3,543

What they’re saying: Evaluating Raiders’ draft class

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The Raiders received grades mostly in the B range for their draft that opened with the selection of safety Karl Joseph. (West Virginia athletics photo)

The Raiders received grades mostly in the B range for their draft that opened with the selection of safety Karl Joseph. (West Virginia athletics photo)

The Raiders drafted seven players — one in each round after dealing their own fifth-round pick — over the three days of this weekend’s NFL Draft.

It started with safety Karl Joseph on Thursday, continued with DE Jihad Ward, LB Shilique Calhoun, QB Connor Cook, RB DeAndre Washington, LB Cory James and OL Vadal Alexander over the next two days.

The draft addressed two of the most pressing needs by grabbing a starting safety and a change of pace running back. The Ward pick will have to be evaluated later to see if he can make an immediate impact — you need that from a second round pick. Calhoun seems like a nice addition as an extra pass rusher. Cook could give you a decent backup quarterback and somebody to step in if something were to happen to Derek Carr, James is probably going to be a special teams player who may see the field on defense if he develops quickly and Alexander is good value in the seventh round. That’s my view, but let’s take a look at what the national media is saying. Continue Reading

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1,177

UPDATED: Raiders grab running back DeAndre Washington in fifth round

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The Raiders hope to have found their backup running back in Texas Tech's DeAndre Washington. (Texas Tech athletics photo)

The Raiders hope to have found their backup running back in Texas Tech’s DeAndre Washington. (Texas Tech athletics photo)

The Raiders addressed their need for a reserve running back by taking Texas Tech’s DeAndre Washington in the fifth round Saturday.

The 5-foot-8, 204-pound Washington rushed for 1,492 yards and 14 touchdowns for the Red Raiders, plus caught 41 passes for 385 yards in Tech’s pass happy offense.

“We actually ran the ball quite a bunch,” Washington said on a media conference call. “Playmakers make plays at the end of the day. I’m excited to be a part of this Oakland offense and look forward to doing big things.” Continue Reading

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558

Raiders’ fourth-round pick Connor Cook demonstrates McKenzie’s commitment to future over present

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The Raiders (Matthew Mitchell/MSU Athletic Communications)

The Raiders took a look at building for the future by drafting quarterback Connor Cook. (Matthew Mitchell/MSU Athletic Communications)

ALAMEDA —  Were the Raiders’ first draft pick on Day 3 to ever step on the field this season, it would signify the end of their playoff hopes and aspirations.

If more evidence was needed to show that general manager Reggie McKenzie views the draft as a mechanism for building toward the future as much as fortifying the present, it arrived quickly Saturday with the selection of Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook.

In fact, McKenzie did something he has never done in his previous four drafts _ he traded up and lost a draft pick to get someone. In exchange for going up to No. 100 to select a player who will probably be the third quarterback. Continue Reading

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568

UPDATED: Raiders trade up to take QB Connor Cook

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The Raiders moved up in the draft to take quarterback Connor Cook (Michigan State athletics)

The Raiders moved up in the draft to take quarterback Connor Cook (Michigan State athletics)

The Raiders made a surprising move Saturday, moving up in the draft to take Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook with the second pick of the fourth round.

Oakland is well set at quarterback with starter Derek Carr, but Cook provides them a potential backup of value after Cook dropped into the third day of the draft.

The Raiders swapped their fourth round pick (No. 114) and one of their fifth rounders (No. 154) with Cleveland to move up to the No. 100 overall pick. That moved them one spot ahead of the Dallas Cowboys, who were believed to be interested in Cook.  Continue Reading

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1,050

What they’re saying: Mixed reviews for Raiders on Day 2

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The national media had a higher opinion of the Raiders' third-round draft pick Shilique Calhoun than second-rounder Jihad Ward.

The national media had a higher opinion of the Raiders’ third-round draft pick Shilique Calhoun than second-rounder Jihad Ward.

The Raiders took a pair of front seven defenders on Day 2 of the draft, picking up Illinois defensive end Jihad Ward in the second round and linebacker/defensive end Shilique Calhoun in the third.

The reviews were decent, but it was third-rounder Shilique Calhoun that earned the higher marks over second-rounder Jihad Ward.

Sports Illustrated’s Chris Burke graded the Calhoun pick as an A, writing that he “actually might be better than their second-rounder. Calhoun, without question, is at least as ready as Jihad Ward to produce as a rookie. He is a value here, and he can be a three-down defender. Another chip for the Raiders’ emerging front seven.​” Continue Reading

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329

Raiders: Getting to know Shilique Calhoun

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Shilique Calhoun is a versatile linebacker/defensive end taken by the Raiders in the third round. (Matthew Mitchell/MSU Athletic Communications)

Shilique Calhoun is a versatile linebacker/defensive end taken by the Raiders in the third round. (Matthew Mitchell/MSU Athletic Communications)

The Raiders selected Shilique Calhoun with the No. 75 overall pick of Friday’s NFL Draft. Here’s what you need to know about him.

College: Michigan State

Position: Linebacker/defensive end

Ht/Wt: 6-foot-5/250 pounds

College highlights: Three-time second-team All-American, 2015 Hendricks Award finalist (defensive end of the year), two-time team captain and 2013 Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year. Continue Reading

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529

Raiders: Getting to know DE Jihad Ward

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ward_jihad_3The Raiders selected Jihad Ward with the No. 44 overall pick of Friday’s NFL Draft. Here’s what you need to know about him.

College: Illinois

Position: Defensive end

Ht/Wt: 6-foot-6/295 pounds

College highlights: Two-time All-Big Ten honorable mention selection had 4.5 career sacks and 12 tackles for loss.

Pros: Raw prospect who has high upside thanks to his length and quickness. Good effort player who should be able to be part of the defensive line rotation. Continue Reading

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1,757

Karl Joseph has the makings of becoming a Raiders fan favorite

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West Virginia coach Dana Holgerson expects Karl Joseph to quickly win over the hearts of Raider Nation. (Associated press photo)

West Virginia coach Dana Holgerson expects Karl Joseph to quickly win over the hearts of Raider Nation. (Associated press photo)

The Raiders could soon find themselves a new fan favorite in first-round draft pick Karl Joseph, the safety taken No. 14 overall from West Virginia.

“He won over the hearts of Mountaineer Nation very, very quickly,” West Virginia coach Dana Holgerson said Friday on 95.7 The Game. “He’ll do the same thing for Raider Nation.”

Holgerson backed up all of the talk about Joseph being a hard-working, high character player. Continue Reading

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