September 2nd, 2017 at 8:24pm CST by Zachary Links
The Raiders were among the teams to drag their feet on announcing their 53-man roster. Now that we can see their initial roster in full, we have to say that they’re looking a little thin at linebacker. Here’s the full rundown of their moves:
Cioffi, a product of Jonathan Dayton High School in Springfield, N.J., stayed close to home for college and worked his way up to a starting role in his senior year at Rutgers. Cioffi led all Scarlet Knights defensive backs last season in tackles (63) and interceptions (2). Prior to the draft, he reportedly ran a 4.37 second 40-yard-dash in training.
Zamora was suspended for three games last season after videos emerged of him beating his dog. He was not invited to this year’s draft combine and that was likely the results of his off-the-field behavior. He appeared in ten games last season for Baylor, tallying 63 catches for 809 yards and ten touchdowns.
In accordance with rules passed by the NFL last year, players with felony or misdemeanor convictions are not permitted to attend the combine. All players who wish to participate must submit to a background check. If a player’s background check unearths any conviction involving violence, he is turned away.
After suffering a a torn ACL and lateral meniscus in the fall, it’s not certain that Kelly would have been able to participate in combine drills even if he was invited. If Kelly is healthy enough to work out between now and late April, it’s a good bet that he’ll be able to get interested teams to watch him up close. That will go a long way towards dictating where Kelly might go in the draft. Recently, Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller wrote that Kelly is “still an intriguing quarterback prospect in a bad overall class.” Meanwhile, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report heard back in November that the Ole Miss product was being viewed by evaluators as a Day 3 prospect.
We also have conflicting reports on Mixon. One area scout assigned to the Sooners told Albert Breer of The MMQB recently that he’s confident some team will weather the PR storm and draft him. Hours later, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweeted that Mixon is still undraftable in the eyes of many teams.
Both players have had their share of issues. Mixon was suspended for the entire 2014 season after having punched a woman, while Zamora was suspended three games this past season after videos emerged of him beating his dog. The ESPN report indicates that it’s uncertain whether these “off-the-field troubles were factors in their omission” from the combine.
The Sooners running back finished the 2016 campaign with 1,274 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns on only 187 carries. ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. believes Mixon is among the top-five most-talented running backs in this year’s class (behind Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, D’Onta Foreman and Christian McCaffrey). Meanwhile, Zamora appeared in 10 games this past season, compiling 63 catches for 809 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Let’s take a look at some more draft notes…
A trio of University of Washington defensive backs are garnering plenty of interest from NFL teams. Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com writes that Budda Baker, Sidney Jones and Kevin King have been intriguing front offices. Jones is generally regarded to be one of the top cornerbacks in the draft, while Baker is projected to be taken outside of the first round.
USC wideout Adoree Jackson is a “lock” to be a first-round pick, writes Pauline. His teammate, offensive tackle Zach Banner, is projected to be drafted in the fourth round.
While many scouts believe Alabama’s O.J. Howard is the best tight end in the class, Pauline writes that South Alabama’s Gerald Everett isn’t far behind. The talented playmaker impressed coaches at the Senior Bowl, and Pauline notes that he’s currently the top tight end on the Giants‘ draft board.
One prospect who didn’t look good during the Senior Bowl was Troy offensive tackle Antonio Garcia, with one scout comparing him to “a deer in headlights.” Pauline notes that the lineman looked unsure of himself during team practices.