Screen shot 2013-04-18 at 12.32.29 PMFinally, the sequel to the first installment of the Raiders draft preview is here. As with the previous post, I will be analyzing previous drafts in order to gain insight into what “type” of player Reggie McKenzie might be interested in drafting.  Though I won’t be using the same measurables as I did with quarterbacks, I will still use McKenzie’s three golden traits: toughness, intelligence, and physicality (or TIP).

I know what you’re thinking: “Isn’t toughness just a synonym for physicality?”

The short answer is “Yes.” But a more detail answer would suggest that toughness can be displayed in modes other than the physical. More so than any other, the game of football allows for these intricate definitions of terms that would otherwise be indistinguishable. It also allows for the amateur to extemporize on the qualities that make a professional … professional.

But that’s neither here nor there.

So, in addition to TIP, an analysis of players selected be either McKenzie or teams under which he was employed suggests that McKenzie values good hands. In fact, common phraseology from various scouting reports of receivers drafted was “natural, soft hands.”

Other attributes it appears as though McKenzie values are college experience and production. Of the ten receivers drafted, only two had started fewer than 20 games and only two failed to eclipse 1,500 career receiving yards. Also, only two measured shorter than 6-feet and only one measured taller than 6-feet 1-inch.

Screen shot 2013-04-04 at 2.38.57 PM

And, though McKenzie has downplayed the importance of the combine, only one drafted receiver ran slower than 4.55 in the 40 yard dash. Aside from 40 time, however, there is no clear correlation in any other measurement.

Screen shot 2013-04-04 at 2.43.40 PM

With this information in hand, I found three candidates that seem to match (almost) perfectly the “type” of receiver McKenzie would be most apt to select in next week’s draft.

Markus Wheaton, Oregon State

Projected Rounds: 2-3

Measurables and Production

Screen shot 2013-04-18 at 11.41.10 AM

Combine Results

Screen shot 2013-04-18 at 11.41.20 AM

Toughness “Possesses some thickness to his frame, and is willing to lower his shoulder to get the extra yard – often diving under defenders to get as many as possible.” “A competitor and hard worker. Has shown the mental toughness to play through pain … Willing to work the middle of the field. Flashes focus to secure the ball in traffic but needs to get stronger in contested situations. Fights for yards after the catch.” “A willing receiver over the middle with the toughness to handle running with the ball.”

Intelligence N/A “Impressed by his field awareness. …  Impressed with his head and shoulder fakes. … Does show a good feel for soft spots in zone coverage though.” “Recognizes holes in zone and settles nicely, keeping himself alive to aid his quarterback.”

Physicality “Can be overwhelmed by physical corners in his route, and especially at the line of scrimmage. Inconsistent as a blocker. Willing, but too often will fall off his block, or allow his man to simply overpower him.” “Fights for yards after the catch. Not the strongest blocker but gives very good effort in that area and really works to sustain.” “Alert and a surprisingly competitive blocker given his relatively slight frame.”

Hands “Displays the flexibility to grab throws behind him or over his shoulder when running deep. He’ll also extend away from his body to bring in high or wide throw.”

According to Bucky Brooks, “Wheaton has shown strong hands; he is an outstanding pass catcher in traffic.” “Displays soft and natural hands and catches the ball away from his frame. Shows ability to pluck on the run without breaking stride.” “Talented pass catcher. Shows the ability to snatch passes out of the air and has good body control to contort. Good deep ball receiver, showing the ability to track the ball over either shoulder.”

Other “His quickness is blatant and dangerous. Whether taking off from the slot or outside, his feet are literally a step ahead of his defender on everything from speed outs, crossers, to jerk routes.”

— Bucky Brooks noted that Wheaton was the “by far” the most impressive wide receiver at the Senior Bowl. He also noted that Wheaton “displayed excellent speed, quickness and burst, routinely separating from defenders out of breaks.” “Extremely active in community service and traveled to Guatemala to help build houses for the needy in the spring of 2011. He is also a sprinter on the schools track team. Has recorded 6.82 in the 60M (March, 2011) and 10.58 in the 100M (May, 2012).” “Wheaton has the production to prove that he isn’t just a track athlete in football pads… he’s a big play waiting to happen.”

