No word has been used more often to describe Raiders second round defensive lineman Jihad Ward than "raw". Even Reggie McKenzie used it following the draft. Ward's lack of stats along with just two seasons of division one football had his selection in the second round a bit of a head-scratcher.
Often times the second round is where teams take on players with more potential than production. That's when a team relies heavily on scouts. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Bob McGinn spoke to a couple of scouts about Ward and the opinions collected suggest Ward was not such a reach in the second round afterall.
"From North Philly. I don't know how he made it out," one scout said. "It's not really natural to him but I can see the growth in the kid. There's a guy who will give you everything he's got. He made a play against Iowa where he ran 50 yards down the field and knocked the quarterback out of bounds. I'm taking that kid in the second. He's a 5-technique with 3-technique nickel rush."
"Little bit between an end and a tackle," a second scout said. "He's got all the physical stuff you look for but you don't see enough on tape. His ability to learn it and take it to the field and produce ... maybe they've moved him around too much and he's not capable of doing that."
Based at least partially on what he was hearing from scouts, McGinn also put out his defensive line rankings. Here was the order of his rankings along with where they were actually selected:
1. Joey Bosa (3 overall to San Diego)
2. DeForest Buckner (7 overall to San Francisco)
3. Vernon Butler (30 overall to Carolina)
4. Kevin Dodd (33 overall to Tennessee)
5. Emmanuel Ogbah (32 overall to Cleveland)
6. Shaq Lawson (19 overall to Buffalo)
These top six were selected in the first round and the top two picks of the second round (32, 33).
Next up in McGinn's pre-draft rankings was Ward, which would suggest he was the next to come off the board. But as far as how the draft actually played out, there were several other defensive linemen who were taken in the ten picks before the Raiders selected Ward at 44 including Chris Jones (37 to Kansas City), Noah Spence (39 to Tampa Bay), and Austin Johnson (43 to Tennessee).
After Ward at 7 in the rankings, the next up in the rankings was Florida's Jonathan Bullard, who was on the board when the Raiders selected at 44 and was far more accomplished, but who didn't come off the board until the ninth pick in the third round.
The next defensive lineman taken off the board after Bullard was Shilique Calhoun, which, as it happens was also the next up in McGinn's defensive linemen rankings at 9th. The Raiders selected Calhoun in round three at pick 75.