Five players the Oakland Raiders should be keeping an eye on in the 2017 Shrine Game.
With a deep class of underclassmen declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft, the Shrine Game lacks much of a spotlight. While most Day 1 seniors have skipped on the risk, there is still intriguing talent to for Reggie McKenzie and the Oakland Raiders to single out.
Here are five players the Raiders should be watching in the Shrine Game.
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Sep 10, 2016; Durham, NC, USA; Wake Forest Demon Deacons linebacker Marquel Lee (8) celebrates after a sack during the third quarter against the Duke Blue Devils at Wallace Wade Stadium. Wake defeated Duke 24-14. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Marquel Lee, LB, Wake Forest (6’3″, 240 lbs.)
The 2nd team All-ACC player has flown under the radar as a player, of no fault of his own. At 6’3”, 240 pounds, Lee has the size to play all three positions in Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton’s 4-3 scheme.
Lee plays well going downhill and should get a chance to flash his range and coverage skills during the game.
With the suspect play of Malcolm Smith and much of Oakland’s linebacker group, adding Lee could give the Raiders a talented player while also filling a major need.
Nov 19, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; Miami Hurricanes defensive back Jamal Carter Sr. (6) tackles North Carolina State Wolfpack wide receiver Kelvin Harmon (3) after a catch during the first half at Carter Finley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports
Carter consistently flashes a willingness and ability to roll into the box and constrict space against the run. With a potential star in Karl Joseph already in tow for Oakland, it’s important to find another safety with range, ball skills and awareness behind him to add versatility to the Raiders’ coverage schemes.
Nov 26, 2016; Corvallis, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks wide receiver Charles Nelson (6) and Oregon State Beavers cornerback Treston Decoud (14) fight for the ball in the second half at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports
Treston Decoud, Cornerback, Oregon State (6’3″, 208 lbs.)
Decoud’s best asset is his size at 6’3”, which is something Reggie McKenzie, Jack Del Rio and Ken Norton Jr. all covet in cornerbacks.
On film, Decoud shows he has comfort in his back pedal — an important starting point for any tall defensive back. After only logging 2 interceptions this year, he will have to prove himself as a playmaker. He also needs to display himself as a technician by turning his hips quickly and driving to contest routes.
If Oakland is confident in Sean Smith and/or David Amerson, Decoud is worth a late-round pick to compete as CB2.
Nov 19, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Utes running back Joe Williams (28) runs with the ball during the first half against the Oregon Ducks at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Williams, Running Back, Utah (5-11, 205 lbs)
The Raiders have had a hard time finding an every down back of late. With Latavius Murray’s contract coming up, finding inexpensive talent to develop is an attractive option.
Williams is an effective downhill back, tallying over 1,000 yards rushing despite the games he missed while considering retirement. His familiarity with a power-style offense at Utah can help Oakland generate more production in the run game, and his burst through holes shows confidence in his reads.
Williams is not shifty, so he’s going to have to run through tackles at the 2nd and 3rd levels to create offense in the pros.
Oct 8, 2016; Laramie, WY, USA; Air Force Falcons wide receiver Jalen Robinette (9) makes a catch against Wyoming Cowboys cornerback Antonio Hull (21) during the third quarter at War Memorial Stadium. The Cowboys beat the Falcons 35-26. Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports
Jalen Robinette, Wide Receiver, Air Force (6-4, 215 lbs)
One of the most important facets of a modern passing game is the ability to into different spots on the field. Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree dominate from the perimeter now, but putting them in the slot opens up the offense much more.
Having a large WR to play outside, like Robinette, can help. Despite his size, he’s not a slow WR, and he tracks the ball well in the air. He did not play in an offense that required running the entire route tree, so his ability to separate from similar or better competition is a key throughout practices and game day.