ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Masking tight ends has been a serious bugaboo for the Oakland Raiders ever since Jack Del Rio arrived as coach in 2015.
The Raiders hope that utilizing a second-spherical draft decide Friday on a 6-foot-four security in Obi Melifonwu, who has the velocity to thrive in protection downfield, will clear up that problem heading into this season.
“It’s no secret we’ve struggled the previous few years masking the opponent’s tight ends,” Del Rio stated. “We expect this can be a man who might help together with his size to match up towards a few of the greater tight ends, the higher tight ends.”
Over the previous two seasons, Oakland has allowed opposing tight ends to catch 161 passes for 1,938 yards and 19 TDs, rating close to the underside of the league in all three classes.
After taking Melifonwu with the 56th general decide, the Raiders focused one other defensive want within the third spherical once they took UCLA defensive deal with Eddie Vanderdoes with the 88th choice.
Oakland completed final within the league with 25 sacks final season, with 18 of them coming from edge rushers Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin. Discovering a participant who can present an inside push was a key want this offseason.
Vanderdoes had simply 1 1/2 sacks final season when he was out of practice at about 340 kilos partially due to three excessive ankle sprains. However he misplaced forty kilos because the finish of the season and is keen to show that he can get again to the shape he had earlier than a torn ACL ended his 2015 season after just one recreation.
“I must be the man to step in and do what I do and dominate,” he stated. “I undoubtedly assume individuals slept on me a bit of bit this previous offseason. I really like the truth that they slept on me. I feel that’s what motivated me each morning waking up, understanding that I get to show individuals improper.”
Fixing the protection was the highest precedence for the Raiders, who ranked within the backside 10 in most defensive classes final season regardless of profitable 12 video games and making the playoffs for the primary time since 2002.
They’ve targeted totally on that aspect of the ball thus far, having taken Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley within the first spherical. They nonetheless have an enormous gap at inside linebacker that might be crammed with one in every of 5 picks on the ultimate day of the draft.
The Raiders are proud of the items they’ve added up to now. Melifonwu had 118 tackles as a senior at UConn with 4 interceptions and a couple of 1/2 tackles for loss. He can play each within the field and at deep security and in addition labored at cornerback within the Senior Bowl…