USC vs. Fresno State
It was pretty clear where the talent was this game. USC had most of it, and it was all centered on defense. Sure USC had Marqise Lee, but Fresno had Davante Adams who has shown that he's no slouch. The defense was another story though. Fresno State looked average, even against the inconsistent USC QB Kessler who, despite his good stat line, didn't look all that good. Lucky for him, he's not on the draft board so I didn't pick apart his performance like the ones listed below. So without further ado, here's the key.
Expected: what round the player is expected to be drafted.
Fit with the Raiders: Great Fit- We should actively look to pick up this player; Good Fit- Worth picking if no great fit players are available; Average Fit- If the conditions are right, worth giving a shot. Value has to be right because there is a decent possibility that they won't work out; Poor Fit- Only draft if this players is hands down the BPA and there's no other options available since there is a high probability they won't make the roster; Terrible Fit: Drafting this player would be a mistake as there's next to no chance they make the roster and would be a wasted pick.
Successful Draft Eligible Players
This section is for players going into the draft who had a bowl game worthy of mentioning. Expected UDFA's who make a great impression will be included. (For high profile players, footage from other games will also be taken into consideration).
1. Marqise Lee- WR USC
What can you say about Lee that hasn't already been said? He's everything they are making him out to be and more. He had a great bowl game against #20 Fresno State. He had 7 receptions for 118 yards with 2 touchdowns, including one 40 yard touchdown catch where he just burned the coverage. He has displayed good blocking ability on plays showing that he doesn't give up. When he played Stanford, despite a knee injury, he came on 4th and 2. They of course went to him and he came through like always. He's clutch, he's tough, and he's dedicated. However, he's also had injury issues that have plagued him. He's missed games because of it which stopped him from having a 1,000 yard season (791). It's not surprising to see that he seems slower this year. That being said, between now and the combine he should have plenty of time to rest and recover. If none of the injuries are serious, he should be good to go by then and show off at the combine which would solidify his position as a 1st round pick.
Expected: 1st round (9th overall ranking)
Fit for the Raiders: Good fit. We need a #1 receiver; we have for a while now. Marqise Lee IS a legit number one receiving guy. Why isn't he a great fit? Well, for one the injury concerns throw a question mark into the mix. It's not just that though. Our first round pick is actually well too high for a guy like Lee. Short of trading down it simply wouldn't be a good value pick. If we did trade down, it's still a questionable pick simply because the structure of our receiving squad. Streater, Holmes, and Moore have all made significant progress and one of them or all of them may be set to have breakout years. They are all young guys learning the position; they all have great natural ability and flashes of star potential. It seems like taking a wide out in the first round is jumping the gun. We have enough young receivers on the roster right now, and I don't think we should start crowding ones that have shown legitimate potential off the line up. Not considering the shape our roster is in overall.
2. Dion Bailey- FS USC
Holy wow, this guy was all over the place making plays. He was reading the quarterback like he was inside his head. He was quick, hit hard, and just was all over the field. His stat lines were deceiving. If you hadn't watched the game you wouldn't know just how utterly disruptive he was. To see a FS involved the way he was, it was a thing of beauty.
Expected: 2-3rd round
Fit for the Raiders: Great/good fit. This guy is the kind of guy you want learning under Woodson. Branch and Bailey would make a great combo for the future and Bailey could stand to gain a lot under a guy like Woodson. In the meantime he would serve as great depth for the aging Woodson, gaining meaningful experience without taking too much on. Ideally, we trade down in the first round gaining another second round pick. With it we pick up Dion Bailey who looks like he is clearly ready for the NFL. I'm only surprised he wasn't rated higher. He's the second best FS behind Clinton-Dix of Alabama, but let me tell you, I've seen Clinton-Dix play and I think this guy is even better than him. We'll see how Clinton-Dix performs in his bowl game. We might see Bailey move up the boards (though I hope not because right now he's a total steal).
