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Oakland Raiders 2015 NFL Draft Grades

Posted By: Chris Ransom on 5/13/2015

Oakland Raiders 2015 NFL Draft Grades

Chris Ransom grades the Oakland Raiders 2015 NFL Draft. Does Oakland have a bright future after drafting Amari Cooper with the fourth pick in the 2015 NFL Draft?

4. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama A+ Grade

Oakland would have received an A+ grade for taking either Amari Cooper or Leonard Williams. Cooper gives you a weapon for Derek Carr to throw to. I'm not sure how Leonard Williams would have adjusted to a 4-3 defensive tackle, but I still think he would have been a better fit for the Raiders than the Jets.

Cooper had 59 receptions, 1,000 receiving yards, and 11 receiving touchdowns as a true freshman. He had a sophomore slump much like Sammy Watkins at Clemson before catching 124 passes for 1,727 receiving yards, and 16 receiving touchdowns.

Amari Cooper has hands like glue just like A.J. Green. He's also a very precise route runner with the ability to run spot on routes with short routes, medium routes, and deep routes in the passing game. His tremendous football IQ and work ethic will enable him to succeed.

Oakland already brought in Michael Crabtree in Free Agency. Then the Raiders' draft Amari Cooper to compliment Crabtree. Derek Carr has two effective wide receivers that are upgrades over the targets he threw to during his rookie season.

35. Mario Edwards, LE, Florida State A+ Grade

Mario Edwards also known as Mario Edwards Jr. because his father had the same name is an incredible athlete. This athletic defensive lineman has the versatility to play any position in a 4-3 defense whether it's the right end who goes up against a left tackle, a left end that goes up against a right tackle, or a defensive tackle in the middle. This guy also can be used as a 5-tecnique edge rusher in a 3-4 defense.

Oakland has Justin Tuck at right end and needs a left end with Lamaar Woodley gone. Edwards will thrive at left end because he excels at run stuffing, swatting the football, pass rushing, and does a good job dropping back into coverage. Edwards is not a sack artist that gets you 10 sacks a year, but he can do everything else you look for in a defensive end which is why this is an awesome pick.

Edwards dominated his NFL Combine and Florida State's Pro Day leading up to the NFL Draft. Teams like the Detroit Lions and Carolina Panthers came away very impressed with Edwards individual workouts in Carolina and Detroit. You cannot blame Oakland for going with Edwards here because a majority of the pass rushers were off the board.

You can point out how Eli Harold and Randy Gregory were still there. Harold is more of an outside linebacker and Gregory has character issues. This was another awesome pick by the Raiders.

68. Clive Walford, TE, Miami FL A+ Grade

Clive Walford was a 4-year starter at the University of Miami FL. His best season came in 2014 when he caught 44 receptions, 676 receiving yards, and 7 receiving touchdowns.

Walford's tape with the Miami Hurricanes has mixed reviews. Walford had some outstanding games in 2014 where he picked apart strong safeties like Jalen Ramsey out of Florida State and Anthony Harris where he got over 100 receiving yards against both safeties. Walford is a natural at catching the ball in traffic and using his body to reel in catches or block defensive linemen on running plays. He's a 3 down tight end. His biggest questions were his speed, route running, and catching balls in the deep passing game when secondaries operate a Cover 2 defense.

Walford had an awesome Senior Bowl week. He corrected questions about his route running. This guy will catch anything in the short or medium passing game. He can also outrun linebackers and cornerbacks with his size and speed. Walford also had the 4th fastest 40 time at the NFL Combine displaying good blocking, but inconsistent catching during the Gauntlet drill in Indianapolis. Walford went back to Miami's Pro Day in Florida where he had a solid, but not a spectacular day.

I had Maxx Williams and Devin Funchess as my top 2 tight ends in this years draft. Both tight ends went in the second round, but Funchess might move to wide receiver. Oakland got premium value with Walford in the third round because Walford could have been a late second round pick. Another awesome pick by the Raiders.

128. Jon Feliciano, RG, Miami FL A+ Grade

Jon Feliciano has the versatility to play left guard, right guard, or right tackle. He weighed 6-5 316 lbs at the 2015 NFL Combine, but did not participate in the bench press at his NFL Combine or his Pro Day.

Feliciano is quick to react to blitzes which is why he's an excellent pass blocker. He's also a good run blocker when it comes to making contact with the defenders, but lacks the imposing run blocking strength to push defenders back on running plays when executing his blocks.

Oakland has Donald Penn at left tackle, Austin Howard at right tackle, and Gabe Jackson at left guard. Feliciano can come in and be the starting right guard for the Oakland Raiders right away.

