft to date for the rebuilding of the Oakland Raiders’ franchise, the reviews are quite positive.
General manager Reggie McKenzie was able to find value throughout the draft’s seven rounds, often selecting players who could have easily come off the board well before they did.
The potential impact Khalil Mack and Derek Carr could have is clear, but several others, including Gabe Jackson and Justin Ellis, will have opportunities to earn key roles early on as well.
Although we can’t say for sure how a particular group of rookies ranks until a number of years down the line, here is a look at the early grades from around the web for the Raiders’ 2014 draft class.
Chris Burke and Doug Farrar (Sports Illustrated)
Like many others, Sports Illustrated’s Chris Burke and Doug Farrar had the Raiders’ draft class among the top rated in the NFL:
Without question, this was one of Oakland’s best drafts top-to-bottom in recent memory. OLB Khalil Mack will be the face of the defense, while QB Derek Carr could carry the same mantle on offense. G Gabe Jackson, DT Justin Ellis and CB Keith McGill all ought to play early. Even Round 7 produced a couple of worthwhile projects in CB T.J. Carrie and S Jonathan Dowling. This is how your rebuild a team.
The most important part of this particular grade is the idea that the Raiders may have found new faces for both their defense and offense in Khalil Mack and Derek Carr, respectively.
No, Carr may not see the field right away, but nor does he have to with Matt Schaub in the fold.
However, Mack and a few others from this class should be instant-impact players and will have every opportunity to earn significant roles at their positions.
What likely earned the Raiders an “A” grade here was the depth of their class. Beyond the first few solid picks, Burke and Farrar like the potential of the late-round selections as well.
Pete Prisco (CBSSports.com)
CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco is more cautious in giving the Raiders too much praise for this year’s draft class, but he concedes that it could turn out very well if second-round pick Derek Carr pans out:
If they hit on second-round quarterback Derek Carr, this could be a huge draft for them. That’s a big if. First-round pick Khalil Mack will be a pass-rush star. Reggie McKenzie did a nice job with his first four picks.
As much as the Raiders are deservedly receiving top grades elsewhere, this evaluation makes some sense as well.
At this point, the Raiders’ 2014 draft class looks to be the best they have had in quite some time, and Derek Carr becoming their franchise quarterback could certainly confirm that.
Quarterbacks, even those taken early on in the draft, are never a sure thing.
Ideally, Carr will take over for Schaub in either 2015 or 2016 and be best prepared for the job as a result.
Rob Rang (CBSSports.com)
Like Prisco, CBS Sports’ Rob Rang gives the Raiders a decent grade but adds in some high praise for their first few selections:
The results are going to have to be seen on the field, of course, but there is reason for optimism in Oakland with a very intriguing class that demonstrated a great deal of patience from general manager Reggie McKenzie and his staff. Pass rusher Khalil Mack was a no-brainer at No. 5 overall and I would argue that quarterback Derek Carr was, as well.
Rang goes on to compliment the mid-round picks of Gabe Jackson and Justin Ellis as well, citing them as having “shocking athleticism” for wide-bodied interior linemen on either side of the ball.
In addition, he likes the length of the three defensive backs the Raiders selected later on in the draft, referring to cornerbacks Keith McGill and T.J. Carrie, as well as safety Jonathan Dowling.
Overall, it seems as though Rang very much likes the Raiders’ early picks, while seeing potential for many of their later selections due to physical traits as well.
Alessandro Miglio (Bleacher Report)
Bleacher Report’s Alessandro Miglio has high praise for the Raiders’ 2014 draft class:
After walking through the valley of the shadow of salary-cap death in recent years, general manager Reggie McKenzie emerged with the most money to spend in free agency this offseason.
The Raiders used that money to good effect, signing a litany of players to plug their many holes. There weren’t any big signings, however, which is a reflection of McKenzie’s preference to build through the draft.
He complemented a good free-agent period with an excellent draft.
Through his breakdown, Miglio compliments the Raiders’ patience throughout the process, where they continued to find value by simply letting the draft come to them.
Both Mack and Carr certainly could have been selected higher than they were, as could many of the Raiders’ mid- to late-round picks as well.
Overall, Miglio has the Raiders among his most highly graded teams—and for good reason, considering the value they were able to get throughout the draft.
Bryan Fischer (NFL.com)
Although he didn’t use the standard letter grades, NFL.com’s Bryan Fischer has positives reviews for the Raiders’ draft weekend:
The Raiders continued to draft well on Day 3. Ellis was a guy a few folks had higher on their boards and has all the physical attributes you want in a defensive tackle. McGill is a big defensive back who should help them out in the division. Despite all the picks after 200, Reggie McKenzie found some good players.
Fischer points out one thing that very much stood out in the Raiders’ selections this weekend: the apparent focus on size and physical attributes.
All over the field, the Raiders were able to add players with impressive size, length and physicality, and such a trend should help them become the kind of team they hope to be.
While a logical assumption was that the Raiders would trade down in several spots to add more picks, the value available when they were put on the clock likely outweighed such options most times throughout the draft.