3. Devon Kennard- OLB USC
Sometimes stat lines just don't tell the whole story, and for Devon Kennard this was one of those times. Despite the fact he had just one tackle, he got involved. He read plays correctly, stayed on his assignments, and numerous times got pressure which forced bad passes. He used his hands well to shed blocks, and over the course of the season he has racked up decent numbers, 13 tackles for a loss with 9 sacks. He has 4 passes broken up, 10 hurries, not counting the pressures he had that weren't directly considered to be hurries. He played a good game and wasn't responsible for any errors that cost the team points.
Expected: 5-6th round
Fit for the Raiders: Good. If we can get this guy in the beginning of the 6th round, we should take the chance on him. I see real value to him as a 6th round pick, even early on like the pick we have. Is he going to come out there and change the entire game? No. Is he going to be quality depth at a position we could use it in? Definitely. I wouldn't take him early in the 5th though; I think that's a bit too high. If there's a better player available at our 6th round pick, I would understand passing up on him though. Maybe he will make it to the beginning of the 7th, who knows.
4. Davante Adams- WR Fresno State
Adams had a good bowl game here. He made some tough catches and bounce back from some hard hits. He had 9 catches for 74 yards and a touchdown. He finishes 2013 with 1,719 yard with 24 TD's. That's nothing to scoff at. From what I've seen, he often makes Carr look better than he really is. I really want to see what his combine score is. To me, that could make a big difference between where his value is and where it could be.
Expected: 2nd round
Fit for the Raiders: Average fit. If we could get him beyond the 4th round, you take him. Higher than that it becomes a questionable proposition just because we already have young receivers and I don't know if Adams can come out and be a true #1 right off the bat. I don't really want to give up on the current group we have, so I'm hesitant to call for a WR pick. That being said, by the 4th round if he's still on the board you just can't pass him up.
Players Falling Short
This section is for players who are expected to be drafted who did not live up to their expectations during the bowl game. This is based on draft expectations. (Expected UDFA won't be included).
1. Austin Wentworth- OT Fresno State
He looked awful. Very slow, pushed around, getting beat all around. Perhaps the USC defense just made him look bad, but when he gets to the NFL he won't be seeing anything less than that. I don't see him having much a future in the league based on what I saw. He just won't be able to keep up with the sheer talent.
Expected: 6th round
Fit for the Raiders: Terrible fit. If it wasn't made clear yet, he has no place on this team.
2. Marcel Jensen- TE Fresno State
He had a poor bowl game. A couple nice plays in an otherwise mundane and average performance. He wasn't a standout through the season and he definitely wasn't a standout in this game. He had just 2 catches for 9 yards. He had one good catch, but he also had a drop that should have been caught.
Expected: 3-4th round
Fit for the Raiders: Terrible fit. We have plenty of young TE's and this guy has done nothing to show that he would come out in front of any of them. Clear pass on this guy.
3. Derek Carr- QB Fresno State
Carr had a bad game, plain and simple. The defense had him uncomfortable and he clearly didn't show his poise. I'd like to believe that this was an anomaly, but it just isn't. Carr is inconsistent at best. He has times where he makes good throws, but they are rarely long balls. They are usually shorter zipping passes. The system of offense was changed from a Pro-style offense to a no-huddle spread offense that is more tailored to his strengths like short passes. This has led to his increase in "accuracy" increasing his completion percentage. The reality is he has relatively poor throwing mechanics, particularly when he starts to feel pressure. He has a strong arm, which normally is a good thing, but in this case he sometimes relies on it too much and sacrifices accuracy. Many of his longer throws tend to be overthrown because he's not putting an emphasis on technique, so he's just kind of flinging it down the field. Luckily, he has a couple very good receivers on his team which have allowed him to get away with this. Yet still, he has a habit of even overthrowing them.
