A frantic run to the iPhone. That's what can best describe what Reggie McKenzie and his executives did as soon as Mr. Irrelevant was cashed in. And boy has it paid off. Oakland is absolutely killing it, on paper at least, in undrafted free agency.
The prize gem of all is Pittsburgh G Lucas Nix. I had Nix mocked to the Raiders at the end of Round 5 for a while (and he had a 4th round grade on many boards), and to get him in UDFA was an amazing steal. I'll go out on a limb and say Lucas Nix could be starting at tackle or guard at some point this season. Maybe a bit bold, but I like the experience and toughness.
Another huge pickup was DT Dominique Hamilton from Missouri. While pass rushing is here and there, his ability to stuff the run is outstanding for an UDFA. If an injury bug bites the defensive line, Hamilton might be able to play on running downs and stop McGahee, Charles, or Matthews. I love this pickup.
Our secondary got a lot better too. Aaron Henry, a safety from Wisconsin, was consider among the top UDFAs. I had a 6th Round Grade on him, and I can only hope he can become what Stevie Brown was before we cut him. Chaz Powell, another Nittany Lion, could provide depth if we end up cutting the two Packers prospects we signed (Lee and Underwood). Oh, and Conroy Black ran a nifty little 4.3 40 yard dash time at Utah. He's also a corner.
To me, since we missed out on Alex Hoffman-Ellis, we need to look at Donte Paige-Moss to round out the defense. An unquestionable talent, it all comes down to off field behavior and willingness to work with DPM. I think he's worth it, and in the right situation, a possible starter at outside linebacker or defensive end.
Overall, Reggie McKenzie shows he has what it takes to land the big name free agents, even if they are just UDFA rookies. It's a promising sign, and players like Nix and Hamilton give an injection of optimism that we found this year's Sterling Moore. Let's just not cut him this time.
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