Oakland Raiders 2014 Draft: Senior Bowl Day One

David Wilson – Jan 21, 2014

Highlight from day one of the Senior Bowl week, covering the highs and lows of those prospects who might be on the Oakland Raiders draft radar.

As per numerous scouting reports, there were two big winners today in the first round of practices, and both could be of interest to the Raiders

 

Aaron Donald DT – Pittsburgh. The knock on Donald was that at just over 6’ tall and 288lbs, he was too small to translate well to the Pros. If his game film and production weren’t enough to win you over, he started in dominating style in practice. Matched up against Cyril Richardson, he beat him convincingly on four straight matchups, with speed inside and out, and then finally steamrollering Richardson with a bull rush that put the former Baylor tackle flat on his back.

Considering that Richardson is considerably bigger (6’4 ½” & 348 lbs) than Donald, and also a late first round projection, I defy anyone not to take notice of Aaron Donald as an elite prospect in this draft.

His size, skill set and playing style will remind many on a similarly undersized (but dominant) defensive tackle in Cincinnati’s Geno Atkins.

Donald won every single college award he was eligible for. The Outland Trophy, Bednarik Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, and the Lombardi Award all went to Donald, who beat out the likes of Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews, and South Carolina’s Jadaveon Clowney for those trophies. Why he is not in the discussion as a top ten prospect I do not know.


Zach Martin OT/OG – Notre Dame. Martin played tackle at South Bend, but his short arms (32 ¼”) arms may confine him to guard in the NFL.  Today Martin went up against the two leading pass rushers in college football last year, and dominated. Stanford’s Trent Murphy (15.0 sacks), and Louisville’s Marcus Smith (14.5 sacks) both had reps against him, and had no success at all. When Martin plays that well against the best players at their positions in the country, you know he is going to be a quality pro.

Martin has shown his run blocking skill all season, and also in the Rose Bowl game against Stanford.

Although guards don’t tend to get drafted high, I don’t see Martin escaping the first round come the draft in May.

I will update on these and other players as the week progresses.

The Oakland Raiders scouting staff met with Virginia defensive tackle Brent Urban on Monday, and I will feature any reports of his performance and progress.

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