Our boy Mel Kiper is back to lavish some more praise on the Oakland Raiders 2011 NFL Draft. In a recent piece on ESPN, Kiper picks out players from rounds 4-7 that he feels will make an immediate impact. Of course, his report is not without a certain amount of gloom as one of the reasons he feels Chekwa is a good candidate to make an impact is due to the imminent departure of Nnamdi Asomugha is leaving. Still, it is always good to see people say they like the chances of a fourth-rounder making an impact—even if that person is Mel Kiper.
The impact: Chekwa is a solid, physical corner and -- fittingly -- flashed a surprising amount of athleticism at the combine, something the Raiders surely took notice of before they picked him in Round 4. With Nnamdi Asomugha gone next year, Chekwa could fight for immediate playing time.
The hurdle: He'll have to beat out another rookie, Demarcus Van Dyke, who was taken in Round 3.
The Dyke hurdle is especially interesting given that Kiper is as high on Van Dyke as anyone. From everything I have seen it would seem that Chekwa is more pro ready. Also in the hurdle mix is last year's rookies, Walter McFadden and Jeremy Ware. And who knows, they may bring in another free agent to compete.