NFL

NFL Draft Review: Raiders take strong haul in AFC West

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The Sports Network
5/14/2014 12:56:31 PM
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Denver Broncos

1 (31) - Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State; 2 (56) - Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana; 3 (95) - Michael Schofield, OT, Michigan; 5 (156) - Lamin Barrow, OLB. LSU; 6 (207) - Matthew Paradis, OC, Boise State; 7 (242) - Corey Nelson, OLB, Oklahoma

Top Picks Analysis: The rich got a little richer as John Elway laced a pair of doubles that could turn out to be much more despite his relatively poor draft positioning.

Denver has totally revamped its shaky secondary in the offseason, first adding lockdown corner Aqib Talib and safety T.J. Ward in free agency before drafting talented Ohio State corner Bradley Roby with the 31st overall pick.

Roby had top-20 talent but his stock took a hit because he was inconsistent with the Buckeyes and had a high-profile off-the-field incident days before the draft.

Lengthy second-round wide receiver Cody Latimer shapes up as the potential replacement for the departed Eric Decker, while third-round offensive tackle Michael Schofield should provide immediate depth and could turn into a starter down the line if he hits the weight room hard.

Best Value Pick: Latimer needs to sharpen his route-running skills but he has a chance to do some special things with Peyton Manning throwing the ball to him.

"You just need to get in the hip pocket of Peyton Manning," NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said. "What a great situation for this young man. He's a height/weight specimen. He needs to learn how to run routes and separate from defenders."

Questionable Calls: Schofield is probably not athletic enough to play on the edge right now and he lacks the functional football strength to kick inside. There were better options on the board for Elway.

Summary: The Broncos helped themselves at two need positions (corner and wide receiver) and generally scored well on the value meter throughout the process.

FINAL GRADE: B

Undrafted rookie free agent signings: DE Kenny Anunike, Duke; OLB Shaquil Barrett, Colorado State; RB Kapri Bibbs, Colorado State; WR Isaiah Burse, Fresno State; P Steven Clark, Auburn; RB Brennan Clay, Oklahoma; DT Mister Cobble, Michigan State; WR Bennie Fowler, Michigan State; WR Greg Hardin, North Dakota State; DE Greg Latta, Purdue; QB Bryn Renner, North Carolina; OT Aslam Sterling, Kansas; CB Jordan Sullen, Tulane; RB Juwan Thompson, Duke; CB Louis Young, Georgia Tech

Kansas City Chiefs

1 (23) - Dee Ford, DE, Auburn; 3 (87) - Phillip Gaines, CB, Rice; 4 (124) - De'Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon; 5 (163) - Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia; 6 (193) - Zach Fulton, OG, Tennessee; 6 (200) - Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, OT, McGill;

Top Picks Analysis: Despite a desperate need for speed at the wide receiver position Kansas City went edge pass rusher at No. 23 overall, taking Auburn defensive end Dee Ford.

On paper Ford projects as an outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense the Chiefs play but Kansas City already has a pair of stars at the position -- Tamba Hali and Justin Houston.

The Chiefs didn't have a second-round pick and addressed depth at the cornerback position in the third by adding lengthy Rice cornerback Phillip Gaines, who should fit in as an option behind starters Sean Smith and Brandon Flowers, although Flowers is reportedly on the trading block.

Best Value Pick: Fourth-round running back De'Anthony Thomas shapes up as a nice replacement for Dexter McCluster, who left for Tennessee in free agency. The 5-foot-9 Thomas could be an explosive third-down back and an excellent return specialist.

Questionable Calls: At just 6-foot-2 and 252 pounds there is no way Ford can play the five-technique in the 3-4 so he's going to be stuck behind both Houston, who is signed through next season, and Hali, who is locked up through 2015, for now. A speedy wide receiver would have been more helpful, at least for 2014.

Summary: Ford and Gaines probably won't help all that much until a year or two down the line. The Chiefs seemed to do better in the middle rounds where they got their replacement for McCluster in Thomas, and nabbed a solid developmental quarterback prospect in Aaron Murray.

