Grading the Raiders Draft Day 2

Andrew Flores – Apr 28, 2017

With Day two of the 2017 NFL Draft offically over here are my thoughts on the Raiders newest picks. 

Round 2, Pick 56: Obi Melifonwu - S, UConn

Personally, Obi was a selection that I would have liked for the Raiders in the first round. While that may have been a slight reach, Obi could be the best safety in this draft. This selection was an absolute steal as the Raiders were able to snag a player that should have been a late first round pick. Obi has rare talent. His athleticism jumps off the screen when you turn on the tape. His ability in coverage is something that will be on display from the moment he steps on the field. Does an excellent job of shadowing his man and has the athleticism to lineup at corner if the Raiders ask him to. In almost all of the film I watched Obi was always around the play. Range is exceptional, Obi is a true sideline to sideline player. In looking at the areas he could improve in I have to note that he plays soft for his size. He will need to become a more physical player. Going forward I would love to see him make those attitude plays. At times Obi will hesitate before coming up to make a hit and can play a bit too much in his head. He will need to continue to develop his instincts in order to be successful at the NFL level. Read and react will need to develop more at the next level, as he left some plays on the field.  

While, the Raiders have Reggie Nelson at safety he was thoroughly unimpressive last season and the Raiders needed to look at developing his heir. Obi will be a solid player for this Raiders team from day one. But will need time before he reaches his true potential as a blue-chip talent. Expect him to see snaps in coverage against tight-ends early on.  Obi could end up taking over for Reggie Nelson around the midway point of the season. Eventually, I see him developing into a dominant playmaking safety, with the ability to shut down the NFL’s top tight-ends.  This selection could give the Raiders the best safety tandem in the NFL. 

Grade A

If I could give it a higher grade I would

Round 3, pick 88: Eddie Vanderdoes – DT, UCLA

A stout and powerful defensive lineman Vanderdoes is rarely driven off the line of scrimmage. His power flashes on tape but he will need to refine his technique to make an impact in the NFL. His ability to engage double-teams makes him an excellent complement to Jihad Ward and Mario Edwards Jr. along the interior of this Raiders defensive line. The California kid was a five-star recruit coming out of high school, but did not manage to play to his full potential in his time at UCLA. He did have weight issues in his time at UCLA, although there are some who have argued that this was a concern that was overblown as injuries did play a part in his weight gain. He offers very little to no pressure from the interior of the defensive line. Going forward he will need to continue to develop moves as a rusher. He did show off a nice spin move.

The bottom line is Vanderdoes does have the athleticism to develop into a solid defensive lineman for this Raiders team. In evaluating him I can’t help but feel that he could end up developing into a surprise steal. His issues are correctable, and his strength as an anchor along the defensive line could help solidify the Raiders run defense.

Grade B

Final thoughts:

As the Raiders head into the 4th round of the draft the top 5 players I have an eye on.

  1. Carl Lawson - DE, Auburn
  2. Malachi Dupre - WR, LSU
  3. Bucky Hodges - TE, Virginia Tech
  4. Zach Banner - OT, USC
  5. Julie’n Davenport - OT, Bucknell

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