With the 2017 Combine fully underway, the weekend provided the Raiders with ample opportunity to judge talent. While these evaluations aren’t game film, they help with answering certain questions and fill in draft positions. Similarly, the players give their best effort, in order to secure a better draft spot. Here are three players that improved their Raiders draft stock over the weekend.
Solomon Thomas, Stanford DL: From time to time, you’ll see a prospect at the combine that makes you want to review their film. Solomon Thomas leaps off the page. Ignore the 4.69 40 time. Although, it denotes speed, that stat does not tell the whole story. Focus on his more important numbers. For instance, his 6.95 seconds in the 3 Cone Drill surpasses several wide receivers. Both WRs Curtis Samuel and Chris Godwin finished in 7 seconds. Thomas weighs 273 pounds. Coupled with his agility, 30 reps of 225 pounds and a 10.5 foot long jump screams explosion. If Thomas remains available in the second round, Oakland should consider drafting him. Thomas’ versatility allows him to line up on the edge or slide inside on passing downs.
KD Cannon, Baylor WR: Oakland needs a deep threat at wideout. For the first time in memory, Oakland doesn’t have the one receiver to stretch the field. While John Ross ran a 4.22, that won’t help the Raiders. As a result, that time vaults him higher than his draft worth. On the other hand, Cannon slides into the middle of Day 3. Not only did his 4.41 impress some scouts, his 37.5 inch vertical stands out more. With this tool, Cannon can out jump similarly sized defensive backs. In reality, he won’t play a major role in the offense, but stretching the field is what Oakland needs most.
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Bucky Hodges, Virginia Tech TE: First thing to remember about Hodges is his is 6’6” Also, he added muscle to his frame, weighing in at 257 pounds. The two numbers that stand out for him are 39 inch vertical and the 11-foot-1 broad jump. Both of these numbers are indicators of explosion. Imagine Hodges in the red zone, being able to leap over any defender. Coupled with his burst off the snap, Reggie McKenzie needs to spend one of his first three picks on a tight end.