NFL Draft Insiders
The 2017 NFL draft is over, and it's time to review how your favorite team fared. Where did it reach? Did it get a potential steal in Round 5? Is there a bust waiting to happen?
ESPN Insider's draft experts break down each draft class, starting with Mel Kiper Jr.'s grade, Todd McShay's favorite pick, and Scouts Inc.'s analysis on how each player fits into his new team.
Mel Kiper's Draft Grade: C
Kiper: This is obviously a really difficult class to be assessing, given all that was swirling around Gareon Conley going into the draft, and without much time to gather information. I really just need to remove him from the equation here. On ability, he's a top-15 player, and the Raiders obviously feel comfortable with what they know of his off-field situation. But that situation really transcends a discussion of player value. I do think the Raiders could have taken a few other players in that spot and felt good about it.
After that, this draft stacks up as just OK for me in terms of overall value. Obi Melifonwu is arguably one of the top handful of athletes in the entire draft, but the tape doesn't quite live up to the combine marks. That said, he has a lot of experience and hits a position of need in the secondary. Eddie Vanderdoes in Round 3 is kind of a puzzler. The pedigree is there going back to high school, but he simply didn't perform like a third-rounder, and so you have the Raiders taking my No. 159-ranked player at No. 88 overall. He has ability, I just think he would've been there later.
David Sharpe provides depth along the offensive line, but I had Marquel Lee as a bit of a reach (though he could be good on special teams early), and Elijah Hood provides some short-yardage insurance if the Marshawn Lynch comeback tour isn't all it's cracked up to be. Shalom Luani has a chance to stick. The Conley situation clouds this, and I would have liked for them to get an inside linebacker.
|1/24||Gareon Conley||CB||OHIO STATE|
|5/168||Marquel Lee||OLB||WAKE FOREST|
|7/221||Shalom Luani||S||WASHINGTON STATE|
|7/231||Jylan Ware||OT||ALABAMA STATE|
|7/242||Elijah Hood||RB||NORTH CAROLINA|
Todd McShay's favorite pick
Obi Melifonwu, DB, Connecticut (pick No. 56)
My guess is that the Raiders are viewing the 6-foot-4 Melifonwu as a guy they're gonna try at corner and see if it works. If it doesn't, they'll try him at safety. On early downs, he will be effective against the run. And because of freakish athleticism (4.40 40 at 224 and an 11-9 broad jump), Melifonwu gives the Raiders a unique matchup piece on defense. He can cover the likes of Travis Kelce, Demaryius Thomas and Hunter Henry inside the AFC West.
Scouts Inc. on 2017 class
1 (24) Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State | Highlights
What he brings: He has a little bit of tightness in his hips, but he possesses the length-and-straight-line-speed combination that most NFL teams desire. He also shows good overall awareness and ball skills, and he's tough in run support. -- Kevin Weidl
How he fits: The Raiders continue to add talent in their back end and help solidify a porous pass defense that ranked 24th in the league. After re-signing cornerback Sean Smith to a four-year deal, Conley could line up in the slot as D.J. Hayden's replacement at nickelback. -- Kevin Weidl
2 (24) Obi Melifonwu, S, Connecticut | Highlights
What he brings: Melifonwu is a freakishly gifted athlete who turned heads with an outstanding combine workout. The four-year starter and hard worker also made steady improvements at Connecticut, most notably with his consistency playing the ball and his aggressiveness in run support. -- Steve Muench
How he fits: The Raiders have two effective starters at safety in Karl Joseph and Reggie Nelson, but Nelson turns 34 this year so Melifonwu projects as the No. 3 who could replace Nelson and team up with Joseph to give the Raiders one of the most talented safety tandems in the league. Oakland also values size at corner, and the versatile Melifonwu could line up on the outside at times as well. -- Steve Muench
3 (24) Eddie Vanderdoes, DT, UCLA | Highlights
What he brings: Vanderdoes projects as a powerful run stopper who won't make much of an impact rushing the passer. He missed most of the 2015 season after tearing an ACL, and last year, he was overweight and didn't show the same explosiveness as earlier in his career. -- Steve Muench
How he fits: The Raiders ranked 23rd in rushing defense last season, and Vanderdoes adds size and power on the interior, especially if he is able to return to the 2014 form he showed on tape. -- Kevin Weidl
4 (23) David Sharpe, OG, Florida | Highlights
What he brings: Sharpe has the massive frame to overwhelm defenders in the run game and the length to push speed rushers past the pocket. He's a below-average athlete who struggles to bend and needs to make strides as a hand fighter, and as a result, he projects better at guard. --Steve Muench
5 (24) Marquel Lee, OLB, Wake Forest
What he brings: Lee has enough tools to develop into an effective special-teams player who provides some depth at linebacker if he becomes a more consistent tackler. -- Kevin Weidl
7 (3) Shalom Luani, S, Washington State
What he brings: While Luani needs to improve his recognition in coverage, he has the toughness, length, speed and athletic ability to develop into a backup safety and special-teams contributor if he becomes a more consistent tackler. -- Steve Muench
7 (13) Jylan Ware, OT, Alabama State
What he brings: A three-year starter, Ware has shorter arms for an offensive tackle, and there are concerns about the level of competition he faced in college. But he has the athletic ability and size to transition inside and provide depth at guard. -- Steve Muench
7 (24) Elijah Hood, RB, North Carolina
What he brings: Hood is a physical and powerful runner who churns out yards between the tackles and can add depth as a short-yardage back. He's not as quick on tape as his testing would suggest, and he put the ball on the ground too much at North Carolina. -- Steve Muench
7 (26) Treyvon Hester, DT, Toledo
What he brings: Hester is a disruptive 3-technique with the potential to develop into an effective backup in an aggressive base four-man front. He could turn into a good value pick if he can overcome some durability concerns. -- Kevin Weidl
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