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Raiders NFL Draft viewer’s guide: New Mexico Bowl, SMU vs BYU

An OT option from BYU

Blake Freeland
Photo by Lee Coleman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With SMU’s Rashee Rice being ruled out for the New Mexico Bowl, this game loses some star power. However, BYU has a handful of NFL Draft prospects to keep tabs on, including a potential Day 2 pick who could fill a big need for the Las Vegas Raiders.


Blake Freeland, OT (No. 71)

NFL Mock Draft Database draft projection as of 12/16: 3rd round

Scouting report via (full report)

Freeland is a smothering run blocker in situations where he’s able to set the hook early and latch onto defenders. He’s got urgent push, effective grip strength, and a high level of reach to ensure he’s sticky on blocks and allows his backs to cut off his hip as needed. Freeland’s best film comes in the run game; they’ve asked him to pull or stretch the point of attack and his feel for angles initially on the A-level of the defense stands out here. He’s also intelligent in pass protection to identify opportunities to pass off or exchange his gap versus games, offering forcible encouragement to his guard to step inside. Freeland is a hulking presence on the line and his wingspan alone is a deterrent to defenders looking to shoot gaps and attack the backfield. While he doesn’t offer a lot of explosiveness through his hands, his punches are typically well-timed and he shows presence to try to leverage them into an ideal fit on the move.

Jarren Hall, QB (No. 3, considered doubtful)

Career stats (four seasons): 65.2% completion, 6,174 yards, 52 TDs, 11 INTs, 181 carries, 800 yards, 9 TDs

NMDD draft projection as of 12/16: 4th round

Scouting report via TDN (full report)

Jaren Hall illustrated the abilities of a high-level quarterback prospect during his 10 starts in 2021. He oozes potential and did well for himself as a first-year starter with the Cougars. He’s got nearly every proverbial club in the bag as a passer: he can throw with velocity on his platform from the pocket, he illustrates touch working throws overtop of second-level defenders, and can throw with precision accuracy in the shorter areas of the field while rolling out to his right. I was impressed by how many throws he was willing to take to the field last year, pushing throws with velocity and timing to both outs and comebacks outside the numbers. Hall’s instincts within the pocket are quite strong, too—he was more proficient than most first-year starters at keeping his eyes downfield and sliding within the pocket to avoid the rush. This allows him to extend plays at a high level and he’s hit several big plays as a result of moving with the intention to throw and feeling where the pocket affords him room. The baseball background pops too, as Hall can throw from various angles and in crowded pockets if needed and he’s comfortable with adjusting his delivery. Some of his best throws last year came with a blocker and defender in his lap. As an athlete, he’s dynamic. He pulled the ball several times last year (either on designed draws, zone read, or scrambles) and created explosive plays on the ground, including a huge touchdown run versus Baylor on a 4th-and-short near midfield. He’s got all the tools. I’m fascinated to see what this season looks like with contests against Baylor, Oregon, Notre Dame, Arkansas, and Stanford on deck.

Clark Barrington, OT (No. 56)

NMDD draft projection as of 12/16: 7th round

Scouting report via TDN (full report)

Clark Barrington has several years of starting experience at the collegiate level and has served as a staple of the Cougars’ offensive line over the last few years. The inside zone and gap concepts the Cougars implemented offered a great look at his best qualities—he’s proficient in the run game and offers effective vertical and horizontal push to create creases and voids in the front. As a pass protector, Barrington offers a big frame and effective influence. Defenders who test him directly into his set will find him difficult to collapse. I thought he did well in climbs to the second level as well, offering enough mobility and range to pick off linebackers and ensure running creases are set for his back to carry through for chunk gains. He takes good angles in these instances, coming off of the line of scrimmage or parlaying out of combo blocks.

Puka Nacua, WR (No. 12, status uncertain)

Career stats (four seasons): 107 catches, 1,749 yards, 14 TDs, 39 rushes, 357 yards, 5 TDs

NMDD draft projection as of 12/16: UDFA

Scouting report via TDN (full report)

Nacua is a well-built perimeter wide receiver with the ball skills and physicality to win down the field with consistency. Nacua has a high level of bounce to his frame as well and went vertical to attack several targets above the rim throughout the course of his film study. It is easy to be impressed with how he pairs his vertical receiving skill set with complementary pieces of the position as well—he is super physical both as a short target with YAC opportunities and as a blocker on the boundary. That physicality pops up at the catch point as well. He’s firm with his hand fighting and offers post-up ability against defensive backs. When paired with tremendous sideline awareness, he can be the receiver his quarterback throws timing targets to and trust Nacua will be where he needs to be to complete the catch.