Over the course of May, both Joe Marino and I will be assessing each team’s specific Draft class. The objective here is to identify value: where it was best and where it was worst. NDT Premium members will soon be able to access the comprehensive breakdowns of draft classes as well, which looks at the pick by pick breakdown of value across our respective 2017 NFL Draft boards. Today I look at the Oakland Raiders.
The full list of their 2017 NFL Draft class is below:
|24||CB||Gareon Conley||Ohio State|
|168||LB||Marquel Lee||Wake Forest|
|221||SAF||Shalom Luani||Washington State|
|231||OT||Jylan Ware||Alcorn State|
|242||RB||Elijah Hood||North Carolina|
Best Value: LB Marquel Lee, Wake Forest
The addition of Lee has the chance to pay huge dividends for Oakland. The team currently has Ben Heeney and Cory James lined up to compete for the MIKE role. Lee has a notable presence physically and could challenge in the long run to add some stout play on the interior. Competition is not especially stiff to earn a starting role and Lee plays an effective brand of football between the tackles.
The Raiders had one of the best draft classes of the year and going strictly off the value, Lee was their best addition in comparison to my personal draft board. (Lee was my 101st rated player in 2017.)
Worst Value: CB Gareon Conley, Ohio State
How good was the Raiders’ class? Conley was a player I had rated in the 40s and he’s qualifying as the “worst value”. The Raiders got plus value against my draft board for all other picks made in the top 200 minus the Eddie Vanderdoes selection (-7).
My ranking of Conley did not account for his off the field accusations, rather I had some exceptions with his coverage work off the LOS. He did get a bit loose when playing in space and trying to mirror route breaks. But Conley brings a good presence when working in phase and has great ball skills.
Don’t look at the Conley slotting here as a red mark on the pick. Rather it’s just an indication of how well the Raiders drafted in 2017.
Could Surprise: OT David Sharpe, Florida
Taking a look at the Raiders’ interior line and you’ll see a lot of beef. Sharpe is an extension of that and he definitely fits the mold that Oakland has gravitated towards when targeting offensive linemen.
Sharpe’s physical skills and natural athleticism are a stunning blend. There are technical issues that are going to require polish and attention; yet Sharpe’s upside is evident.
The chance to sit behind Donald Penn should allow him to get himself in sync and eliminate a lot of his bad reps.