We are officially in April and less than three weeks away from the NFL Draft! The Las Vegas Raiders are wrapping up their top 30 visits and putting the final touches on their big board, and our mailbag is all questions about the draft this week so let’s get to it!
Question: Any chance the Raiders draft Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, CB, TCU? Also, what round do you project him to go?
Answer: First of all, my sincerest apologies to this person as this question was supposed to be in last week’s mailbag but it ended up slipping through the cracks. Hand up, that’s on me. That being said, this question ties in nicely with an article I wrote earlier this week and that might have changed my answer.
The biggest knock on Hodges-Tomlinson is his size as he measured in at 5’7.5” and 178 pounds at the NFL Combine. That’s likely going to push him into more of a nickelback or slot corner role in the eyes of the league’s decision-makers, and the Raiders already have several players who can play that spot in Nate Hobbs, Tyler Hall, Amik Robertson and Bryce Cosby.
However, one of my takeaways from going through Josh McDaniels’ draft classes was that he’s never drafted a corner that is taller than 6 feet, and he has even taken a couple of guys who were 5’9”. Plus, Las Vegas also signed Duke Shelley, who is also 5’9”, as a free agent this offseason, so height clearly isn’t much of a factor for the coaching staff when it comes to the secondary.
Given that, Hodges-Tomlinson could definitely be on McDaniels’ and Dave Ziegler’s radars, likely in the third or fourth round as that’s where the Horned Frog is currently projected to land, per NFL Mock Draft Database’s consensus big board. According to PFF, he led the country with 21 forced incompletions last year which would be a welcomed sight on the Silver and Black’s defense.
Q: Have you done any work on iOL (later round) guys? Hopefully, I haven’t missed it if you have.
A: You haven’t missed anything as I haven’t gotten deep into the weeds of the interior offensive line class. However, through working with Brandon Thorn at Bleacher Report, I can give you a few names of some Day 3 guys who Brandon appears to be higher on than most, as well as a few cliff notes from their scouting reports.
As a prospect, Patterson possesses very good size for an interior offensive lineman—he has good height with a stocky lower half. He is an average athlete who offers just average foot quickness and lateral agility. Patterson is an excellent run blocker who plays with very good pad level for a blocker who is as tall as he is. He comes off the ball hard, works his hands inside, and has good leg drive to generate movement.
Sidy Sow, Eastern Michigan, scouting report via NFL Draft Buzz
Big athlete with good bulk and a filled-out frame. Stays balanced and doesn’t overextend in pass protection. Stays disciplined with good bend and leverage.
Bursts offthe line of scrimmage and has tremendous natural strength and power, able to dominate at the point of attack and wipe out defenders in the run game.
Does a nice job on the second level, moving upfield quickly and showing the flexibility and balance to land blocks in space.
Takes much more pride in the run game, where Sow plays through the whistle with tremendous physicality.
Coordinated when moving to the second level as a run blocker, capable of landing blocks on the move.
Alex Forsyth, Oregon, scouting report via B/R
Alex Forsyth is a three-year starter inside Oregon’s multiple run game. He made 28 starts at center and spent time as a reserve at both guard spots and right tackle. He’s a renowned teammate and leader inside the locker room with excellent football character. Physically, he has a lean, narrow build with solid movement skills and middling raw power.
Forsyth wins with efficiency in his footwork and use of hands as a run- and pass-blocker. In the run game, he gets into his fits with sound hat and hand placement on combination and back blocks to create quick leverage on defenders.
Q: I’m assuming the Raiders are going to draft Gonzalez, Wilson or a quarterback at #7, so what second-round defensive tackles do you like?
A: I’ve been a big proponent of Siaki Ika out of Baylor for a while now. He’s slid down draft boards since the summer but is still worthy of a second-round pick, in my opinion. He’d be a great replacement for Andrew Billings as a space-eater in the middle of the defensive line, and Ika was a good pass-rusher for a nose tackle as a junior, so he has the potential to blossom into an every-down player, too.
Wisconsin’s Keeanu Benton can also plug up gaps against the run, but he doesn’t have as much upside as a rusher. Granted, he did show off some impressive moves at the Senior Bowl where he lined up at 3-technique more frequently than he did in Madison.
I’m also a big fan of Tuli Tuipulotu out of USC, but he’s probably more of an edge after weighing in at 266 pounds in Indianapolis. The Trojans kind of used him all over the place so he does have some versatility to play inside occasionally at the next level.
That’ll do it for this week’s mailbag. Thank you all for submitting questions and, as your weekly reminder, if you’d like to have your questions answered in a future column, tweet them at me, @MHolder95, or email them to SBPQuestions1@gmail.com.