It appears most of us like the idea of going offensive line with the Raiders first pick of the 2011 NFL Draft. They certainly need it. Marcus Cannon would be awesome, but will likely be off the board. Stefen Wisniewski would be solid, but I am worried he is not quite the "bully" the Raiders O-line needs.
The Raiders need a mauler. This is a line that is transitioning from a zone blocking scheme to a more power based scheme, and now they need the players to fill it. Someone that is going to wear opponents down and out. Someone they can run behind on 3rd and 1 and know they will get a push.
As amazing as the Raiders run game was in 2010 they were only ranked 15th in power run success by Football Outsiders. What is a successful power run you ask? Well...
"Percentage of runs on third or fourth down, two yards or less to go, that achieved a first downor touchdown. Also includes runs on first-and-goal or second-and-goal from the two-yard line or closer. This is the only statistic on this page that includes quarterbacks."
To be a bully, the Raiders need to improve in the power runs, and to improve in power runs they need a mauler.
We know Carlisle isn't that guy, and Loper is so much not that kind of guy that the Raiders ran to Carlisle's side on power run situations when Loper was playing. Maybe Bruce Campbell will become that guy, but no one knows as only the coaches have seen him in regular football situations against NFL players.
In light of this I went in search of a prospect that would offer a little more bully than Wisniewski, and a guy that still projects to be available and a solid value at No 48.
Who does this quote remind you of?
"I’m a hybrid at this point," said this division II offensive tackle in an article by Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. "Immediately, teams will be getting a guy that can play multiple positions. They’ll be getting a guy that tries to out-work everyone out there—rookie or veteran—and a guy that’s always playing with a chip on his shoulder."
If you said Jared Veldheer then you thought the same thing I did. It is actually Lehigh's Will Rackley. Rackley started the last 40 games for Lehigh and surrendered only three sacks. Like Veldheer, he was a man among boys.
Due to questions about how his game would transfer from division II to the NFL Rackley was really flying under scouts radar. He cleared a path for himself on that radar after the East-West Shrine Game. Here is Joel Welser's, of fftoolbox.com, take on his Shrine Game:
"Rackley needed to prove that he could hang with the FBS players at the East-West Shrine Game. He did just that and his stock started soaring through the roof. He looked a lot better than many superstar linemen."
The 6'3", 309 pound lineman then followed up the Shrine Game with a good combine, and a solid pro day. A pro day that was attended by many teams, but not the Raiders. Rackley pulled off 29 reps on the bench, ran the 40 in 5.2 and had a 27" vert.
Rackley has since been rocketing up draft boards. An AFC Scout told Mehta in the above linked article that "Rackley can be a difference maker right now."
NFL "expert" Charlie Casserly recently said Rackley was a second rounder.
While the possibility exists that Rackley maybe able to play tackle in the NFL his stature probably best suits him for Guard. At just over 33" his arm length would probably doom him at tackle.
I checked in with the guys at SidelineScouting for some of their awesome broken English scouting info. There is more to it, but I'll paste some of the highlights.
Positives: Nice pop in his punch but winds up a little... Very solid run blocker... Does a good job controlling defender once he locks on... Can get to the second level... Good strength especially in the upper body... Hard worker, gives a good effort... Good finisher, stays on his blocks until the whistle... Mean streak.
They saved my favorite for last "mean streak." We need a little 'tude on this line. The ability to get to the second level is a nice bonus for a guy that is his size. Now for some of the...
Negatives: Inconsistent knee bend, gets a little too upright... Not very explosive, lacks any real suddenness to his game... Doesn't fire out into his blocks...
The inconsistent knee bend is not a concern as coaches should be able to hammer that problem right out. The lack of explosion is the only concern here. So we have a guy with good "pop" but it is not as sudden as we'd like.
That lack of explosion means Rackley is not the ideal "bully" type, but he is pretty close. Besides his strength he has solid technique and great versatility. He even practiced as a center in college. I am on the Rackley bandwagon. How 'bout you?