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Once again Raiders late round drafted, undrafted rookies outperforming fellow higher drafted counterpart

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NFL: New England Patriots at Oakland Raiders Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

How many times have we seen this in the past few years. Where a player the Raiders selected either late in the draft or not drafted at all are outperforming those players who the team selected above them in the draft. It’s an all too common occurrence in Oakland it seems.

Last year it was undrafted Jalen Richard outplaying 5th round pick DeAndre Washington. In 2014 it was 7th round pick TJ Carrie outplaying 4th rounder Keith McGill (not to mention 2013 top pick DJ Hayden). And 2012 it was undrafted Rod Streater outplaying 5th round pick Juron Criner. Just to name a few.

This year it is happening twice. With undrafted linebacker Nicholas Morrow outperforming 5th rounder Marquel Lee and 7th round defensive tackle Treyvon Hester outplaying 3rd rounder Eddie Vanderdoes.

Morrow has been the best looking rookie for the Raiders period. Though with a draft class like this one, that wasn’t all that hard to do. In 11 appearances with 2 starts, Morrow has put up 31 combined tackles (22 solo) and 3 passes defended.

Lee has appeared in 8 games with 5 starts and has just 18 combined tackles (13 solo) and no other stats. He hasn’t had a tackle the past three games with NaVorro Bowman signed as a free agent.

With the Raiders top two picks being injured most of the season, the highest drafted player they had available was Eddie Vanderdoes. The third round defensive tackle has started every game this season and has largely been a non-factor.

Despite not seeing a single start, and fewer snaps overall, 7th round pick Treyvon Hester has outperformed Vanderdoes by nearly every measure.

Hester has 12 combined tackles (7 solo) compared to Vanderdoes’s 9 tackles (7 solo). Hester has 8 pressures and 3 QB hits to Vanderdoes’s 9 pressures and 2 QB hits. Hester also has a pass batted at the line and a forced fumble to his credit. Or if you’d prefer not to rely solely on stats, here is how Pro Football Focus has seen.

Vanderdoes still getting the starts may suggest the Raiders haven’t taken notice, but they have. The first five weeks of the season, it was Vanderdoes who received the start and the bulk of the snaps. But since then the ratio has changed. In week six, for the first time, Hester received more snaps. And since then, even though Vanderdoes has taken the field to start each game, Hester has seen 23 more snaps.

This draft class has been pretty much a wash this season, but getting some production from the low rounds and undrafted guys is at least something.