The third and final day of the 2014 NFL Draft is officially in the books. It was an interesting day where the character concerns were no longer part of the equation in the process, and playing this past season wasn't a requirement either. If nothing else, there is an admirable quality to the willingness to give shots to players that others were not willing to.
The Raiders went into this draft needing secondary help and defensive line help, and they went to town in acquiring some. They got two defensive tackles one in the 4th round from Louisiana State named Justin Ellis, and one in the 7th out of Illinois State named Shelby Harris. Ellis is a 330+ nose tackle, and I do mean plus since he currently weighs around 347, with substantial power to him. The other DT Harris is considerably smaller at 288lbs and would likely be better suited to play defensive end in a 3-4.
As far as the secondary goes they drafted a CB in the 4th named Keith McGill out of Utah, one in the 7th named T.J. Carrie, and another 7th on a Safety prospect that many consider more apt to be a CB named Jonathan Dowling out of Western Kentucky.
Keith McGill is the highest picked, but T.J. Carrie might be the most intriguing. He is an Oakland native who had 4 interceptions last season and 2 of them were returned for touchdowns. Then again, Jonathon Dowling has 9 interceptions and 8 forced fumbles the past two years, so that is mighty intriguing in itself. McGill's 12 passes defended last season are impressive too.
Reggie went a little off the reservation today with some of these picks. Shelby Harris was suspended from two different college football programs, once at Wisconsin and once at Illinois St, and then ultimately dismissed from Illinois St all together for conduct detrimental to the team. Keith McGill had a DUI a couple years back and Nolan Nawrocki on NFL.com said that Dowling thinks he is better than he is and that coachability issues should be looked into before drafting him.
To all of that I say, the past is the past. Reggie McKenzie believes in these young men being able to overcome those past instances. Shelby Harris referred to his being kicked off the Illinois St team as heartbreaking and believes he is a better man now because of it. Keith McGill has been out of trouble ever since his DUI and credits being a father for his turn around. As for Dowling, there are a lot worse things than thinking that you are better than others say you are.
I love that Reggie and the Raiders are taking chances on players that have made mistakes. Character isn't about never making mistakes, it can also be about making up for the mistakes you did commit. These players are all talented and all have something to prove, sounds perfect for "the throwaways" squad that he has put together. Here is what other members of the Silver & Black Pride staff think about day 3.
"Once again Reggie gets value in this draft. Keith McGill and Justin Ellis were both guys who would have gone in the second round, and Reggie was shrewd to get them both in the fourth. The trade down in the third proved to be a stroke of genius, netting them Gabe Jackson and McGill."
"Justin Ellis is the sort of defensive tackle that good teams are built upon- a guy who can shed blocks and stuff the run or anchor himself into a spot on the field and not be moved. McGill is a press corner with good ball skills. Both add depth to very thin positions on the defense and can be viable starters down the road."
"I wasn't sure quite what to think with the seventh round guys. Frankly, I'd never heard of any of them. However, I hadn't heard of Stacy McGee either and he turned out fairly promising."
"Reggie earned my trust with the first four rounds this draft and the guys he decided to take in the seventh haven't broken that trust. Reggie knows what he's doing and if these are the guys he wanted, awesome. They are all in areas of need that had shallow depth prior to the draft and if they develop into more than just camp bodies that will be great. If not, they're seventh round fliers."
"As we get later and later in the draft, I think my opinion about these picks becomes less about the talent and more about the positions. What I love about McKenzie is that he's getting guys at positions they need. I'm not an expert on Utah's cornerbacks or Louisiana State's defensive tackles, but both of those positions are ones of need and so I'm happy to see McKenzie addressing them."
Author's note: Jeff kept it short and sweet, you can apply what he said to the 7th round selections too.