Darius Rush, CB, Las Vegas Raiders Prospect (Photo by The Draft Network)

NFL Draft: Raiders Must Target These 5 Senior Bowl Defenders

The Reese’s Senior Bowl is on the front burner as the Las Vegas Raiders prepare for a busy month of February. This past week, many of college football’s top senior talents convened in Mobile, Alabama. While there, many standout defensive prospects increased their draft stock. Here are five defenders who the Silver and Black should have interest in April’s draft.

Will McDonald IV, Edge Rusher, Iowa State

Iowa State’s 6-foot-4, 240-pound edge rusher has brought the juice to Mobile, Alabama. Without a shadow of a doubt, he is the event’s best pass rusher. He has consistently flashed elite athletic ability all week long. However, his lethal spin move is the most impressive part of his pass-rush arsenal.

As you can see above, even against the better tackles – he finds a way to get home to the quarterback. So, while he may not be a slam-dunk first-round prospect – he would be more than a viable option in the second round.

Keeanu Benton, Defensive Tackle, Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s 6-foot-4, 310-pound defensive tackle has turned as many heads as Will McDonald IV- if not more. The highlight of Benton’s game is his sheer power. All week long, the opposing offensive linemen stated that he was the most challenging opponent to block.

A relentless motor, strong hands, and a great physical frame on the interior defensive line can go a long way. Benton proved he is your traditional nose tackle and a player who can rush the passer. When you defeat blocks this quickly, the sky is the limit.

Daiyan Henley, Linebacker, Washington State

The Raiders were down to bringing in players off the street – literally, to play the linebacker position at the end of last season. However, with questions surrounding the team’s LB corps, a talent from the Washington State Cougars has been turning heads. The 6-foot-1, 230-pound Daiyan Henley is one of the event’s best athletes at the position. As a former collegiate wide receiver, Henley possesses above-average athletic ability and is a natural talent in pass coverage.

As you can see above, he possesses good lateral movement and change of direction when mirroring receivers in coverage. Additionally, as a former receiver, his mental processing for the linebacker position is heightened due to his previous experiences. As a result, he could be a solid addition to the Raiders to help cover Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.

Darius Rush, Cornerback, South Carolina

The South Carolina Gamecocks had one of the most potent cornerback tandems in 2022. While teammate Cam Smith is a bonafide first-round selection, Darius Rush has made a solid case to be considered. Throughout the week’s practices, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound defensive back turned heads in every possible way. With great arm length and a great physical frame, Rush consistently flashed his above-average ball skills – breaking up (or intercepting) pass after pass.

The Raiders are in dire need of a boundary corner who is both athletic and can make plays. They don’t need to look any further than the Gamecocks standout.

Sydney Brown, Safety, Illinois

Last but certainly not least is Illinois’ safety, Sydney Brown. The top safety position for the event was debatable going into the week. However, the 5-foot-10, 215-pound safety played with an emphasis on play strength and ball skills.

As you can see above, he is a player with no fear of assisting with run support. Additionally, he possesses above-average range and athletic ability from the safety position, which helps him make plays on the football consistently in coverage. For the Raiders, pairing him with Tre’von Moehrig would benefit the back end of the team’s secondary.

East-West Shrine Bowl: Defensive prospects show out on Raiders’ home turf

*Top Photo: The Draft Network

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