Oakland Raiders 2014 Draft – Five Prospects From The East-West Shrine Game

David Wilson – Jan 20, 2014

The Superbowl might not yet be over, but the off season has already started for the Oakland Raiders, and scouting the college all star games is always a good place to start.

 The East-West Shrine Game might not have the first round talent that the Senior Bowl does, but some guys here will play themselves into being drafted on the second day. A few years ago Jared Veldheer did that very thing and the Raiders got a bargain in the third round.

Likewise last year LB Sio Moore was a standout at this game, and was also drafted by the Raiders in the third round. He happened to make the NFL All Rookie squad , and was the best performer amongst all Raider draftees.

So my point is, don’t sleep on the Shrine Game…

I’m not here to talk about any of the higher profile prospects who played here, I’m only here to talk about those prospects who stood out from their peers and could be of interest to the Raiders.

Five players at this game performed well enough, at need positions for Oakland, that they will get a look on the second day of the draft.  

1. Jimmy Garoppolo QB – Eastern Illinois. At just over 6’2” and 225 lbs, Garoppolo isn’t big for a QB, and neither does he have a particularly strong arm. What he does have is the ability to see the field, make good decisions, and get the ball out quickly. He throws a tight spiral with good accuracy, and clearly separated himself from the other quarterbacks present, both in practice and the game. Due to his excellent week, he has earned an invite to the Senior Bowl (practice starts today), and is a fast riser up draft boards. He could go as high as the early second round.

2. Carrington Byndom CB – Texas. Byndom was not only the best player at his position all week, he was also one of the three players interviewed by the Raiders, who clearly have an interest. He fits a Dennis Allen type defense very well, because although he is not particularly big (5’11”, 190lbs), he is extremely physical. He possesses great cover skills, and has the ability to turn his head and look for the ball whilst in coverage even deep down field. That collection of skills is going to get you noticed by the scouts, and Byndom will another whose draft stock is rising.

3. Jordan Najvar TE – Baylor. Oakland struggled badly at tight end last year, and must be looking to upgrade the position. Najvar only caught 10 passes for 85 yards in his senior year (and not much more any other year), but really put on a show all week with his blocking and pass receiving skills (phenomenal was a word used by more than one scout). He clearly has the physical tools at 6’6” & 262lbs, but showed some real acrobatics reeling in passes in practice. Coach Romeo Crennel named him as the most outstanding player on the squad. Likely to be a third day pick in the draft, but najvar did more to help himself than any other player here.

4. Dakota Dozier G – Furman. The small school tackle translates as a guard in the NFL, being 6’4” and 312lbs. He played that position all week, and stood out more than any other offensive lineman, showing he could live with the players from bigger schools. He impressed in both run and pass blocking, and showed enough athleticism to get to the second level and be effective there too. His combination of strength and speed makes him a fit for both power and zone schemes. Oakland is desperate for help on the interior offensive line, and Dozier would be a late second/early third day pick.

5. Will Clarke DE –West Virginia. Clarke looks the part at 6’6” and 277lbs. In practice and in the game he showed the strength to hold up against the run, and consistently showed a fast first step and speed to the edge. His size gives him the versatility to play in Jason Tarver’s multiple system, and possibly the most pressing need for the Oakland defense is to get to the quarterback.  He had a sack in the game itself, and constantly applied pressure.

Of course there were more players that performed well, but this group looked to me like they have the possibility to end up as Raiders.

The two other players that Oakland interviewed were Purdue cornerback Ricardo Allen, and Tennessee running back Rajion Neal.

Stay tuned for the Senior Bowl report next week…

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