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New Year's Day Bowl Game Raiders Prospect Watch

***UPDATE COMING WITH FLORIDA STATE-NORTHERN ILLINOIS GAME***

Happy New Year to you and yours. I got up this morning and began to map out my of scouting. I have been observing all day (and a little last night) to help make my decision on who the Raiders should pick with their Top 100 picks. We have three Top 100 picks: #3, #66, and #97. Of course, the combine and pro days will change stocks early as well. But I present my findings below:

Chik-Fil-A Bowl (Last night; LSU vs. Clemson)

Initial Reaction: No stocks vastly changed for me in this game.

Recap: I was looking at three distinct prospects last night for the Raiders: LSU FS Eric Reid, LSU DE Barkevious Mingo, and Clemson RB Andre Ellington. Mingo, in my opinion, had the most impressive night on a swarming LSU defensive line. But, despite the great night for the line, Mingo wasn't in as many plays as you'd expect. Eric Reid isn't flashy, but he got the job done, until the LSU secondary imploded to Tajh Boyd and the entire defense collapsed. Ellington disappointed a little. He had a fumble, and obviously as a back, didn't have that great of an impact. Michael Ford, the Clemson TE, actually now has my attention as a late round pick to replace Ausberry or Gordon as depth at tight end.

Players I'd take at 3: Barkevious Mingo (DE; barely)

Players I'd take at 66: Eric Reid (FS)

Players I'd take at 97: N/A

Players I'd take after 97: Michael Ford (TE), Andre Ellington (RB), Spencer Ware (LSU RB)

Heart of Dallas Bowl (10 ET today, Oklahoma St. vs. Purdue)

Initial Reaction: The Knapp firing killed any interest in this game

Recap: In an Oklahoma State blowout, I was looking at two prospects: OSU RB Joseph Randle and Purdue DT Kawaan Short. Short played alright in a game that saw Purdue's secondary lit up. Randle was originally on my list, but I took my TV elsewhere because of the Knapp firing, the power blocking scheme should return, and all of a sudden, McFadden becomes a reasonable solution again at running back. Oakland will not draft a running back as high as Randle goes.

Players I'd take a #3, #66, or #97: None (Randle and Short will both be 2nd rounders)

Capital One Bowl (11 ET today, Georgia vs. Nebraska)

Initial Reaction: Mother of God, I love Alec Ogletree.

Recap: In a game that saw Georgia pull away late, I found the guy I've been looking for. That outstanding player that is worth taking at #3 because of the potential and talent. In a weak class, I, for the remainder of the time up to the combine, endorse Alec Ogletree at #3. Many experts don't have him up there yet, but he played phenomenal today, and as a converted safety, Ogletree is going to have insane measureables at the combine. His instincts, and unlike T'eo, his physical tools are an ideal fit for a 4-3 defense. He won the game with a forced fumble in the absence of fellow first round prospect John Jenkins at nose tackle. The guy is a player.

I watched Jarvis Jones today too, but in a 4-3 here in Oakland, which it would be for at least another season if we selected Jones over Lotulelei, Jones would face an identity crisis. He is too small to put his hand in the ground, and was inept from time to time in coverage. His ideal position is a 3-4 OLB. I recommend Oakland commit to a 3-4 defense if they want to select Jones, if so, he's well worth #3. But otherwise, he's an identity crisis.

I also studied Georgia S Bacarri Rambo. I love the way this guy plays safety. He's a projected 4th rounder, and no, I'm no Georgia fan, but I'd want him and Ogletree in Rounds 1 and 4. They, along with Jones and Jenkins, are studs, but for whatever reason, the unit as a whole didn't succeed this year. But Rambo and Ogletree could help our squad immensely.

Players I'd take at #3: Alec Ogletree (MLB), Jarvis Jones (DE)

Players I'd take at #66: Bacarri Rambo (FS)

Players I'd take at #97: None

Players I'd take after #97: Rex Burkhead (Nebraska RB), Tevarrius King (Georgia WR), Aaron Murray (Georgia QB)

Rose Bowl (3 ET; Wisconsin vs. Stanford)

Initial Reaction: Shayne Skov is no where near the class of Alec Ogletree or Manti T'eo

Recap: It's only halftime, but I have not been impressed with Shayne Skov, but maybe I'm getting greedy after seeing Ogletree. Skov has taken some poor angles and has been trapped on blocks. I've been thinking Skov in Round 3 would be OK, but I'd be thrown off if Skov was taken above #97. But a new prospect has emerged playing next to Skov. DE Chase Thomas has been flying around the field making plays. He can rush the passer, and has stepped up big for Skov. Thomas is plugging the run like I expected Skov to.

The other reason I'm checking this game out (besides the fact it's the Rose Bowl and I always watch the Rose Bowl) is for the two running backs, Stephan Taylor and Montee Ball. I have to say, they have both impressed me a ton, Montee Ball even more so. Ball has been a machine to tackle and I'm not really seeing the speed hindrance I heard about. He's doing more than enough. I'd take Ball over Taylor, and Ball is lower rated on most boards. That's value.

Players I'd pick at #3: None

Players I'd pick at #66: Montee Ball (RB), Chase Thomas (DE),Zach Ertz (STAN TE),

Players I'd pick at #97: Shayne Skov (MLB), Stephan Taylor (RB), Levine Toilolo (STAN TE)

Players I'd pick after #97: No notables.

Official Post-New Year's Bowls Mock Draft (Subject to Massive Change):

Round 1, Pick 3: Alec Ogletree (MLB, UGA)

Round 3, Pick 66: Eric Reid (S, LSU)

Round 4, Pick 97: Montee Ball (RB, Wisconsin)

Round 6, Pick 162: Emory Blake (WR, Auburn)

Round 7: Tanner Hawkinson (OT, Kansas)

I know Ogletree will be unpopular at the moment. But I can't see him NOT moving up the boards for his athleticism (the fastest MLB since Patrick Willis) and the game he played today, where they relied on he and Jones for the leadership. I have to stick with a guy my eyes tell me will succeed, and when I watch him, all I see is taller Patrick Willis.

By the way, I love Emory Blake in Round 6 and Hawkinson in Round 7. Both were senior leaders for their respective bad teams, so along with the talent they have (and they do, Hawkinson was named all Big 12 second team), they know how to play in a rough environment that is the Oakland Raiders at the moment.

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