The Raiders grabbed a linebacker in the sixth round, taking Colorado State’s Cory James with the No. 194 pick.
James spent part of his senior season as a middle linebacker, but it was his role as a pass-rushing outside linebacker that he had more success with 22 sacks in his first three seasons. James had two sacks, 10 tackles for loss and 65 tackles last season while playing in the middle.
“I feel like that versatility really helped, even with special teams,” James said on a media conference call. “I have pretty decent speed, so I feel like on special teams I could help the Raiders out.”
The 6-foot, 245-pound James hails from Del Rio, Texas, a fact that should bring a smile to the face of Raiders coach Jack Del Rio. He also started his collegiate career playing for then-Colorado State coach Jim McElwain, who now coaches Del Rio’s son Luke at Florida.
James said the Raiders are looking at him more as an outside Will or Sam linebacker, along with the expectation that he’ll have to make his hay on special teams.
It was a nerve-wracking day for James, who was projected more as an undrafted free agent. He left the house to go visit a Sonic Drive-In when he got the call from the Raiders.
“It was surreal,” James said. “I’m so happy, so blessed.”