Oakland Raiders 2017 Draft Review

May 3, 2017

1st/24 Gareon Conley, CB

Ht.: 6-0 Wt.: 195 School: Ohio State

A week ago there was talk of Conley being a top 10 pick and possibly the best cornerback in this class. However, a sexual assault accusation really clouded things with Conley. Oakland must feel very confident that Conley will be proven innocent because if he is found guilty they wasted a pick on a rapist. On the field Conley would go a long way to improving a secondary where Sean Smith and David Amerson struggled through the year.


2nd/56 Obi Melifonwu, S

Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 224 School: Connecticut

The Pre-Draft process was very kind to Melifonwu who rocked up draft boards after an impressive showing at the Senior Bowl and then a record setting performance at the Combine. Melifonwu is a tremendous athlete how shows the ability to play back in zone coverage while also matching up with receivers into his zone. Safety isn’t a huge need so Melifonwu may be used as a chess piece as his skill set suggests he could play cornerback also.


3rd/88 Eddie Vanderdoes, DT

Ht.: 6’3 Wt: 305 School: UCLA

Head coach Jack Del Rio likes to have massive defensive tackles in the middle of his defense and after Dan Williams was cut they lacked that space eater. Vanderdoes is a strong run defender who uses his size and sneaky quickness to get into offensive lineman’s pads to clog up the lane. His weight increased after tearing his ACL, but if he can get it to stay down the Raiders could have a dominant run defender.


4th/129 David Shapre, OT

Ht.: 6-6 Wt.: 343 School: Florida

Using his massive frame Sharpe is able to shield defenders away from the ball and push pass rushers past the pocket. Sharpe is a limited athlete who struggles with lateral agility and knee bend which can cause balance issues that leave him on the ground. In a poor offensive tackle class the Raiders hope they can develop him into a capable right tackle.


5th/168 Marquel Lee, LB

Ht.: 6’0 Wt.: 240 School: Wake Forest

An aggressive linebacker Lee thrives attacking downhill as he finished in the top 15 nationally with 20 tackles for loss in 2016. Lee’s struggles dropping into coverage will cause him to come off the field but he could develop into a solid early down middle linebacker and key special teams player.


7th/221 Shalom Luani, S

Ht.: 5-11 Wt.: 202 School: Washington State

As the Washington State strong safety Luani showed the ability to come up and make plays in front of him. Luani has some coverage skills working underneath and reacting to the receivers coming in front. Special teams would seem like a logical spot but a poor tackler could cause him to be cut before the season starts.


7th/231 Jylan Ware, OT

Ht.: 6-8 Wt.: 317 School: Alabama State

The seventh round is where big athletic prospects are normally drafted and Ware is no different. At 6-8 Ware dominated the FCS with quick feet but short arms raise questions whether he can play tackle in the NFL. He’ll get a shot to compete at right tackle but may have to move inside to guard.


7th/242 Elijah Hood, RB

Ht.: 5-11 Wt.: 232 School: North Carolina

Hood is a physical power back to can get the tough yards between the tackles and be a weapon in short yard or goal line situations. But lacking good quickness and speed really limit Hood who may struggle to make the team now that Marshawn Lynch came out of retirement.


7th/244 Treyvon Hester

Ht.: 6-2 Wt.: 300 School: Toledo

Oakland’s defensive tackles struggled in 2016 only registering five and half sacks. Hester had some durability concerns but when healthy he is an aggressive up field tackle that uses burst to get into the backfield. He may not become a starter but if can be a sub package pass rusher the Raiders will be happy.


Best Pick

Conley (first round)


Upside Pick

Vanderdoes (third)


Overall Thoughts

Oakland started off the draft well by taking two highly rated players who fell lower than most experts that thought. But after that the Raiders used the draft to select developmental prospects rather than finding impact players to fill their holes. It’s hard to say the Raiders are better after this draft.

Grade: C

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