If you’re gearing up to watch the East-West Shrine Game and would like a few players to watch — and I know you do — during the game at positions the Raiders could use an upgrade, here are a few.
Poona Ford, DT, Texas (West)
This will be the first of two All Star game appearances for Ford who has also been invited to participate in the Senior Bowl next weekend. A compact and consistent run stopper with great get off to disrupt. His size is a bit of a concern, standing at just 5-11. The Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year this season, Ford finished with 34 tackles and eight tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks and 12 hurries. He’s projected as a day two pick.
Folorunso Fatukasi, DT, UConn (East)
Led UConn with 6.5 tackles for loss. A versatile defender who has played every interior defensive line position. For his size (6-4, 318) he moves well with the ability to get penetration both as a run stopper and a pass rusher. He projects as a mid round selection.
Ja’Von Rolland-Jones, DE/OLB, Arkansas State (West)
Yeah, edge rusher isn’t technically among the Raiders’ major needs, but they can always use more pass rushers. Rolland-Jones put up 43.5 sacks and 63 tackles for loss over his four seasons at Arkansas State. He is projected as an early day three pick.
Greg Stroman, CB, Virginia Tech (East)
He had 4 interceptions and 10 passes defended last season, while giving up 13 catches for 250 yards and two touchdowns,. Opposing quarterbacks only had a passer rating of 28.0 when throwing into his coverage according to Pro Football Focus. Adding to his value is his ability as a punt returner — an area the Raiders have had some issues of late. Stroman returned two punts for touchdowns in 2017 with four return touchdowns over his career. He’s projected as a late round pick.
Deatrick Nichols, CB, USF (East)
A versatile cornerback, he has played his best in the slot. If TJ Carrie is allowed to leave in free agency, the Raiders will need a cornerback to replace his duties in the slot. Nichols didn’t give up a touchdown last season, surrendering just 23 catches for 192 yards (8.3 ypc). He’s projected as a late round pick.
Ralph Webb, RB, Vanderbilt (East)
Webb finished his college career as Vanderbilt’s all-time leader in yards rushing (4,178) and touchdowns (32). He’s a freakish athlete and reportedly bench presses more than 400 pounds. He’s projected as a late round pick.
Phillip Lindsay, RB, Colorado (West)
A mighty mite at 5-foot-7, 190-pounds. Lindsay forced 47 missed tackles as a runner, which ranked No. 6 among all FBS draft-eligible running backs according to Pro Football Focus. They rate him highly has a pass blocker as well, which would keep him on the field on third down. He projects as a late round pick.
Jester Weah, WR, Pittsburgh (East)
After a breakout campaign in 2016 with 36 receptions for 870 yards and 10 touchdowns, his numbers fell off in 2017. He has the skills as a vertical threat with size (6-2, 213) and speed (4.59). But he’s still raw and must show he has a higher ceiling in order for a team to take a flier on him in the draft.