The NFL scouting combine kicked off this week and the offensive line is set to take the field today for their workouts. The Raiders took two offensive linemen in last years NFL draft but that didn’t help protect QB Derek Carr who was sacked a career-high 51 times in 2018.
The Raider offensive line can be improved and with 3 first round picks, there is some flexibility to select a pass protector at some point in the draft. There are a few offensive linemen who fit what the Raiders are looking for in a football player. Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker stand above 6’7 and have excellent athletic traits to fit Tom Cable’s zone blocking scheme.
Raiders fans should keep an eye on the following offensive lineman to see if their athletic testing matches their impressive stature.
Devon Johnson, LT, Ferris State
Height: 6’7 1/4
Weight: 338 lbs
The Ferris State product comes from Division 2 college football. When the Raiders selected PJ Hall and Brandon Parker early in the draft despite playing in lower level division 1 football its clear they won’t shy away from players just because they don’t come from a major program.
Johnson won the weigh-in portion of the draft. With 9 1⁄2 inch hands, 34 3⁄4 inch arms, and an 82 1⁄4 inch wingspan, all numbers well above thresholds for starting tackle in the NFL. Johnson comes from one of the best programs in Division 2 football and competed for the National Championship this past season. If Johnson does well enough during the on-field drills he will get looks from all 32 NFL teams as a developmental prospect with upside to become a starting tackle.
David Edwards, LT, Wisconsin
Height: 6’6 1/4
Edwards is the shortest lineman on this list, but at over 6’6, he’s still a big man. Edwards is also a highly touted athlete from a powerhouse school. Wisconsin cranks out top NFL talent every year and Edwards could be the latest in a long line of Badgers lineman turned Pro Bowlers.
Edwards has an intriguing story, a former high school Quarterback who ran an option offense to the playoffs multiple years. Edwards also lettered for 4 years in basketball while in high school. A true athlete on the offensive line, Edwards is poised to destroy the combine. With relatively little experience on the at tackle, he has his best football ahead of him as he continues to learn the nuances of the position.
Ryan Pope, RT, San Diego State
Weight: 320 lbs
Pope is a right tackle and that’s exactly where the Raiders need the most help protecting Carr. Pope comes from a program that has steamrolled opponents in the run game for the past 3 seasons helping players like Donnel Pumphrey and Rashaad Penny lead the NCAA in rushing while at San Diego State. Pope has the ideal build to play tackle to go along with impressively huge 11 inch hands, the largest measured among this year’s combine participants.
Pope is a big and strong tackle who needs to prove he isn’t just a system player. With so many great offensive tackles in this draft, Pope’s combine performance will be a huge difference in his draft placement. Great numbers in the shuttle runs and an explosive 10 yard split in the 40 yard dash would suggest he’s a fit for Cable’s system.