140. Ben Heeney, MLB, Kansas B Grade

I originally gave this a B- grade. When you consider that Curtis Lofton is the only middle linebacker on the depth chart you have to move this up to a B grade.

Ben Heeney had 3 consecutive seasons at Kansas with a minimum of 87 total tackles and 3 consecutive seasons with 11.5 tackles for a loss after being named the starter as a sophomore.

Heeney can get you turnovers because he had 3 interceptions as a junior and 2 forced fumbles as a senior.

Heeney is an outstanding run stuffer. His 6-0 220 lb size makes him a backup at best. his inconsistent play in zone coverage also makes him a liability as a starter. He will be a quality backup though.

161. Neiron Ball, ROLB, Florida C Grade

Neiron Ball isn't a 100 tackle type of guy. He does have the versatility to play right outside linebacker or left outside linebacker on either side at outside linebacker in a 4-3 defense. Sio Moore and Khalil Mack both have that versatility and you can plug Moore or Mack in as a starter on the weak side in the WILL or the strong side in the SAM.

Ball will likely compete with Malcolm Smith who had the pick 6 in Super Bowl 48 to be the backup right outside linebacker. Expect Ball to be a third string right outside linebacker.

Ball was an excellent special teams tackler at Florida. I think Ball will be a starter on special teams even though he will be a third stringer on the roster. Putting Ball on special teams allows Sio Moore, Khalil Mack, and Malcolm Smith to strictly focus on defense.

177. Max Valles, LOLB, Virginia A Grade

Max Valles had 55 tackles, 12.5 tackles for a loss, and 8 sacks in 2014. Despite being the starting left end at Virginia, he was more productive than teammate Eli Harold. Valles is a left end with the size of a left outside linebacker. He will be overmatched against offensive tackles and left guards with his 6-5 240 lb frame in the NFL despite giving right tackles hell at Virginia.

Valles can get by right guards in the NFL. For now Valles has to worry about beating out Ray Ray Armstrong for the backup right outside linebacker job. Armstrong was a strong safety at Miami, so I like Valles odds of winning that backup left outside linebacker gig where he will learn behind Khalil Mack or Sio Moore.

218. Anthony Morris, RT, Tennessee State D Grade

This was the only pick I really disliked. Oakland does need offensive tackle depth, but there are better guys available than Anthony Moore. Moore's teammate Robert Meyers a right guard on Tennessee State would have been a better pick even though the Raiders took Jon Feliciano earlier in the draft.

221. Andre DeBose, WR, Florida A Grade

Andre DeBose is the 2015 NFL Draft's version of Devin Hester. He had amazing highlights on special teams as a return man at Florida and will bring that same speed and infectious presence to Oakland as a return man on kick returns and punt returns.

242. Dexter McDonald, CB, Kansas A- Grade

Dexter McDonald was a boundary cornerback on Kansas. Still, Oakland needed a #2 cornerback. This guy gets beat in man and zone coverage if you have a fast route runner, but is very physical. He can miss a tackle from time to time, but is very aggressive and gritty in press coverage.

McDonald will thrive if he is in a press coverage scheme and if he can keep NFL receivers to under 5 yards on each play. McDonald still needs to be coached up with his man and zone coverage.

Another concern with McDonald is grabbing players by the helmet or collar. If he does that in the NFL he will get penalized. He showed this in a road game against Kansas State where he grabbed wide receiver Tyler Lockett in the photo above.

Still I like this pick, McDonald may need to be coached up a bit, but I can see him blossoming in Oakland. Even if he falters, it's only a seventh round pick.

Oakland Raiders Team Grade: A+ Grade

Last year the Raiders got an A+ grade for every single pick they made in 2014. This year they are getting 4 starters in the first 4 rounds rather than 3 starters in the first 3 rounds with outside linebacker Khalil Mack, quarterback Derek Carr, and left guard Gabe Jackson.

This was another spectacular draft for Oakland. Part of me wonders if Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie stole the Austin Powers mojo that Ted Thompson had on Draft Day in Green Bay.

These rookies will contribute early and often showing great promise. Oakland is still a year away from contention, but I believe the Raiders go 5-3 at home with a 6-10 record showing lots of progress under Jack Del Rio in year 1 with Mike Smith as their defensive coordinator.

If the offense falters it is due to poor playcalling by the senile Bill Musgrave who once coached backup quarterback Christian Ponder in Minnesota during the Leslie Frazier era.

Oakland Raiders 2014 NFL Draft Grades

Posted By Chris Ransom on 5/12/2014

Chris Ransom breaks down the Raiders 2014 NFL Draft grades.

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