It's that time of year. When the All league lists come out. Today ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr put out his picks for the best of the rookie class and the Raiders were well represented. Each of the Raiders' top three draft picks made the squad -- Amari Cooper, Mario Edwards Jr, and Clive Walford. Here is what he had to say about each.
Yes, these were the top three rookie leaders in receiving yardage, but I also think they led the way in impact, so they get the three spots in my offense. But it was another full class -- I also considered Jamison Crowder, Devin Funchess and Dorial Green-Beckham and also saw a late charge from DeVante Parker.
My take: Even with his late season injury issues, Cooper led all rookie receivers by a wide margin. His 1070 receiving yards are 350 more than the next best, Stefon Diggs (720). Cooper also led all rookie receivers in receptions (72) and tied for the lead in touchdowns (6) with Tyler Lockett.
Tight end: Clive Walford, Raiders
Rookie tight ends rarely put up big totals, so call Walford's 28 catches is highly encouraging. He'll become a bigger weapon. Maxx Williams was in the mix. And I see you, Blake Bell, Tyler Kroft, Nick Boyle and MyCole Pruitt.
My take: Walford finished second among rookie tight ends in receiving yards (329). Only Giants tight end Will Tye had more catches (42) and yards (464). The two of them tied for the lead with 3 touchdowns. The undrafted Tye gets no mention at all from Kiper for some reason. Perhaps the "draft guru" only favors those who were drafted.
Defensive ends: Leonard Williams, Jets; Mario Edwards Jr., Raiders
Important note here: Henry Anderson would have challenged for defensive rookie of the year had he stayed healthy. But he's been out half the season. Williams you know about if you read the top, but Edwards really started to come on and officially served notice that he has Pro Bowl potential starting as soon as 2016. Tremendous potential, tremendous power. I also have to call out Danielle Hunter, who is showing star potential, and Arik Armstead.
My take: It's rather interesting the two starters here are Williams and Edwards. Williams was the other potential option for the Raiders had they not chosen Amari Cooper. Instead they got Edwards in the second. It seems they made the right choice. Well, depending on the long term status of Edwards's neck.