Pittsburgh vs. Bowling Green
Pittsburgh was clearly the better and more talented team in this game. However, this is football, and as a result anything can happen. Bowling Green put up a great fight this game, just barely losing it 30-27. Pittsburgh lost their starting QB at the half to a rib injury, and Bowling Green played the best they could to nearly pull out a win. It was one of the better bowl games to watch so far this season in my opinion. It was an entertaining one, and here are some of the players responsible for that.
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. Aaron Donald- DT Pittsburgh
He had a great game. Bowling Green constantly had to double team him on just about every play because on the rare occasion they gave him a single team, he dominated the guy. There was even times where despite being double teamed he was still pushing them back. He has some good swim moves when he's trying to get inside. He's a power guy for the most part though. He can straight drive guys back getting better leverage. This isn't surprising because he's just 6 feet tall which allows him to get low on the guys. Even though he's only 6 feet tall, he's 285 pounds and isn't out of shape. He can throw a lineman out of his way during single teams or push them right on their ass. None of the linemen could handle him alone. These double teams on more than one occasion opened up another rusher to get a sack or pressure on the QB. To end the night he played the edge, bolted right past the RT with a rip move and gets the sack to essentially seal the deal. That sack made it 3rd and 31, with Pittsburgh only up by 3, so needless to say that was a critical play. He's just so quick off the snap. So with that he finished the night with 5 tackles, 2 for a loss with 1 sack. That means for the season he had 59 total tackles, 28.5 for a loss, with 11 sacks.
Expected: 2nd round
Fit for the Raiders: Great/good fit. I could definitely see him playing along with Pat Sims at the DT spot. Between the two of them, the DT spot would be greatly improved. Teams would have a very hard time on the inside keeping the pocket from being collapsed with both of them playing on the inside. Now, my hope is that we trade down in the first round to get a mid-first and mid-second round pick. With that mid-second round pick I would love to get Donald. I don't know if he would fall to the beginning of the 3rd round, but I also think that we have to use our first and second round pick elsewhere. I do think this is a player the Raiders should be trying to maneuver to get though.
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. Devin Street- WR Pittsburgh
Street was out this game with an injury. Here's a summary of his skill set via cbssports though: "Strengths: Smooth athlete with natural body control and foot quickness to create some space and work the middle of the field. He shows off his toughness before and after the catch, highpointing and coming down with contested receptions and also fighting for every yard after the grab. He has soft hands and usually catches everything his way, staying focused from snap to whistle.
Weaknesses: Street lacks ideal top-end speed. . Street looks to finish, but his lack of breakaway speed shows as a ballcarrier, struggling to elude defenders or create after the catch."
Does this remind you of anybody? It should. It sounds like a bunch of our own receivers.
Expected: 3-4th round
Fit for the Raiders: Poor/terrible fit. We have enough guys that can make catches but can't break away from defenders or create space. Sounds like this guy is a good supporting receiver... something we are in no shortage of.
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. Tyler Boyd WR Freshman Pittsburgh
This guy can do it all. He returned punts fantastically, including one he returned 54 yards for a TD. He can field kick returns. He was catching like a pro. He made short catches, make guys miss, and then get good YAC. He could stutter step and then go down field for the long catch like the one he made for 62 yards. He made a one handed grab on a bad pass in the end zone (but was unfortunately just out of bounds). He made sideline catches and kept both feet in bounds multiple times. To put it simply, he looked like a pro out there. He had 8 receptions for 173 yards. He finished the season with 85 catches for 1,174 yards and 7 TD's. Did I mention he's a freshman? He beat the school record for receiving yards as a freshman. Who held the old school record? Larry Fitzgerald. He looked like a pro, he's producing like a pro, and he's just a freshmen. Watch out.
2. James Connor RB Freshman Pittsburgh
Watching this kid run was fun. Any move you could think of that a running back could break out, he was using it this game. Still arms, spins, juke moves, etc. you name it; he was doing it to get extra yards. He finished the day with 26 carries for 229 yards with a TD. He had a decent season with just 146 carries for 799 yards with 8 TD's. Being that it's just his freshmen year as well, there's reason to expect big things from him as well. Oh, also, at the end of the game he came in on defense with his team up by just 3 points with 1:21 left in the game. Bowling Green had the ball and was trying to drive down field. He rushed in and got a pressure on the QB on first down which disrupted the play. Things went downhill fast for Bowling Green from there. Connor has a high motor and wants to win. He might not have break-away speed, but he's a power runner and doesn't give up on plays. He's somebody to keep an eye on in the future.