FINAL GRADE: B-

Undrafted rookie free agent signings: RB Charcandrick West, Abilene Christian; WR Albert Wilson, Georgia State; RB James Baker, Idaho; OL Ben Gottschalk, SMU; DB David Van Dyke, Tennessee State; S Daniel Sorensen, BYU; RB Joey Demartino, Utah State; LB Ben Johnson, Tennessee-Martin; C Cole Pensick, Nebraska; K Cairo Santos, Tulane; WR Darryl Surgent, Louisiana Lafayette; S Kacy Rodgers, Miami; C Vyncent Jones, Utah; QB Jon Jennings, Saginaw Valley State; DT Kona Schwenke, Notre Dame; G Stetson Burnett, Tulsa; DT Kenneth Carter, Auburn; DE Shawn Shupperd, Eastern Kentucky; CB Tevrin Brandon, Monmouth; OL Will Latu, Abilene Christian; LB Brandon Denmark, Florida A&M

Oakland Raiders

1 (5) - Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo; 2 (36) - Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State; 3 (81) - Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State; 4 (107) - Justin Ellis, DT, Louisiana Tech; 4 (116) - Keith McGill, CB, Utah; 7 (219) - Travis Carrie, CB, Ohio; 7 (235) - Shelby Harris, DE, Illinois State; 7 (247) - Jonathan Dowling, SS, Western Kentucky

Top Pick Analysis: The Raiders are almost always wild cards when it comes to the NFL Draft but the organization took a far more conventional approach in 2014.

Oakland didn't waver at No. 5 overall when Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack, universally regarded as one of the best four players in the draft, fell to them. The Raiders certainly had bigger needs like quarterback but general manager Reggie McKenzie wasn't spooked by that and stayed true to his board.

Oakland was rewarded for its astute work early in the draft when signal caller Derek Carr fell to the second round and was still available at No. 36 overall.

"A lot of teams thought he was the best pure thrower in draft," NFL Network Draft analyst Mike Mayock said of Carr.

In the third round the Raiders were able to bolster the interior of their offensive line by selecting Mississippi State guard Gabe Jackson, who has a very high football IQ and projects as a starter early in his career.

Best Value Pick: Keith McGill, a fourth-round pick out of Utah, is a Brandon Browner-sized cornerback who could excel in press-man coverage,

Questionable Calls: There really wasn't much to quibble about in this draft but if you have to take issue with something, look to the seventh round where defensive end Shelby Harris probably wasn't a draftable commodity.

Summary: McKenzie seems to be making the most of his third and possibly final chance to turn things around in Oakland. Mack was in the conversation to be the No. 1 overall pick while Carr is a solid developmental prospect at QB and Jackson should be a rather useful addition.

DRAFT GRADE: A

Undrafted rookie free agent signings: FB Karl Williams, Utah; WR Mike Davis, Texas; TE Scott Simonson, Assumption; RB George Atkinson, Notre Dame; WR D.J. Coles, Virginia Tech; TE Jake Murphy, Utah; OT Danny Kistler, Montana; WR Noel Grigsby, San Jose State' LB Carlos Fields, Winston Salem State; DE Austin Flynn, Arkansas; QB Rob Henry, Purdue

San Diego Chargers

1 (25) - Jason Verrett, CB, TCU; 2 (50) - Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB, Georgia Tech; 3 (89) Chris Watt, OG, Notre Dame; 5 (165) - Ryan Carrethers, NT, Arkansas State; 6 (201) - Marion Grice, RB, Arizona State; 7 (240) - Tevin Reese, WR, Baylor

Top Picks Analysis: The Chargers went into this draft hoping to improve on their 29th-ranked and AFC- worst pass defense.

TCU cornerback Jason Verrett is undersized at 5-foot-9 but shapes up as a Captain Munnerlyn-type, a player who battles enough to compete on the outside during early downs before moving into the slot and becoming a difference maker on obvious passing downs.

San Diego moved up in the second round to take Georgia Tech outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu, a high-motored edge player with significant pass rushing upside.

In the third round the Chargers took heady Notre Dame offensive guard Chris Watt, a very experienced college player who is a great technician and should develop into a solid starter.

Best Value Pick: San Diego needed a true nose tackle and was able to get one in the fourth round by taking Arkansas State's Ryan Carrethers, a 340-pound, NFL-Strong two-down player.

Questionable Calls: The Chargers made four really sound picks before reaching a bit in the later rounds. Seventh-round wide receiver Tevin Reese for instance is not really a legitimate NFL prospect.

Summary: Chargers general manager Tom Telesco didn't have a ton of picks to work with but he generally made sound, prudent decisions when it was his turn.

FINAL GRADE: B

Undrafted rookie free agent signings: S Alden Darby, Arizona State; DE Colton Underwood, Illinois State; DT Tenny Palepoi, Utah; DT Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, Boise State; TE Mike Flacco, New Haven; WR Javontee Herndon, Arkansas; RB D.J. Adams, Portland State; CB Greg Ducre, Washington; WR Brelon Chancellor, North Texas; OT Ian White, Boston College; P Chase Tenpenny, Nevada; OT Jeremiah Sirles, Nebraska; LB Alvin Scioneaux, Wofford; G D.J. Johnson, New Mexico; CB Chris Davis, Auburn; WR Torrence Allen, West Texas A&M; WR Micah Hatfield, Oregon State

Khalil Mack (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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