Breaking down the Round 2 and Round 3 options for the Oakland Raiders that meet the criteria learned from Reggie McKenzie’s draft history.
In case you missed it, the third annual edition of “Predicting Reggie McKenzie’s draft board” was recently published here on Only 1 Nation. The project is quite extensive, in which the concept is to examine McKenzie’s draft history with the Oakland Raiders, identify size and athletic thresholds at each position and use that to create a big board for the draft class.
This year’s edition — unlike in the past — included Pro Day data, and the final product culminated in a big board of 125 total prospects that checked every single box at their respective position. Data was gathered for 1,058 players in total, so the final draft board eliminated nearly 90% of the draft class.
Here is the board, which again includes every prospect that meets the minimum size and athletic thresholds at their respective position.
To narrow things down even further, we’re going to take these 125 prospects and break them down into round-by-round targets for the Raiders. There will be three articles, broken up exactly the same as the draft schedule — Round 1 on its own, Round 2 and 3 together, Rounds 4 through 7 together.
This article is for Round 2 and Round 3. These projections were found using a combination of www.draftscout.com and www.nfl.com.
Let’s get started.
Like we did with Round 1, below are the prospects that did not fail any size or athletic thresholds for their position that are projected to go in the second round.
- Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
- Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis
- Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State
- Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota St.
- Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
- Chukwuma Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan
- Rasheem Green, DE, USC
- Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio State
- Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford
- Nathan Shepherd, DT, Fort Hays State
- Lorenzo Carter, LB, Georgia
- Uchenna Nwosu, LB, USC
- Obo Okoronkwo, LB, Oklahoma
- Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
Sony Michel is a fantastic running back, but the McKenzie m.o. has been drafting RBs in the fifth round or later — Latavius Murray, DeAndre Washington, Elijah Hood, and even Jalen Richard as a UDFA. With Marshawn Lynch coming back and with Gruden expecting him to carry a full workload, they may hold off on adding a running back this early in the draft, or maybe this year all together.
If the Raiders want to address wide receiver in the second round, Anthony Miller is a potential game changer. He’s a dynamic player that is a threat to score anytime he’s on the field, and the idea of him replacing Seth Roberts in the slot is a dream. But the Raiders love Seth, and in terms of replacing him, I’ll believe it when I see it.
Gesicki is one of the best athletes in the entire class, and he may have tested himself into the first round. But with Jared Cook on board for another year, tight end may not be in the plans for this offseason. So that should rule out Goedert as well.
Kolton Miller also won over plenty of fans at the combine thanks to his athletic testing, but his film is rough. He gets beat way more often than his size and athletic testing says he should, so you are picking him more for his athletic traits than anything else. If they do go tackle at this spot, Okorafor is the better pick.
Between Green, Hubbard, Phillips and Shepherd, this could be a good spot to bolster the defensive line. Depending on what happens in Round 1, Shepherd could be really intriguing here. He’s a small school guy, but he did exactly what you wanted there, and that’s dominate his competition. His draft range varies between the second and third round, but don’t bank on him being available for the Raiders in Round 3. He’s my second favorite option of everyone listed.
Along these same lines, an “honorable mention” goes to Taven Bryan. A phenomenal athlete at defensive tackle who only came in nine pounds shy of the weight threshold at the position. So like Maurice Hurst in the first round, Bryan should be in consideration in the second round if he’s available.
Between Nwosu, Okoronkwo and Carter at linebacker, Carter is my preference. Nwosu and Okoronkwo project more as pure edge rushers, so if Harold Landry or another player doesn’t come off the board for the Raiders in Round 1, either could be interesting picks here to fill a need. However, this may be a bit of reach for both players this early in the second round.
Carter could be the versatile player the Raiders are looking for in the second round. He can play in a 3-4 or a 4-3, serve as a situational pass rusher and be dropped into coverage. He needs to bulk up, but there is a lot to like about his game. He is one of my favorite options in the second round.
That brings me to Isaiah Oliver, my favorite option for the second round. He is good enough that he might not be there for the Raiders when they are back on the clock, and perhaps good enough to sneak into the end of Round 1. But if he available at pick 41, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better option.
Oliver is above six feet tall with long arms above 33″, which fits both the McKenzie and Gruden profile at cornerback, and it also fits what Guenther has usually worked with. He’s got 4.5 speed and is plenty a good athlete, and he has a well-rounded game with few weaknesses. Rashaan Melvin will hold down the CB1 spot for this season, but the long-term combination of Conley and Oliver as the top two cornerbacks is quite intriguing.
