As soon as the Raiders selection of David Sharpe in the fourth round was made, Mike Mayock said on live TV that he was basically blind in one eye. Shortly thereafter, we spoke with Sharpe via conference call where he said that was false, that his vision was blurry in one eye but didn’t affect his play.
If you believe Sharpe in this instance, it could lead you to believe that perhaps the Raiders got a steal due to Sharpe falling in the draft based on false or exaggerated reports. But scouts who spoke with Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel pre-draft tell a slightly different story.
“Very interesting because of his size and talent,” said one scout. “He’s just so inconsistent. Even though he’s 350 he wants to play like he’s 300. He’s got starting upside.”
“I don’t know why he would come out except somebody probably told him it’s such a bad year,” a second scout said. “Pusher, low hand carriage, top-heavy.”
“I hope somebody takes him high,” said a third scout. “He’s a fifth- to seventh-round talent.”
The interesting thing here is none of them even mention Sharpe’s vision, which tells you that wasn’t the only reason he was available in the 4th round.
However, questions about his sight may have had him fall a tad farther than he would have otherwise.
For the Raiders part, they had inside knowledge on Sharpe’s abilities. Jack Del Rio’s son, Luke Del Rio, plays quarterback at Florida and he gave Sharpe the stamp of approval as the guy who protected his blindside for the Gators.
“He sent me the ‘I told you so’ text because the day of the draft he kind of hinted that his dad had called him about me,” Sharpe said of speaking with Luke.
“Sure. I talk to my son when it comes to different guys around the country,” Jack Del Rio said of Luke, who also spent seasons at Alabama and Oregon State before playing at Florida the past two seasons, starting 6 games last season.
“Being around those guys, being able to talk about those guys. He has a little insight being a guy that’s been around ball as long as he has. He kind of knows what it looks like when guys are dialed in, doing the right thing.”
What’s also interesting is the contradictions out there between whether Sharpe can play both sides of the line. The vision issues suggest he wouldn’t be able to line up on the right. However, other scouting suggests his skillset and build is better suited for right tackle, while some even say he is destined to be bumped inside to guard.
The Raiders like him at tackle, and Del Rio is of the mind that he can play on either side, as is Sharpe himself.
“It’s not very hard,” said Sharpe of switching from left to right tackle. “I played a little bit of both at Florida in practice and things like that so I’m used to it. Just switch up the feet a little bit, different movements. It’s not that bad.”
Though he lined up mostly on the left side in rookie minicamp, from the sounds of it, Sharpe will be given every opportunity to find which side works best for him, or more importantly, what works best for the team. That could mean right tackle this year and a shot at left tackle after this season when Donald Penn’s contract is up.