It’s never quite too early to discuss the NFL Draft and no doubt Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie is already taking notes.
The yearly event will move to a different venue again in 2018. It will hail from AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys on April 26th through the 28th. While it’s early on, let’s dissect and breakdown college stars all while taking a sneak peek at some potential top 10 prospects that the Raiders could choose depending upon how the rest of the 2017 campaign plays out.
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
The current Heisman Trophy frontrunner could be just what the Raiders offense is looking for. Barkley can change the game in many phases. He is shifty, elusive, powerful, and dynamic in every sense of the word. Barkley can excel in the return game as well, running a 4.33 forty yard dash. He can score anytime and from anywhere on the field when the ball is in his grasp. He would be a home run hitter from day one if the Raiders decided to go this route provided the team has a high pick or Barkley somehow falls.
Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
McGlinchey stands at 6’7″ and weighs in at 291 pounds, a mammoth of a mountain to say the least. He could fill in at the right tackle position until Donald Penn retires or just hit the ground running at left tackle from day one.
He can handle difficult speed edge rushers and provides gaps constantly for the running backs. From the tape that I have watched of him, I would say he is being overhyped. He looks to get overpowered at the point of attack. In the Georgia loss, McGlinchey had a rough time by himself on the outside and was letting the Bulldog defenders get to his quarterback. This is a pick I would enjoy not to see McKenzie make, but time and coaching will be on the side of McGlinchey to improve in my opinion.
Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State
Khalil Mack can always use help on the defensive side of the football and Chubb can address that. Chubb has elite speed for a pass rusher and will arguably be considered as the top defender in the draft. He can disrupt the run game with his nifty, high-quality technique that he possesses at the line of scrimmage. It shows up almost everywhere in his highlights too.
He’s gotten to several household name quarterbacks including Florida State’s James Blackman, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson, and Notre Dame’s Brandon Wimbush. He is my personal favorite draft option for the Raiders at this point and will only obtain ample shots to continue to see his draft stock soar.
Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama
Raiders fans have been clamoring for a defensive back to be a shutdown playmaker at this position for a while now. Fitzpatrick is exactly that to a tee as it seems like every time that he touches the ball he somehow finds his way to the end zone.
In his career he has accumulated nine interceptions, 96 solo tackles and four touchdowns accounted for in his college career so far. Fitzpatrick has an uncanny eye for the ball that puts him in the position to do the magic that he does in Alabama’s dominant defense. The possibility of a healthy Gareon Conley and Fitzpatrick in the defensive backfield is an intriguing possibility, to say the least, if Fitzpatrick is there it will be hard to pass up on him.
Maurice Hurst Jr., DT, Michigan
Hurst was an unheralded recruit to mighty Michigan. He improved his play every single season under the coaching of Brady Hoke and Jim Harbaugh. Hurst is quick to separate at the snap and will disrupt the opponent’s game-plan in a hurry.
He is a little undersized but makes up for it with his hustle and determination to blow up the play in the backfield. Hurst would be an upgrade to the defensive tackle spot immediately and is someone the Silver & Black may covet in round one. A defensive line with Hurst alongside Mario Edwards Jr. and Eddie Vanderdoes would be impressive, to say the least.