Syracuse vs. Minnesota
I like defense, and this game was a defensive battle so it was fun to watch. There wasn't any shortage of ball possession changes and great defensive plays. Most of the players that were worth watching this game were on defense; some of them lived up to expectations and some of them didn't. Let's find out who fell where.
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. Jerome Smith- RB Syracuse
He wasn't in the game all the time but he clearly made the most of what he got. He had a nice power run to get a touchdown where pushed two guys to get in. He's clearly more of a power runner. I would be interested to see his combine results. If he shows he's got decent speed, I think he's worth checking out. He's 5'11" and 226 pounds. He sure runs like it. He had 16 carries for 74 yards with a touchdown. For the season he finished with 200 carries for 914 yards with 12 TD's. Those kinds of stats won't have him going in the early rounds, but he could be a serviceable player.
Expected: 7th round
Fit for the Raiders: Average fit. I think spending a 7th round pick on him depends on his physical abilities. Strength and agility scores, figuring out what his speed is like. If it turns out that he's got some athletic talent, it wouldn't be a bad 7th round move. I'd be more inclined to target him as an UDFA though.
2. Jay Bromley- DT Syracuse
Inconsistent is the word I would use to describe the performance by Bromley. One some plays, he displayed good speed and use of hands to get inside. This led to him getting a great sack, putting him at 9 for the season. This also led him to getting some good pressures on the QB as well. Then you had the bad plays. He got stood up on a couple plays showing some poor leverage. He didn't seem very strong and I definitely got the impression he's going to need to work on his strength and conditioning. A few times he seemed lost like he wasn't sure where the ball was. He had 4 tackles on the day with 2 of them for a loss (1 of them a sack). That gave him 41 tackles for the year. With 13.5 tackles for a loss on the year, 9 of them being sacks, he also had 3 forced fumbles. Here's the thing. On two occasions this year, he played top 25 teams. They played #12 Clemson and #1 Florida. Against #12 Clemson he recorded one of his best games, 4 tackles, 3 for a loss with 2 sacks. Against Florida he also put up a sack. He is inconsistent but he can show up against talented teams, and I saw flashes of it in this bowl game.
Expected: 6th round
Fit for the Raiders: Good fit. He's a project player, no doubt about it. He's also slated to be a 6th round pick. I think we should be considering using OUR 6th round pick should he be available. I'd like to see what he can do, and he might be able to come in, contribute as depth some. He's going to need work in the weight room, and he's going to need some help with technique. That being said, it's just that kind of player who has the potential to end up a great late round pick if he pans out. If he doesn't pan out, it was just a 6th rounder in the trash. He's 6'3" and weighs 285, so he won't be out nose tackle or anything, but I still think he can contribute in the 4-3.
3. Keon Lyn- CB Syracuse
Lyn had his season come to an end when he suffered a fractured left knee cap. He is still expected to be recovered in time for the combine/pro day in hopes that his draft stock won't be hurt too badly from the injury. He had been expected to go higher than where he sits now, but the injury clearly hurt his chances of getting drafted in the mid rounds. In 2012 he had 7 passes deflected, 3 interceptions, and 48 total tackles. He also had 4 tackles for a loss. In 2013 he played 5 games recording 16 total tackles.
Expected: 7th round
Fit for the Raiders: Unknown fit. This really is a unique scenario where his combine/pro day results could prove for him to be fully recovered from his injury, in which case a 7th round gamble on him could pay off quite well. This is really a wait and see scenario. If he performs well, a 7th round pick would be automatic. If he ends up showing lingering effects from the injury though, we should pass completely. I decided to put him under successful simply because he didn't do anything to fall short.
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. RaShede Hageman- DT Minnesota
He has 8 ½ passes knocked down at the line coming into this game. He's 6'6" at 315 pounds. There are some things to like about this guy for sure. He's got decent strength, though I'd like to see his combine results in that regard to be sure he wasn't just beating up on weaker talent. I liked how he didn't give up on plays. There were some things that gave concern as well though. He didn't seem to use his hands well and he looked a bit slow out there. Speaking of his hand use, he had a couple costly penalties of hands to the face, which negated tackles for a loss by the defense. Also, he wasn't being used every down and came out on quite a few occasions. I'm concerned about his endurance and conditioning. He had 4 tackles this game with 2 for a loss. On the season he has 38 total tackles, 13 tackles for a loss with 2 of them sacks, and he had 8 pass deflections this season but only 1 QB hurry. He also had 1 interception on the season.
Expected: 1-2nd round (2nd DT overall)
Fit for the Raiders: Poor fit. I didn't like what I saw in terms of his draft position. He seems like a mid-rounds prospect rather than a 1st to 2nd round guy. I'm wondering if he's getting a bit overhyped because of his ability to swat the ball at the line. While this is a nice attribute to have, this is not a key skill of the position, and the rest of his stats indicate that he might not be a great DT. I could see him as a 4th to 5th round prospect based on his production. He seems like a project player to me, but I'm thinking because of the lack of quality DT in this draft, we might see him go a lot sooner.
2. Brock Vereen- SS Minnesota
I didn't care for his tackling ability or rather lack thereof. He had just 3 total tackles this game, but it should have been more if he hadn't missed some. That gives him 59 for the season. He had 6 passes batted down this season with an interception to go with it. I felt like his FS was doing a much better job in the secondary than him.
Expected: 7th round
Fit for the Raiders: Terrible fit. I don't see any reason to bring him in, not even for depth. There wasn't anything to indicate that he could contribute at the NFL level.
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. David Cobb- RB Junior Minnesota
In his sophomore year, he ran for just 8 yards. At the start of his junior year he didn't even have a spot on the depth chart. Yet somehow, he managed to work his way onto the chart, into the game, and now finishes the season with 237 carries for 1,202 yards and 7 TD's. He had 18 carries for 91 yards this game. He's a hard runner and worth keeping an eye on.
2. Antonio Johnson- FS Sophomore Minnesota
He was tackling guys hard. On more than one occasion he knocked the ball loose, and he had one successful forced fumble this game. He made solid tackles throughout the game. Great open field tackle on the WR screen by Johnson. This season he had 69 tackles, 1 interception, 3 passes broken up, a couple tackles for a loss, and a forced fumble. I think he shows some promise, but he's still young so well have to wait and see.