With their final pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders selected LSU offensive guard Vadal Alexander. What does the S&BP staff think of the pick and how do they grade the selection?
Santa Claus just gifted the Raiders an early Christmas present in LSU offensive guard Vadal Alexander. NFL Network projected him to be gone by the third round, but Alexander's stock fell after he ran the slowest 40-yard dash (5.62) at the NFL combine. He is an absolute mammoth listed at 6'5", 326 lbs. A giant guard with a slow 40-yard dash time, sound familiar?
Raiders talented offensive guard Gabe Jackson also ran a (5.63) 40-yard dash. The 6'3", 336 lb guard has developed into one of the best at his position in the NFL. Alexander reminds me a lot of Jackson and even has longer arms (35 1/4") compared to Jackson's (33 3/4"). While the Raiders have two quality starting guards in Jackson and Kelechi Osemele, this was a STEAL for the Silver and Black as Alexander provides great value and versatility as he also has experience playing offensive tackle. Alexander was named First Team All-SEC in 2015...and the Raiders somehow were able select him in the seventh round.
Some of Reggie's picks so far have been iffy to me because of value. Not this one. Vadal Alexander is a third round prospect at worst and to get him here is one of the steals of the draft. He's a monster at 6'6" and 342 pounds and is as strong as you would imagine. He was better at run blocking than pass blocking, but was dominant at the Senior Bowl in pass rush drills so perhaps he just needed to be coached up some more. Alexander can play inside and out, but due to his size and footwork projects better as a guard. He needs to work on his technique going forward to deal with faster and more athletic defensive linemen, but he stood out in the SEC against the best they had to offer. One offseason with Mike Tice may put Alexander into a better category of player.
In the event that Donald Penn were to get hurt or become ineffective, Alexander would allow Kelechi Osemele to kick out to left tackle because Vadal would be able to man right guard more than adequately. That may be Oakland's plan for the future. Alexander is a fantastic selection here.
He's big! He's rated highly! He's versatile!
Marcus Allen Krause
The first thing you notice about Vadal Alexander is that he is absolutely gigantic. Seriously, 6'6 and 329lbs. Wow.
He is a Guard from LSU, but he also has experience playing Tackle where he earned First-Team All-SEC honors as a senior. Vadal was projected as high as the 3rd round so this is a steal in the 7th. He doesn't have much speed, as you should expect from a guy that size, but he does have brute strength on his side.
As far as 7th round picks go, this is as good as they come. Vadal Alexander is a guy who played in a big time conference, against big time competition, at multiple positions and played well. He is a welcome addition to the Raiders as a versatile offensive linemen that will provide depth at multiple positions.
How in the world was Vadal Alexander still available at this pick? He was one of the top rated guards in the draft, and played both guard and right tackle. He was rated by several sources as a round two pick. Pro Football Focus gave him the highest grade among offensive linemen in Senior Bowl pass rushing drills. Some say the 6-5, 326 pounder fell because of a poor numbers in athletic drills at the combine. And if that's really all that caused him to tumble, this is an incredible value at 234. The Raiders are set with their starters at guard, but when you can get a top talent like this in the final round, you take it and don't look back.