The Oakland Raiders departed from their typical modus operandi of getting good character guys when making their final two picks of the 2014 NFL Draft. Throughout his tenure with the Raiders, McKenzie has preached bringing in the right kind of guys. Players who had good heads on their shoulders and were not a risk for off the field concerns.
But then again, in 2013, McKenzie drafted defensive tackle Stacy McGee, who fell in the draft due to off the field concerns. When asked, McKenzie stated that he had long conversations with McGee who he felt had learned from his mistakes. McKenzie also emphasized that he believes people should be given second chances.
Apparently Shelby Harris and Jonathan Dowling are two guys who McKenzie believes deserves second chances. The second and third picks of the Raiders in the seventh round of the draft each have had issues in college and both were kicked out of college programs as a result of their issues. In fact, Harris did not even play football in 2013 when he spent his time as a waiter at an Italian restaurant.
It is hard to call a seventh round pick a risk since a seventh round pick is not much to lose, but at the same time, going after guys who have been kicked off of teams in college is the definition of high risk. It is just a risk with very little repercussion if it goes wrong.
The hope is that these guys have grown up and will be able to live up to their potential. If so, they could end up being the definition of hidden gems. Both have the physical abilities to be valued as mid round picks so if they can get their heads right, the Raiders could have found playmakers in the seventh round.