Originally posted on Thoughts from the Dark Side  |  Last updated 7/1/13
Noted evaluator Greg Cosell recently took some time to discuss the AFC West’s draft with Yahoo’s Doug Farrar. Cosell, who does evaluations for NFL Films, had some very positive comments on the new Raider rookies. In particular, he liked the Raiders first round pick DJ Hayden, fourth round pick Tyler Wilson and sixth round pick Latavious Murray. You can hear the entire segment, here, at approximately the 39 minute mark. For your convenience, I’ve transcribed most of what Cosell had to say, below. I’ve included only Cosell’s comments, not host Doug Farrar’s, but his are worth listening to, as well, if you have the time. DJ Hayden: I thought that he had the smoothest backpedal in this draft, outstanding balance and body control. I would describe him as explosively sudden with his movements. He had a complete skillset. He played press, he played press-man, he played off-coverage zone, he was a physical run defender. I thought he was competitive, he was challenging and when I was finished watching him – and I watched him very late in the process, Doug, I think I watched a week before the draft so I got to him very late - so I had seen every other corner pretty much by the time I had watched DJ Hayden and I thought he was the best corner prospect in this draft after I had seen him. Menelik Watson: He was drafted because of his size and athleticism. There’s a ton of upside to his game given his lack of experience but his overall physical attributes – this kid is really athletic. He’s got great balance, great body control. I think down the road people could see him, easily, as a left tackle with more experience and NFL development. He was obviously a right tackle at Florida State. To use the coaching terms, he’s got a high ceiling. There’s a lot here, athletically. There [are] not a lot of guys at this size who move like this kid does. He’s raw, he’s not ready – certainly not to play left tackle in the league – but he’s got a lot of physical attributes that you want to see from the position. As we’ve discussed before, I would bet that good offensive line coaches would tell you, ‘I can correct that stuff in a half hour.’ My point is that his issues are correctable. Whether they become corrected, who can answer that? But his issues are correctable. It’s not like guys who are not competitive. Normally, guys who are not competitive, you can’t correct that – it’s built into their core personality. This kid’s issues are correctable and coachable. Sio Moore: The big question for me with him is whether he's more than a sub-package player. Can he be a starter? He's clearly a versatile player -- he played a lot in space in Connecticut's defense, and he played a lot over the slot. He's an athletic mover, but is he a starting linebacker? I guess I'm uncertain about that. He showed some quickness as a pass rusher, and there were times when he lined up in a three-point stance with his hand on the ground. He was used in a variety of ways, and he was effective in that defense in all those ways. I guess I’m wondering ‘Is he a jack-of-all-trades that’s a sub-package player in the NFL or is he a starting linebacker?’ I’m not sure. I keep reading about, ‘He’s small,’ and I always find these measureable numbers interesting. I get that the 6’1” [height] is what people are responding to, not the 245 [weight]. After I finished watching him, I was surprised at his weight because he plays like a smaller player which is why, at the end of the day, I wonder if he’s a sub package player –which, by the way, is okay. I guess we’ll see. Tyler Wilson: To me, [Wilson] is one of the most intriguing picks in the draft because, I gotta tell you, I think he’s going to be their starting quarterback. This kid, to me, was a very difficult watch in the sense that there were times that I really liked him and there were times I came away saying, ‘This kid’s a free agent.’ I know all the extraneous stuff – the program went down hill with the Patrino-stuff, his good receivers left – I get that. That doesn’t mean anything to me because I’m watching Tyler Wilson. I could watch a game in which the quarterback is 10 for 30 and come away and say, ‘This kid’s gonna be a great NFL prospect,’ so I don’t care about all that other stuff. But when I watched him there were some games where I thought he stood in the pocket with great toughness, looked down the gun barrel, made great throws. There were other games where I felt that he was overly-conscious against the rush and perceived pressure, so I would jump back and forth depending on the game. He’s got a good arm, when needed, not a gun. There were games when I thought he showed excellent ball location – made very good throws. There were other games where he was very erratic with his accuracy, so I jumped back and forth with this kid depending on the game but I still believe, Doug, because of their QB situation, he’s going to end up being their starting QB. I think at the end of the day, the kid does have the insticts of a pocket quarterback with the understanding of progressions. I think he does have that. He’s essentially a pocket quarterback – he can move and throw on the run a bit, but he’s essentially a pocket quarterback. When I finished watching him, I said to myself, ‘Okay, if this kid were to really play well and all the positives came through, what is Tyler Wilson in the NFL?’ And I think that, at the end of the day, and there’s nothing wrong with this although some would disagree, I think that Tyler Wilson is a Matt Schaub type of QB. That’s pretty good, by the way. Matt Schaub is a pretty good NFL QB. You wouldn’t say he’s a top-5 guy, you wouldn’t call him elite. I don’t think Tyler Wilson is [elite either] but he could become a solid starting NFL QB. He’s not as big as Schaub, obviously, but I’m talking about the way he plays.” Latavius Murray: I was really fascinated by Latavius Murray, the running back from Central Florida. He’s 6’2, 6’2” and a half, 223 lbs. He reminded me, in some ways, of Demarco Murray. I think he’s a bit of an upright runner but he’s got burst, he’s got deceptive measured speed. He’s the kind of guy that, when he gets out into the open field he got a lot of long runs. Now, obviously, Central Florida was playing some teams that you don’t view as major college. But, when he got out into the open field it didn’t necessarily look like he’d run away from people, but he did. I think he would work best in a power/counter-type scheme, not in a zone scheme. He’s a bit upright due to his height and length and at times some stiffness showed up in his movement because of that. He’s also more straight-line, linear [speed] than [he is] laterally quick. I thought he was a good receiver, too, by the way. Again, that’s why the kid is drafted in the sixth round but, you know, I think his size, his speed – he’s got a chance.   For more news and thoughts on the Oakland Raiders throughout the day, follow me on Twitter @AsherMathews
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