The day has come for college football’s premier athletes to embark on their respective journey to the NFL.
Indianapolis will host the NFL Scouting Combine where all these players will try to make more money for themselves in front of the whole world. They will be analyzed to such a large degree in order to see who is willing to go the distance and then some for the decision makers who, in a way, help control their bright future. Here’s the latest take on who the Raiders will be discussing come late April in Dallas.
Round 1 (9 or 10) – Marcus Davenport, EDGE, UTSA
Pros: Powerful defender who is violently quick off the snap. Bulls through offensive lineman with relative ease. Barring any mishaps, Davenport will blow up with outlandish stats at the combine. He possesses all the correct tools to be a superior talent as an edge rusher. Davenport stands in at a prototypical size, 6’6″ 260 lbs., so he’ll more than likely be used in a three-point stance and standing up on the outside on different downs. He’s the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year with 8.5 sacks, 55 tackles and one memorable Senior Bowl in which the Raiders met the young man. CBS Sports is really high on the small school prospect as noticed in this article.
Cons: As with all little-known programs competition is everything. The Road Runners faced not so stiff opponents for most of his time in San Antonio. The other stereotype is that he will be a raw product. Davenport will need time to adjust to the pro game to fully hone his unlimited skills.
Raiders Fit: Imagine a second Khalil Mack to pair with him. With two perennial stout ends, offensive tackles would have nightmares facing the Silver & Black on a weekly basis. If Davenport pans out, the Raiders defense could lead the league in sacks, while causing the most havoc against quarterbacks.
Round 2 (41) – Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
Pros: Bryan lives in the weight room with a J.J. Watt-style work ethic. Will turn out to be one of the strongest prospects at the combine for his gym prowess. Plays with an uncanny strength and unbridled enthusiasm that few possess.
Bryan bull rush through opposing blockers to blow up plays for his fellow defenders. Rare power at the snap of the ball. The underclassmen can spark the whole defense with his passion for being a factor that teams have to be on notice for.
Cons: Tends to get complacent at moments. Hasn’t played the game for as long as others. Not a guy who gets many sacks. He’s also undersized compared to the wealth of larger lineman in the league. Will need optimal coaching techniques to fully utilize his overwhelming potential.
Raiders Fit: If the Raiders stock up on the defensive line, they can be unblockable. It would improve the defensive unit altogether and make them championship caliber if all pans out. Offenses wouldn’t know who to double team between Davenport, Mack, Bryan, amongst others.
Round 3 (75) – Deontay Burnett, WR, USC
Pros: Pretty much catches everything thrown his way. Finds ways to get open in coverage. He doubled his production as a junior and can make something out of nothing. Burnett is also only 20 years young, touting him as one of the youngest talents that are draftable. Always shows up on the tape because he just simply has a nose for the football. Has the acceleration to break it at any time.
Cons: Only listed at 170 pounds, which he must address. He’ll have to learn to block better with his short stature as well. Can struggle when matched up on taller defensive backs. His best usage in the NFL will probably be as a slot receiver.
Raiders Fit: The Raiders desperately need an offensive weapon like this that is reliable to catch anything. He would be an instantaneous upgrade over Seth Roberts in the slot because of his abilities when the rock is in his hands. Carr and Burnett could prosper together for years to come.
Round 4 (110) – Jeremy Reaves, DB, South Alabama
Pros: This dude can lay the lumber with a fearless mentality. Reaves can stop the run instantly because he ‘s a vicious hitter. Over his time as a Jaguar, Reaves finished with 300 tackles, 20.5 for loss, eight interceptions, 22 passes broken up, and eight fumbles forced. Can line up as a hybrid at safety or corner and has very formidable coverage skills. Reaves is a tackling machine that knows where to be on the field at all times. He can be the leader in the back-end because of the way he brings it every time he laces up the cleats.
Cons: Did not get a combine invite which is airily odd. He’s only 5’11” and 185 lbs., which means he must get to the gym and bulk up. Played on a bad team that got blown out a lot in 2017. The level of where Reaves called home will be questioned, but scouts will be forced to watch more tape on him because of all his experience for South Alabama.
Raiders Fit: This athlete looks like a Raider already. He would be a defensive playmaker that the Raiders were missing last season. Reaves is a student of the game and can bring that knowledge to a club that can use it immediately.
The combine is not organized football, but at least it is something for the diehards to talk about at the water cooler the next day. It’s going to be a fun couple of days in Indy with the heart of the offseason finally arriving.