Expected: 1st round (12th overall rank)
Fit for the Raiders: Poor fit. There are so many reasons why he doesn't belong here in Oakland. Even if we were to fix the line which has looked better towards the end of the 2013 season, having recovered from injuries, he still would be a poor fit. The fact he's so high on the boards makes him a borderline terrible fit for our team. We don't have a receiving squad as it currently stands that could give Carr the kind of situation he would need. Carr is a guy that could lead a winning team under an ideal offense. Something like Green Bay would be a place he might be able to get something going. Good receivers, a line that can do a good job protecting him, and he doesn't have to bomb them down the field constantly. That however isn't really a stellar endorsement for Carr. I mean, if Matt Flynn can do the job, saying Carr can do it doesn't really mean much. I'm not saying he can't succeed in the NFL, and I'm not saying he can't improve, I'm just saying based on the tape he's more likely to be Geno Smith than Andrew Luck.
4. George Uko- DE USC
Uko is solid on reading the play. When the QB goes to make a move or a runner tries to get by, Uko will see it. Unfortunately, while he shows flashes of potential he shows a lot more in the way of problems. He seems to give up on some plays. It would seem to me that he is too light to play DT, but too heavy to be an effective DE given his performance. He seemed too slow and not conditioned well enough. Even if you ignore that though, there is a larger problem. He was penalized for a late hit, and then later in the game was ejected for conduct after the play was over.
Expected: 3-4th round
Fit for the Raiders: Terrible. I know we need pass rushing and DE depth, but trust me, this guy isn't it. Him and Clowney might both has character issues... but he's no Clowney.
5. Morgan Breslin- OLB USC
Breslin is a high performing player, so it's disappointing that he has been marred by injuries. He was already out for the season with a hip injury then had to undergo surgery for a sports hernia. Before that he had a foot injury. When he's healthy he seems to produce, but it's hard to say whether he can still produce at that level, especially against quality talent.
Expected: 3-4th round
Fit for the Raiders: Poor/terrible fit. If he were ranked lower I would probably leave it at poor, but at a 3rd to 4th round pick, that's just way too high for a guy with these question marks. Anywhere past the mid-5th round he'd be worth taking a chance on just for gambling sake, but given the current situation, I can't see arguing for him on this team. There are simply better options out there.
6. Kevin Graf- OT USC
Graf was slow to react and slow on his feet. I didn't see a single play where I thought he made a good move or push. He looked average at best. I know he wasn't supposed to be anything special, but I figured since he was at least getting considered for the NFL he might show something. Nope. It was ugly. He doesn't look ready for the NFL at all.
Expected: 7th round
Fit for the Raiders: Terrible fit. He doesn't look like he could even provide depth.
7. Silas Redd- RB USC
Redd has injury issues, was out of this game and missed most the season. It's hard to say anything; I've seen little of him.
Expected: 7th round
Fit for the Raiders: Terrible fit. We know nothing about him and don't need to be wasting picks.
This section is for players who aren't in the 2014 draft, but showed up in the bowl game to make an impact. As a result, they may warrant being looked at down the line to see if they really do have the skills necessary.
1. Nelson Agholor- WR USC Sophomore
Likely starting WR next year for USC, he made a huge TD catch 40 yards, just absolutely burnt the coverage. He made another awesome TD catch later on for 17 yards. He finished the day with 5 catches for 94 yards and 2 TD's. Next year he will be taking over for Marqise Lee and from what I've seen this year, he'll do just fine.
2. Hayes Pullard- LB USC Junior
This linebacker showed great football IQ. He knew where to be and when to be there. One play, he made an NFL caliber stop by finding the gap and filling it perfectly stuffing the run for next to no gain. He has had 94 tackles this year and definitely knows how to play the position.
3. Kevon Seymour- CB USC Sophomore
He's rough around the edges, but he had some good coverage this game and also was a fairly hard hitter for a DB. He looked sharp and I'd be interested to see how he progresses next year.
(NOTE: First I wanted to say I will be doing one to two of these a day. It should last till close to the end of January. I plan to get every bowl game down. With high draft picks like 3rd round and up I will likely include play from more than just the bowl game when forming my opinion. For lower picks I haven't heard of before I will likely go by how they played in that game alone. Also, I'm terrible at formatting, so any suggestions/help is appreciated.)