Time to get excited Raider Nation with the NFL Combine starting today, February 27th, where we’ll get the first glimpse of potential draft targets.
Let’s focus on the CB position and who to look out for in various rounds of this year’s draft. It’s no secret the Oakland Raiders are on the lookout for reinforcements in the secondary so here’s a little taste of a few prospects to keep an eye on.
Josh Jackson, Iowa
First up is a potential early first-round pick in the shape of 6’1″ 192 pound Josh Jackson who spent three years playing for Iowa in the Big Ten conference.
Former Texas’ Dallas Lake High School star Jackson used to catch balls on the offense at WR but saw a change in spring 2015, switching to CB and last year improved dramatically.
Not only is Jackson a very exciting athlete he has all the attributes of a starting corner in the NFL, a quick strong runner who excels in coverage he could be one to watch in this years NFL combine.
- Games – 29
- Tackles – 66 (52 Solo) (14 Ast)
- Interceptions – 8 (2 touchdowns)
Denzel Ward, Ohio State
Another player to watch at the combine is Ward who played three years for the same college program as Gareon Conley, also in the Big Ten conference.
An average sized CB who makes up for his 5’10” 190 lb frame with undoubted athletic ability as well as a physical attitude, Ward is likely to wow fans at this years combine.
Likened to Chris Harris Jr. of the Broncos, Ward possesses tremendous footwork to turn and can maneuver quickly to adjust his body positioning.
Slight concerns are his lightweight frame and potential mismatches in size but as for physicality, he can most certainly mix it up.
- Games – 29
- Tackles – 67 (47 Solo) (20 Ast)
- Interceptions – 2
Isaiah Oliver, Colorado
Like Jackson, Oliver started out as a WR before converting to CB for Colorado and has excelled since he made the switch.
Oliver’s father Muhammad played cornerback for Oregon and was a world-class decathlete, he also spent five seasons in the NFL.
Many scouts and fans are high on Oliver. He has the size, speed, tenacity, and durability to be an instant success in the NFL.
Standing at 6’1″ 190 lbs, Oliver has long arms and explosive speed helping him cover ground quickly and allowing himself time to adjust.
Although Oliver has most of the tools to be a success, there is still room to work on his tackling and he needs to add that edge to his game to really stand out above the rest.
- Games – 31
- Tackles – 82 (61 Solo) (21 Ast)
- Interceptions – 3
Quenton Meeks, Stanford
Finishing up the list is the son of a former defensive coach, Ron Meeks, who was the defensive coordinator of the Colts in their Super Bowl XLI victory.
Meeks’ father coached in the NFL for 11 years meaning his son will be well prepared for the life as an NFL footballer.
But just because his father proved a success as a coach, can the same be said for Meeks as a player in today’s game?
Well, the 6’2″ 205 lb corner certainly can go higher on draft boards with a good showing at the combine. He has many ingredients to be a successful corner in the NFL, he doesn’t panic in coverage, has good lateral movement, and was penalized zero times in 2017.
Adding to that list is tackling; no surprise here as the son of a former successful coach to his son’s position, very efficient, often using good force then wrapping up, stopping runners quickly.
- Games – 37
- Tackles – 115 (78 Solo) (37 Ast)
- Interceptions – 7 (2 touchdowns)
All of these players are most certainly going to gather attention at the combine with many teams on the lookout for secondary reinforcements.
You can watch the NFL combine on NFL Network starting February 27th and also the Raiders/49ers coin toss on Friday, March 2nd to determine the 9th or 10th pick in the first round.
*All stats via SRCFB