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NFL Draft 2011: Is the Sandman the FS of the Raiders Dreams?

Since we earlier piled on information that makes Michael Huff's pending departure even more likely I figured it was a good time to highlight the guys it seems most of us hope the Raiders will take in the 2011 NFL Draft to replace him. And those two extremely lucky candidates are Temple's Jaiquawn Jarrett and West Virginia's Robert Sands. First up for the spotlight is the Sandman. I am choosing Sand first, because it seems like an almost certainty that he will be there for the Raiders in the third, while Jarrett maybe gone.

Sands wasn't always projected to be around in the third. Here is what NFL.com had to say:

Sands is a well-rounded safety prospect with rare size, good speed, and a physical mentality and could become an excellent starter in the NFL. Can erase the deep half and hold up in centerfield. Makes a lot of plays on the ball with his range, large frame and good hands. On-field awareness is solid but still developing. Tough player who fills quickly in run support, will take on blockers, and supplies an intimidating presence over the middle in coverage. Main flaw is a lack of short-area quickness and fluidity in man coverage. Sands could hear his name called early on Day 2.

Perfect right? The key there is he plays a solid "centerfield." He also has amazing size for a free safety. He is 6'5" and 221 pounds. But that height can work against him as he does not have the greatest change of direction, and there is a reason he is slipping down the draft boards.

Walter Football:

Robert Sands didn't run the 40 at his Pro Day. He worked out in the drills, where he looked stiff. Some observers even wondered if he'd have to play linebacker at the next level.

Not only is Sands stiff, but he does not have Raider speed. At the combine he ran a 4.57 40, and he felt good enough about it that he didn't run it again at his pro day. Sands is a tremendous tackler, and he hits like a strong safety. He does have some durability issues as he has struggled with some shoulder problems.

If you haven't, check out some of his highlights. Chances are you'll be ready to sign this guy up. He plays with passion and anger. He could bring an element of fear that few free safeties have. The big question is will he have the mobility to make it.

There is a chance that he may be around when the Raiders select in the fourth round, but it would be a gamble to wait for him. He does not have the best man skills, but in the Raiders single deep free safety sets instincts and angles are more vital than man coverage skills.

Form your opinion on Sands, remember it, and we'll have a poll after we discuss Jarrett.