The Raiders could use an upgrade at middle linebacker. Davis is an instant plug-and-play contributor for Oakland. His intelligence and character are a great fit with Khalil Mack and Derek Carr.
Davis collected 60 tackles, two sacks and four passes broken up in 2016. Davis was a strong inside presence who made a ton of clutch tackles for Florida in 2015. He was an unsung hero of one of the best defenses in the nation and was a beast who season in the SEC Championship along with the other late-season games against elite competition. In 2015, Davis totaled 98 tackles with 11 tackles for a loss, four passes broken up, an interception and 3.5 sacks.
The 6-foot-1, 238-pounder is fast, physical and instinctive. He has sideline-to-sideline speed with the athleticism to be a three-down defender. Davis could be a Mike (middle) or a Will (weakside) linebacker in a 4-3. He also could function on the inside of a 3-4.
The Raiders could use an interior disruptor and pass-rusher.
In 2016, Adams had 44 tackles with 8.5 for a loss, 4.5 sacks, two passes batted and one interception. There were times where he looked like a first-rounder with his size and speed. From a skill-set perspective, Adams is an early round talent, but his motor varies between hot and cold. The 6-foot-3, 308-pounder possesses an interesting body type that could fit as a 4-3 three-technique or a 3-4 defensive end. He had a very good Senior Bowl performance, rushing the passer really well in the one-on-ones.
In 2015, Adams had 44 tackles, three for a loss, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one pass broken up. He dominated that season's opener against Louisville and seemed poised for a massive year, but that didn't come to fruition as his motor was too inconsistent. Adams recorded 43 tackles, eight for a loss and three sacks in 2014.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Jeremy McNichols, RB, Boise State
The Raiders were able to add Marshawn Lynch, but he isn't a long-term answer. Oakland could use a mid-round pick on one of the many excellent values at running back.
McNichols (5-9, 214) doesn't have great size, but he was a tough runner for Boise State in 2016. The junior averaged 5.4 yards per carry for 1,709 yards with 23 touchdowns. He also had 37 receptions for 474 yards with four touchdowns. As a sophomore, McNichols averaged 5.6 yards per carry for 1,337 yards with 20 touchdowns. He had 51 catches for 460 yards with six scores. McNichols could at least be a back for the passing game in the NFL.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Vincent Taylor, DT/3-4DE/NT, Oklahoma State
The Raiders could use multiple interior defensive line additions.
Taylor (6-3, 304) is a sleeper prospect who could end up being a nice value pick in the mid-rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft. He has disruptive speed at the point of attack and the strength to fight off blockers. Taylor played well as a junior and decided to skip his senior year. In 2016, Taylor totaled 51 tackles with 13 for a loss, seven sacks, two forced fumbles and one pass broken up. He recorded 48 tackles with 8.5 for a loss, five sacks and a pass broken up in 2015. Taylor has quality size and athleticism with good upside to develop.
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Jordan Sterns, S, Oklahoma State
The Raiders could use some safety depth behind Karl Joseph and Reggie Nelson. Additionally, Nelson is a free agent next year.
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Kareem Are, G, Florida State
The Raiders grab some offensive line depth, and Are could be a steal.
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Ishmael Zamora, WR, Baylor
The Raiders hosted Zamora and have taken players with character issues in the past.
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Hardy Nickerson, ILB/OLB, Illinois
The Raiders further bolster the weak middle of their defense with a good run defender.
Oakland could use linebacker help badly. Here's a plug-and-play starter who could have a big impact for the Raiders' run defense and help them in pass coverage. Smith could remind Jon Gruden of Derrick Brooks. <br> <br>
From the start of the 2017 season, Smith (6-1, 225) impressed scouting sources with his great play. They compared him to the Falcons' recent second-day picks of the LSU duo of Deion Jones and Duke Riley, except they say that Smith is better than either Jones or Riley. These sources feel Smith is more on a par with Lavonte David coming out of Nebraska. There is no doubt that Smith is a fast and physical linebacker who flies around the field. He is an excellent run defender with speed and athleticism to cover in the passing game. <br> <br>
Smith amassed 137 tackles with 6.5 sacks, 11.5 tackles for a loss, one forced fumble and two passes batted in 2017. In 2016, he led Georgia in tackles with 95. Smith also had five tackles for a loss, one pass batted and two forced fumbles that season.
Oakland could use linebacker help badly. Here's a plug-and-play starter who could have a big impact for the Raiders' run defense and help them with a blitzer across from Khalil Mack. <br> <br>
Edmunds totaled 109 tackles with three forced fumbles, 5.5 sacks, 14 tackles for a loss and two passes batted in 2017. When watching the Hokies in 2016, Edmunds (6-5, 236) was impossible to ignore as he was all over the field for them. Edmunds recorded 106 tackles with 18.5 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, three passes broken up, one forced fumble and one interception that season. Edmunds is a quick, instinctive linebacker with good length.
The Raiders have needs all over their defense. Among them is corner as they need a player to go with Gareon Conley. Improving the coverage has to be at the top of the organization's mind. <br> <br>
Some team sources are very high on Ward and think he is one of the best defensive prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft. The one concern shared across the league is Ward's height, so his combine check-in is going to be looked at closely up until the time of selection. For the NFL, Ward has good speed, athleticism, ball skills, and quick feet to run the route to prevent separation. He times his reaches well and shows nice instincts to play the eyes and hands of receivers. To go along with his cover skills, Ward is generally a disciplined player and is not a gambler. Ward looks like a future starter and could have No. 1-corner potential in the NFL. <br> <br>
Ward recorded 37 tackles with 15 passes broken up and two interceptions in 2017. While primarily a backup in 2016, Ward (5-11, 183) totaled 23 tackles with nice passes broken up.
The front seven was a weakness in 2016, but Reggie McKenzie addressed the secondary in the first and second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. I think taking Obi Melifonwu over Zach Cunningham was a big mistake. Along with linebacker help, the Raiders' defensive line could use an interior run-stuffer and an edge rusher to go across from Khalil Mack. Here's the former. <br> <br>
Vea recorded 44 tackles, 3.5 sacks and four passes batted in 2017. The 6-foot-5, 332-pounder was a load at the point of attack for Washington in 2016, too. He totaled 39 tackles with 6.5 tackles for a loss, five sacks, one force fumble and two passes batted on the season. <br> <br>
Vea has a serious combination of size, length, strength, and quickness at the point of attack. He is a heavy nose tackle who is a rock against the run and can occasionally collapse the pocket in the pass rush. For the NFL, Vea also has the height and length to play end in a 3-4 defense as well as nose tackle.
The Raiders could use more inside linebacker talent for the middle of their defense. <br> <br>
Jefferson has 110 tackles with 10 tackles for a loss and four sacks in 2017. He's played his best this season and is working hard for Texas. In 2016, he recorded 59 tackles with 5.5 sacks and three passes broken up. Jefferson (6-3, 238) was highly recruited and showed why as a freshman contributor for the Longhorns. He totaled 61 tackles with seven for a loss, 2.5 sacks, three passes broken up and one forced fumble. Jefferson was a bigger presence than the stats illustrate. <br> <br>
The junior possesses a nice combination of size and speed, plus a ton of athletic upside. However, some sources have said they've heard that Jefferson doesn't love football. They say that can be seen in his work ethic, preparation and lack of production. Jefferson was supposedly unhappy with how he was used by the last staff and that led to that perception, but either side of the argument brings concerns for NFL evaluators.