In terms of my preference out of all of these names, Oliver is first and Shepherd is second. Probably Anthony Miller and Lorenzo Carter after that.
Moving into Round 3, there are 12 prospects projected here that didn’t fail a single threshold for their position.
- Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
- Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame
- Joe Noteboom, OT, TCU
- Alex Cappa, OT, Humboldt State
- Kemoko Turay, DE, Rutgers
- Josh Sweat, DE, Florida State
- Chad Thomas, DE, Miami
- Jerome Baker, LB, Ohio State
- Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas
- Micah Kiser, LB, Virginia
- Darius Leonard, LB, South Carolina St.
- Quenton Meeks, CB, Stanford
Similar to the explanation of Sony Michel in the second round, we’re in the same boat with Chubb if he is available in Round 3. He put together a fantastic college career, even bouncing back from a brutal injury, but the Raiders may not be in the market for a running back until the later rounds –if at all. This class is also plenty deep at this position, so there won’t be any shortage of options even if they hold off for a bit longer.
Equamineous St. Brown seems like a player that is going to be a much better pro than he was in college — at least in terms of production. St. Brown is an ideal height/weight/speed guy, checking in at 6’4″ 214 with a 4.48 40-yard dash time. Poor QB play hurt his numbers quite a bit at Notre Dame, but he is a good route runner with great hands and should develop into a quality WR2 at the next level. But like with running backs, there has only been one instance in which McKenzie drafted a wide receiver before the 6th round.
At offensive tackle, my opinion is that Joe Noteboom out of TCU is a much better pick in the third round than Miller or Okorafor is in the second round.
Noteboom played most of his college career at right tackle, but he made the transition to the left side look easy, starting every game there in his last season. He’s better in pass protection than he is in the run game, and would add some needed competition immediately on the right side of the line.
Another tackle, Alex Cappa, might be a more realistic target. He’s better against the run than he is against the pass so some are pegging him as a guard at the next level, but if that’s the case, you know McKenzie loves versatility along the offensive line.
Sweat, Turay and Thomas are a trio of defensive lineman that all bring something to the table. Sweat was one of the biggest standouts at the combine, and he’s probably played himself into the second round — maybe even the end of the first. But if he’s here, there is little doubt he’ll be the best player on the board.
Turay is a pretty good athlete that doesn’t have the production to match. He’s still relatively new to football and it definitely shows on film, but picking a player in Round 3 that may be a bit of project is fine starting in this round.
Thomas could be the Denico Autry replacement. He’s 6’5″ and 281 pounds, and he accrued 4.5 sacks in each of his last two seasons at Miami while also racking up double-digit tackles for loss in both seasons. Guenther typically had big DEs on his line in Cincy, so Thomas would be a great way to begin to replicate that. He’s a bit raw but he’d be a pick I’d be on board with.
There are four linebackers in this group — Jefferson, Kiser, Baker and Leonard — and that is the order I would rank them in terms of my preference for the Raiders.
Jefferson is projected to go in Rounds 3-4 on NFL.com but that seems to crazy to me. He should absolutely go in the second, and I think he’d be a very good pick there. But I’m using NFL.com round projections to keep everything uniform, so that’s why he’s included here. Malik has all the tools you could want in a linebacker, and he showed that while at Texas.
But in the likely event Jefferson is gone by this point, Kiser is my next favorite option. He was a tackling machine at Virginia, and the Raiders need a player with that meets that description. He also could serve as a situational pass rusher, which is a bonus for someone who could be had in the third round.
I’d be okay with the pick of Jerome Baker, but wouldn’t love it. Darius Leonard is a pretty good athlete but he really doesn’t seem like he knows what he’s doing out there. He gets lost a lot on the field, or he easily gets caught up in traffic and washed out of plays.
That brings us to the last name on the list, Quenton Meeks. At 6’1″ 209, Meeks impressed with a 4.49 40-yard dash time at the combine. He’s got great instincts and his discipline is among the best in this class at the position — he didn’t commit a single penalty in 2017. He’s never going to be a high-level man-to-man cover guy, but he can hold his own in press coverage and is quality tackler to boot. Meeks is also a candidate to transition to safety.
Out of my favorite third round options, I’d rank them in terms my preference as follows:
Sweat, Jefferson, Meeks, Kiser, Thomas.
Stay tuned for similar content for Rounds 4 through 7.