Over the course of May, both Kyle Crabbs 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||S||Shalom Luani||Washington State|
|231||OT||Jylan Ware||Alcorn State|
|242||RB||Elijah Hood||North Carolina|
Best Value: S Obi Melifonwu, Connecticut
Obi Melifonwu is a highly attractive prospect because he combines his off-the-charts physical tools with impressive coverage skills. His ability to line up in a variety of positions and match up with move tight ends and larger slot receivers, provides the defensive scheme a wide degree of multiplicity in the coverage packages and alignments it can run.
There are plenty of instances where Melifonwu plays below his weight class as a tackler and he fails to make tackles expected given his size and tackle radius. There is a high-end starters skills and traits to be developed with more polish as a tackler and defending the run.
Worst Value: LB Marquel Lee, Wake Forest
Marquel Lee is a throwback linebacker who is a downhill gap-plugger that functions well between the tackles. He is a good tackler and does well to deal with power that is head-on.
Unfortunately his game doesn’t translate well to today’s NFL, where linebackers must be able to run, chase, and cover. Lee has limited range to work towards the sideline and is a liability in coverage. Lee will need to prove himself on special teams and dominate as an extra linebacker in short yardage situations.
Could Surprise: DT Treyvon Hester, Toledo
Treyvon Hester dropped 20 pounds prior to his senior season, and it proved to be an excellent move. He improved his athleticism, which resulted in his best football at the end of his career. Hester is an active player off the ball that strikes quickly in the neutral zone with violent hands. Capable of resetting the line of scrimmage and quickly finding the football, Hester puts stress on blockers to quickly square their hips. Hester has good burst and hand usage as a pass-rusher, making him a viable three-down player.
Hester does need to improve his pad level, as much of what he initially gains with his activity off the ball is quickly mitigated because his pads get too high. There are also noticeable moments during which his motor runs cold. Hester profiles as a rotational 3-technique in a 4-3 alignment and offers some upside to grow.