The Oakland Raiders will look to improve their offensive line this offseason. At the 2014 NFL Combine, the offensive line prospects showed their power and athleticism. Whether it is in the first round or the later rounds, some players will be on the Raiders' radar come the 2014 NFL Draft.
The Raiders will have an opportunity to select a stand out prospect with the fifth pick. Of the offensive linemen that participated today at the combine, the cream rose to the top. Tackles Jack Matthews and Greg Robinson proved their top tier status to be accurate during the workouts. Robinson of Auburn is a huge man at 6'5" and 332 pounds. He has ideal arm length for a tackle at 35 inches. He ran a 4.92 forty yard dash and bench pressed 225 pounds 32 times. He still needs some improvement in his footwork and low body movements in the drills, but as an athletic, power combination, he is off the charts.
Matthews out of Texas A&M came into the pre-draft boards as the top tackle. He solidified his spot with his fluid movement in the drills. He tested well, but not incredibly, bench pressing 225 pounds 24 times and running a 5.07 in the forty yard dash. Zach Martin of Notre Dame showed very well in the drills with footwork and movement, but was unable to run because of a hamstring injury. He threw up 225 pounds 29 times and would be a dream for the Raiders in the second round because of his versatility to play both tackle spots and both guard positions. Taylor Lewan of Michigan tested off the charts, running the best forty yard dash at 4.87 seconds and looked great in the footwork drills. He also tossed 29 reps on the bench press.
The forty yard dash for offensive linemen may seem ridiculous, but it helps determine their explosion and acceleration. It also shows their ability to move in 10 yard increments which is useful in game situations like getting up-field to block and the screen game. Large men were moving fast in the forty yard dash at the combine. Five players ran under five seconds which is special at their size.
For the Raiders, Matthews and Robinson will not be available after the fifth pick. Martin and Lewan have an outside chance of being available in the second round, but their work at the combine has made that less likely. With so many positions of need, the Raiders may be looking at prospects outside of the first round. Some players that they could consider include Joel Botonio of Nevada who ran 4.97 in the forty yard dash and put up 22 reps on the bench press. Trai Turner of LSU ran well at 4.93 in the forty and posted 25 reps on the bench press. Both are a bit undersized and project best as run blockers at guard. Michael Schofield out of Michigan is a right tackle prospect at 6'6" and 300 pounds. He worked well in the drills and ran just over five seconds in the forty. One of the most intriguing prospects in the entire draft is tackle Seantrel Henderson of Miami. The former top overall recruit out of high school has had some red flags and character issues in college. However, he is a massive man at 6'7" and 330 pounds. Henderson is a right tackle prospect that has all the ability to play in the NFL. He ran 5.07 in the forty, but didn't bench press.
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