Ryan Swope, Texas A&M

Projected Rounds: 3-4

Measurables and Production

Screen shot 2013-04-18 at 11.45.23 AM

Combine Results

Screen shot 2013-04-18 at 11.45.16 AM

Toughness N/A “Is fearless going over the middle. Tough and aggressive WR.” “Fearless over the middle, and looks to extend plays after the catch.”

Intelligence “Slows down in passing windows and finds room in zones to maximize his quarterback’s ability to find him.” “Displays good vision as an open field runner. Knows when to make cutback and when to bounce out to sideline. … Shows up in the clutch. Has above-average field and sideline awareness.” “Displays strong awareness and anticipation of zone windows …  I look at Swope as a bigger, more athletic version of the veteran Stokely, but similar in terms of route-running efficiency, smarts, and craftiness in creating vertical separation.”

Physicality “Gives excellent effort blocking downfield and near the line in the run game, using his strength and agility to mirror and sustain, showing aggressiveness when riding defenders well out of the play.” “Breaks more tackles in the open field than most WRs … Very competitive after the catch. Is a willing blocker.” “Consistently gives good effort to the whistle. Does not shy away from contact after the catch and flashes some power on contact to drag a defender.”

Hands “Very reliable receiver, his hands are strong enough and he has the flexibility to grab low, wide, and high passes away from his frame.” “Has smaller (8.3) but strong hands. Shows good body control to adjust. Has quick hands to pluck on the run. Displays impressive focus and hand-eye coordination. Very successful catching the ball over his head.” ” Plucks the ball routinely, then looks it in and secures it before turning upfield.”

Other “Swope was an all-state pick (1,826 rush yards, 27 TD; 21-443 receiving) as a senior running back at Austin’s Westlake High School. ” Voted as a team captain by teammates as a senior. Hard worker. … Younger brother, Louie, is a DB on A&M team.” “Although there are more athletic, explosive receivers in this year’s group, few are more refined and ready to contribute than Swope, who probably falls somewhere between rounds 2 and 4, but is capable of putting up first-round numbers in the right offense. Has been designated by many as a pure “slot” target at the next level, but I see some tools that suggest he could be effective on the outside as well.”

Stedman Bailey, West Virginia

Projected Rounds: 3-4

Measurables and Production

Screen shot 2013-04-18 at 12.07.21 PM

Combine Results

Screen shot 2013-04-18 at 12.07.15 PM

Toughness “Has played through pain and has not suffered any significant injuries while in college. In 2012, suffered a mild ankle injury against Texas Tech but played the following week versus Kansas State. … Competitive.” “Plays a lot bigger than his true measurable. Tough and fearless working the middle of the field. Shows good focus in traffic and can secure the ball while absorbing a big hit.” “Bailey has the build and athleticism of (Golden) Tate, but shows the toughness and downfield playmaking ability of (Steve) Smith”

Intelligence “Smart receiver who is adept at finds holes and picking up the first down.” “Has a natural feel for routes. Crafty working within in his initial stem. … Has a good feel and can uncover against zone coverage.” “He is a smart route-runner and knows how to bait defenders and attract defensive pass interference penalties.”

Physicality ” Showcases tremendous physicality in his routes. Uses his hands and body to create separation.” “Flashes an aggressive side as a run blocker and will jar defenders on occasion. Works to sustain blocks.” “Bailey has a RB-like build with a little bit of power for the position and strength to pick up yards after contact.”

Hands “Soft hands, can make plays off of his frame.” “Displays strong and natural hands. Rarely allows the ball into his frame.” “He has excellent hand/eye coordination and is a natural hands-catcher, snatching it away from his body with strong hands and making tough catches look easy.”

Other “NFL Comparison: Greg Jennings” “Good football character. Quality work ethic.” “While Tavon Austin might just be the most exciting football player in the country, Bailey was actually West Virginia’s most reliable and productive receiver the past two years.”

Others Candidates

Aaron Mellette, Elon

Projected Rounds: 5-6

Ryan Spadola, Lehigh

Projected Rounds: 7-UDFA

Lanear Sampson, Baylor

Projected Rounds: 7-UDFA