Buffalo vs. San Diego State
This game wasn’t competitive, nor was it particularly enjoyable. There was plenty of disappointment to go around. Most the players looked average or just plain bad. There were the players who played bad, and then there were the players who played good enough. Only one player on San Diego State played pretty well, and so it’s no surprise that San Diego State won by a wide margin. It was a blow out. Anyway, let’s get to it.
Expected: This is 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. Eric Pinkins- SS San Diego State
This wasn’t a stand out game for Pinkins, but it wasn’t an implosion either to be fair. He did his job to satisfactory standards most of the time, not committing any big mistakes. He had his tackles, though they weren’t particularly impressive. He had 7 tackles this game, nothing to write home about. That put him at 75 tackles for the season, 49 of them solo. This season he had 4 passes broken up, 2 forced fumbles, 7 tackles for a loss with one sack, and that’s about it. He unfortunately had a flag on a late hit after the play, showing some lack of discipline.
Expected: 7th round
Fit for the Raiders: Average/poor fit. He’s a 7th rounder that played to expectation so it’s hard to hold it against him. I wouldn’t roll the dice on a 7th round pick with him for the simple fact I think we can do better with our 7th round pick. If he hits UDFA though, I wouldn’t mind him as a camp body just to see what he can contribute to the backup roll competition.
2. Adam Muema- RB San Diego State
He is the lone player who had a great game. He had 28 carries for 229 yards with 3 touchdowns and looked good doing it too. With a long of only 30 yards though, I’m not sure if he has the breakaway speed, so I’d be interested to see his 40 time. He displayed a solid ability to change direction and didn’t seem to shy away from hits. Not only that but earlier in the season he had 27 carries for 111 yards with 2 touchdowns against #21 Fresno State. He had 256 carries for 1,244 yards with 15 touchdowns this season. His bowl performance put an exclamation point on his season.
Expected: 7th round
Fit for the Raiders: Good fit. Why not roll the dice with a 7th round pick on this guy? Assuming we haven’t taken any running backs up to that point, it can’t hurt to have some competition in camp for the backup roll behind Jennings. I don’t know if he will be the kind of impact player we want, but at a 7th round pick, expecting an impact player, particularly in his rookie season, would be ridiculous.
Players Falling Short
This section is for players who were 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. Bryce Quigley- OT San Diego State
So Quigley didn’t exactly have the game he was looking for. He looked average. Sure, we all figured he wouldn’t be able to match up with a guy like Khalil Mack, but most of the time he wasn’t going toe to toe with Mack. His performance certainly didn’t seem like the kind you would see from an NFL caliber player.
Expected: 7th round
Fit for the Raiders: Poor fit. If he falls to an UDFA status, and they need a camp body at OT for some reason… sure, why not? Otherwise, this is not a player I’d like to see on the roster.
2. Khalil Mack- OLB Buffalo
So this wasn’t exactly a great Bowl game for Mack. Going up against San Diego State, they really didn’t have any pro-caliber linemen. Sure, there was Quigley, but Mack rarely went toe to toe with him. Mack didn’t look bad so much as he didn’t look particularly good. He’s not exactly a speed rusher; I get that. I wasn’t expecting him to be. However, I had heard a lot about his power and size, so I was expecting a bit more in that regard. He did show very good football instincts, to which he certainly lived up to expectations there. From what I’ve seen, the guy is athletic, has football smarts, and is definitely a good tackler. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem like a disrupter or a playmaker. He seems like that quiet but steady role player who does the job well, but not exceptional. In his game against #7 Ohio State he had 9 tackles with 2.5 sacks. Not only that but he had that big interception returned for a TD for 45 yards. This is a game people frequently point to when demonstrating that Mack is the real deal. The problem is the next week he played at #6 Baylor and put up just 4 tackles, no sacks of tackles for a loss. Only 3 of his sacks came from teams with a record better than .500 with 2.5 coming from the Ohio State game. Of his 19 TFL, only 7.5 came from teams with a record better than .500 and that’s including his 3 sacks. I don’t doubt his athleticism. I don’t doubt his football fundamentals, like his good tackling skills and general ball awareness. I do however doubt that he’s the kind of impact player people are thinking he’s going to be. What I saw, and what the statistics indicate, tells me that he’s going to be a solid role player. He comes from a small school, but his solid performance against Ohio State might make people think he’s something he’s not.
Expected: 1st round
Fit for the Raiders: Poor fit. He’s not the kind of player that should be taken in the first round. He’s definitely not the type of player that the Oakland Raiders should be taking in the first round. He’s a role player, somebody that will be reliable but not a game changer. He will do his job and will his teammates to be the type of players they are more apt to be since they won’t have to pick up the slack. He will hold his own. That is not the kind of player you shoot for in the first round. Somebody will take him in the first round though. If we take him in the first, we won’t shake our heads going "Why did we waste our pick on that bust?!" But we will look at some of the other successful guys that will be picked in the first round and wonder why we opted for Mack instead.
3. Alex Neutz- WR Buffalo
This was awful. He played really, really bad. He dropped passes, missed catches, including one where he bopped it right into the air to turn it into an interception. I’m not even a Buffalo fan and I was getting angry at him. I don’t even want to talk about his performance anymore.
Expected: 7th round
Fit for the Raiders: Terrible Fit. Not. A. Chance. In. Hell.
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.
None. Sorry, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. No underclassmen stood out to such an extent that I felt they deserved special attention.