This is the point in the offseason when all Raider Nation has is unadulterated speculation. There is NO shortage of opinions in the Nation and this is the time when opposing beliefs come together to spark friendly (and sometimes unfriendly) debates. It is a rare day indeed when you find Raiders fans unanimous in a thought about their team.
I posed this question to the Nation earlier today: The Raiders have decided NOT to deal the fifth overall pick, who do they target? Give me your top three.
The three whom we’ll take a look at here will be the ones who got a majority of the votes, but as always, Raider Nation never 100% agrees. Most of Raider Nation is under the impression that, if available, the Raiders will select quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, or wide receiver Sammy Watkins at the fifth overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Honorable mentions here go to linebacker Anthony Barr and also QB Blake Bortles.
Sports analysts have touted Bridgewater as the most NFL ready QB heading into the draft this year. He played his college ball at University of Louisville. In his three seasons there, his stats were 781-for-1,142 for a total of 9,817 yards. He had 72 touchdowns to his 24 interceptions and was sacked 83 times. During his career at Louisville, he rushed for 170 yards, including his six rushing TDs.
Bridgewater believes that he has what it takes to become a franchise QB in the NFL. A lot of the sports pundits have projected that the Cleveland Browns will pick him up, but there are people who also believe that he’d be a good fit with Bill OBrien which would make him the first overall pick going to the Houston Texans. While people are talking about how Bridgewater has all the intangibles that Russell Wilson possesses as far as elusiveness, Bridgewater is talking about how he draws his strength from his mother Rose Murphy. Saying that, “I try to chase perfection as a competitor and playmaker. I consider myself an easygoing, humble guy because of life lessons learned watching my mom battle breast cancer. That taught me to attack each day with purpose and give back because of all her sacrifices.”
Clowney first snuck onto people’s radars with what is now known as the Clowney Hit. In all fairness, it was a clean hit but was deemed to be overly aggressive for the game. Clowney spent his college career at University of South Carolina and now sports analysts such as Mike Mayock are saying that Clowney has more potential than Mario Williams did and he was the number one overall pick. Mayock said that, “I know that he’s got the physical makeup to be the best player the draft. If you want to compare him to Mario Williams, I think he’s a better football player with more upside than when Mario came out of college…From a physical skill-set (standpoint), this kid is as freaky as they come. He plays a position of critical importance in today’s NFL, which is an ability to get the quarterback, and he can play multiple places on the defense. All those things check off.” As Clowney pertains to the Riaders, he would give their defense a pass rusher to build around, adding to a line that lacks star power.
Watkins is entering the 2014 NFL Draft from Clemson and is touted to be the biggest playmaker in the draft this year. He has been quoted as saying that he feels that he’s going to dominate the 2014 Scouting Combine because he is ten times as fast as he was in college. Watkins talks about his current physical condition saying, “I am 10 times faster than I was in college. My body was so messed up that I can get 10 times faster. I was using 60 percent of my body, and I have 40 percent more I need to get out.” Watkins will be participating in a majority of the combine events excluding the three cone drill and the shuttle.
He seems to be heading into the combine with something to prove and said, “They say I can’t run routes, so I definitely have to show them that I am probably one of the best receivers at running routes in the combine.” All mock drafts point to Watkins being drafted in the top ten, but most will say that his is dependent upon how he performs at the combine. Watkins had 3,391 receiving yards and 27 TDs with 339 rushing yards that resulted in one rushing TD in college.
Raider Nation is looking to their team to draft one of these players in the first round with the fifth overall pick.
Interestingly enough, the emphasis isn’t as QB heavy as I thought that it would be. I still think that the Raiders deal their 5th overall pick, but if they don’t, I can definitely see where the fan base is going here with the players that they want their team to draft. Hopefully, this gives everyone a reason to tune into the combine this weekend.