LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Offensive line will be one of the Las Vegas Raiders’ top priorities in this year’s NFL Draft as they could certainly add some depth to the position group. University of Washington’s Jaxson Kirkland is slated as a potential fifth-round pick (as of 1/28) according to NFLMockDraftDatabase.com and has experience playing three different positions on the line.
That could make Kirkland a valuable Day 3 pick for the Raiders, and he told me he spoke to the team’s brass at the East-West Shrine Bowl. Below is a transcript of our conversation.
Question: What are you looking to get out of this week?
Answer: I just kind of want to show the type of player I am and that’s physical. I want to bring that, showing that violence to the game that I have and just, you know, prove that also that I’m the most versatile player in the draft too, because I played three positions at [Washington and] started at them for some time. So just a culmination of all that.
Q: Do you feel more comfortable in one spot versus the others?
A: I want to prove that I can play all of them because I do feel comfortable at all of them. If you look at how many games were spent at each one it’s like almost even. It wasn’t dominated more by one position. It was all spread out. So I feel comfortable at each.
Q: Do you know if are you going to be playing all different positions throughout this week?
A: I know for a fact I’ll be playing left guard and left tackle. And I assume since I’ll play left guard, might as well play right guard too.
Q: What are you looking to get out of speaking with teams and doing stuff in the classroom?
A: I definitely want to demonstrate my football IQ when asked to. That’s a big attribute of my game, but also demonstrate that I’m a captain and a leader. I just want to show that whatever team gets me...you’re gonna great locker room guy, someone who’s gonna elevate the standard and demand the best out of the players next to him.
Q: Maybe there’s some you’ll figure out during the week but I’m curious at an event like this where everyone’s a senior and coming in not having played with each other before, how do you kind of show that leadership?
I just think it doesn’t have to be like a vocal rah-rah guy. But I just want to bring that vibe, you know. Kind of just tell the guys ‘let’s get after this d-line right here’. Or like in a rep or something, I’m just congratulating someone and being that guy that’s kind of getting everyone around the line to feel good about their play.
Q: Is there a lineman in the NFL that you’d like to model your game after?
A: Yeah, definitely. I think Taylor Lewan is one for sure. I just love the temperament that he plays with and his love for the game that you see on tape, but also his technique. To me, he is an extremely athletic left tackle and does some great stuff there. So I’ve always modeled my game after him.
Q: How did your conversation go with the Raiders?
A: It went great. Kind of just [went over my] background and after all of that, [my] career at [Washington], just trying to get to know me and tell them who I am as a player.
In addition to the Raiders, Kirkland told me he also met with the Arizona Cardinals and New York Giants on the first day of the Shrine Bowl. So, there certainly is some interest in the versatile offensive lineman around the league.