It’s been a while Raider Nation, but the Raider Ramble has come back with a roundtable discussion. The writers here will be discussing various topics as the team quickly approaches the NFL draft next month.
Which prospect did you fall in love with during the combine?
If you talk about falling in love because of their skills, a couple come to mind, Zack Moss and Henry Ruggs III. If you meant background, I haven’t had the chance to research any of their back stories, but I hope I can do so soon and with the draft around the corner, many underdogs will get a profile. Going back to Moss and Ruggs III, they are the kind of players that show their talent on a consistent basis, not just the highlights. Even when they don’t get the ball, they hustle.
None, I don’t fall in love with prospects at the combine but one I loved all along that gained love from others after the combine is Chase Claypool. My Notre Dame bias may be showing but you can’t take away that they have produced some quality receivers over the years. Pre-Combine I kept hearing he’s 4th and 5th round talent. Post combine, I am hearing more like 3rd, maybe even late 2nd. Claypool fights for the ball, can break away once a pass is caught, and is not afraid to lay down a block. Let’s face it, if he showed greater speed on tape, he would have been mentioned with first round prospects. He could be the most versatile receiver in the draft, and for that, I see him going somewhere that needs a receiver big enough for the tight end role.
I was hesitant about liking A.J. Dillon prior to the Combine. He just seemed like another big back that could only be on the field for two downs and sometimes be used in pass protection. I honestly had no idea he was as much of an athlete as he is, between the workout and on-field drills; plus he carries his 245 pound frame well. It was incredible to see him catching the ball out of the backfield and making it look effortless. I fully believe he is the type of back that you can immediately put behind Jacobs and Richard and get great usage out of.
For me I’ve slowly gone all in on Patrick Queen, who posted impressive 40 and broad jump times. Queen has the makings of a quality linebacker who can play all over the defense. He isn’t quite Simmons’ level of athleticism but Queen is fast, can cover, and trusts both his brain and his eyes. Honestly I would feel pretty let down if the Raiders let him slip passed them at 19. He is probably the best pure-second level defender and could instantly become the best Raider MLB in a decade.
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Which FA would be a good analogue of that player?
Hard to say, I don’t see many wide receivers his size that like laying out the blocks like him. I would give him a comparison somewhere in between A.J. Green and Greg Olsen. Neither of those guys were the fastest, neither were afraid of blocking, both consistent threats, and both have potential to score at any point.
In terms of size and physicality, Dillon resembles LeGarrette Blount identically. Same height and weight but that’s where the similarities end. Blount, at this point in his career, is strictly a short yardage and red zone back with little bonus gained in the receiving dept. Dillon needs some work in pass protection, but in terms of receiving and spelling Jacobs for short yardage, he’s more than ideal.
This comparison isn’t 1:1 due largely to the age disparity but Patrick Queen reminds me a lot of a young Thomas Davis. When he came into the league Davis wasn’t quite as appreciated as he would become a later as the Panthers defense began to take off. He also shared the second level of defense with the all-world Luke Kuechly. However even before then Davis had become a fixture of in the middle of the Panthers defense and at times a borderline DPOY. He was known for his heady and clutch play coupled with the kind of leadership prowess that makes you spend a top 20 pick on a middle linebacker.
Ruggs III? A young D-Jax, but he won’t be hitting free agency (or so we think). Moss? The closest comparison and it’s not really that adequate would be the Titans’ Derrick Henry. Their demolishing running style can run defenses.
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