The Screw is back. Now that I've moved into an apartment that has actual wi-fi (as opposed to my old caravan) and I got a new job where I'm in an office, I actually have some spare time these days.
I've been using it to do some research into draft prospects. However, I'm going to start off here with the one guy I will be pimping non stop from here to the draft - my boy Jesse ("@ThaMonstar") Williams.
FULL DISCLAIMER: Obviously part of my love for Jesse is cause he's an Aussie boy, and that too an Indigenous Australian from the Torres Strait Islands. I won't go into the history of European treatment of the First Australians here - a Google search answers any questions you have but needless to say it's a similarly story to that of the Native Americans.
I have some Koori ancestry and my daughter has a Torres Strait Islander grandma who was part of the Stolen Generations (a must Google, even though it makes me sick inside as an Australian). Either way, for obvious reasons I want to see him do well wherever he ends up. (Even if he's on another AFC West team - I'll support him but hate the team. I will only buy his jersey if he doesn't end up on a Raider rival though).
Now that I've said that, let's look at Jesse Williams the footballer.
What does he do well?
Williams has been the rock of that amazing Bama D-line for the last couple of seasons. He's played nose tackle and 5-technique end in a 3-4 and some DT in a 4-3. This versatility has gotta be something NFL scouts and GMs love.He can play all those positions and possibly even DE in a 4-3 on rush downs.
He may be one of the best run stopping D-linemen in this draft. Even though he's only played football for about seven years his gap discipline and sucking up blockers and space is terrific - he knows how to use that big body.
He's also not afraid of the dirty work, which is something we need on the Raiders defensive line. The DL is going to undergo a lot of change this off-season but one of the things that needs to happen is that we get some guys on the line who are happy to toil away in the trenches. Right now we have too many guys who look for the headline play on the pass rush but don't put in so much effort on run plays.
What needs to improve?
At this stage, he's not an elite pass rusher. Nick Saban usually moves him to nose tackle or 4-3 DT on passing downs - while he generates some movement he's not Ndamukong Suh from the inside. At first he's probably only going to play on run downs in the NFL until he gets coached up in his rush moves.
Williams also doesn't put up great stats, partly for this reason - but this isn't that bad as it keeps his draft stock lower than it should be.
At this stage, he also needs to continue to work on his technique. While he's pretty damn solid for a dude who's only played 7 years of football he's no JJ Watt. NFL coaches will get him up to speed on that though.
Where will he go?
I'm hearing anywhere from late first to mid third. He'll definitely be off the board by Day 2 barring some major fall. My guess is he goes around the middle of the second.
What are the Raiders' chances?
Without a second round pick I have my doubts. However, I'm sure Reggie and the scouting team have their eye on him given how pathetic our run defense has been. I'd love to see us trade down from our No.1 pick, get Te'o or one of the pass rushers in the first and then draft Jesse.