Grading the Oakland Raiders’ 2014 NFL Draft Picks

Grading All Eight of the Raiders' Draft Picks

Khalil Mack
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into the 2014 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders knew they needed a good haul to get back on the path towards relevance. With GM Reggie McKenzie and head coach Dennis Allen both headed for make-or-break seasons, they couldn’t afford to miss on any of their picks. However, they certainly weren’t all wins when all was said and done.

With that in mind, here are my grades for the Raiders’ eight 2014 NFL Draft picks.

Round 1 (5th Overall): Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo

Khalil Mack
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Round 1 (5th Overall): Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo

Khalil Mack
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The Raiders got arguably the biggest steal of the 2014 NFL Draft when Mack slid down to them at No. 5 overall. He’s an elite playmaker with superb athleticism, instincts and technique. One way or another, the Raiders will get him on the field and let him loose on their helpless opponents.

Grade: A+

Round 2 (36th Overall): Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

Derek Carr
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Round 2 (36th Overall): Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

Derek Carr
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Reports surfaced shortly before the draft that owner Mark Davis was set on the team selecting Carr. Instead of having to use their first-round pick on the Fresno State passer, though, they landed their guy in the second round. Carr has the tools to be a quality starter, and gives the Raiders a brighter future.

Grade: B+

Round 3 (81st Overall): Gabe Jackson, G, Mississippi State

Gabe Jackson
Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Round 3 (81st Overall): Gabe Jackson, G, Mississippi State

Gabe Jackson
Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

After the way the Raiders’ guards played last season, it’s understandable why they jumped at the opportunity to draft a guard. Jackson is a big, bruising blocker with impressive athleticism for his size. He’s a work in progress, but offers the upside to be a starter sooner rather than later.

Grade: B+

Round 4 (107th Overall): Justin Ellis, DT, Louisiana Tech

Justin Ellis
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Round 4 (107th Overall): Justin Ellis, DT, Louisiana Tech

Justin Ellis
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The Raiders were in the market to upgrade the defensive tackle spot, and did so with the addition of Ellis. He’ll immediately offer some competition for the starting nose tackle job, but must improve his pass-rushing ability and show he can stay in shape. Plus, a fourth rounder seems like a stretch for Ellis.

Grade: B

Round 4 (116th Overall): Keith McGill, CB, Utah

Keith McGill
Twitter

Round 4 (116th Overall): Keith McGill, CB, Utah

Keith McGill
Twitter

Don’t let his size fool you – McGill isn’t the outstanding cornerback prospect he’s built up to be. Despite his impressive frame, he shies away from contact and isn’t an effective run defender. There’s some intrigue due to his coverage abilities, but the Raiders definitely reached for McGill in the fourth round.

Grade: C+

Round 7 (219th Overall): Travis Carrie, CB, Ohio

Travis Carrie
Twitter

Round 7 (219th Overall): Travis Carrie, CB, Ohio

Travis Carrie
Twitter

Despite a history of injuries and a lack of polished technique, there is some definite promise with Carrie. The little-known prospect is a tough, physical cover man with the size and athleticism to be a factor in Oakland. If he can stay healthy and work on his footwork, Carrie will be a contributor for the Raiders.

Grade: B

Round 7 (235th Overall): Shelby Harris, DE, Illinois State

Shelby Harris
Twitter

Round 7 (235th Overall): Shelby Harris, DE, Illinois State

Shelby Harris
Twitter

I just don’t understand this pick. The Raiders need some extra defensive line talent, but Harris isn’t exactly an answer to the problem. The small-school product missed the entire 2013 campaign due to off-field issues, and is a huge project at best. In no way was Harris worth a draft pick.

Grade: F

Round 7 (247th Overall): Jonathan Dowling, FS, Western Kentucky

Jonathan Dowling
Getty Images

Round 7 (247th Overall): Jonathan Dowling, FS, Western Kentucky

Jonathan Dowling
Getty Images

For a seventh-round pick, Dowling is a decent get for the Raiders. While he was a disappointing player throughout his college career, the former Hilltopper has the athleticism and size to be a contributor in Oakland. However, he’ll have to learn some discipline and figure out how to be a reliable player on the backend.

Grade: B

Gil Alcaraz IV is the Director of Content for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @GilAlcarazIV, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.


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