The Oakland Raiders selected G Jon Feliciano, out of the University of Miami, with their 4th round pick (128th overall) in the 2015 NFL Draft. The 6'4", 320-pound offensive lineman earned All-ACC honorable mention after starting all 13 games in 2014.
Feliciano will have his first opportunity to prove himself when he takes the field this weekend for the Raiders Rookie Mini-Camp.
The Raiders selected 10 players in the 2015 NFL Draft.
OVERCAME ALL ODDS**
If you looked at Feliciano's life, you would be hard-pressed to believe he would be drafted into the NFL. The offensive lineman was born breech with a foot deformity. He had to wear braces and his mother spent hours working on his legs to try and help them heal. He also experienced the horror of cancer - his mother diagnosed with breast cancer and hiding it from her family to try and protect them. As if that wasn't enough, Feliciano lived in a condemned house during high school with no power or water, staying with friends when necessary. Despite all of this adversity, he attended the University of Miami, was invited to the Combine, and was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the 4th round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
"Yeah growing up there was a lot of just extra stuff that I had to go through and everyone here at this house right now at this [draft] party helped me get through it," said Feliciano. "That's why I wanted them around me and to be able to get drafted in the fourth round by such a great organization. It's a blessing and I'm so happy."
MIAMI CONNECTION IS STRONG AT THE RAIDERS
The Raiders selected fellow Hurricane TE Clive Walford in the 3rd round and Feliciano spent four years at Miami with Raiders defensive line coach Jethro Franklin. His relationships with both made him that much more excited to join the Silver and Black.
"They have [defensive line coach] Jethro Franklin on their staff and I was with him for four years at Miami, so just being able to be with people that I know. Plus, Clive [Walford] just got drafted there yesterday. I know it's going to be so amazing to be able to play with him again."
READY TO COMPETE FOR A STARTING ROLE**
The Raiders have need on the right side of the offensive line, particularly at guard, and are looking for competition at that position. Feliciano has the opportunity to earn that role.
* *"That's all you want coming in is an opportunity to compete and get better. We have that there at the Raiders and I know everyone is going to go in there and compete and try to get better and that's going to be awesome."
VERSATILITY IS KEY
Feliciano prides himself on versatility, a trait highly touted by Head Coach Jack Del Rio and Coach Tice.
"In terms of Jon [Feliciano] and his offensive line experience, he's played center, he's played guard, he's played tackle," said Coach Del Rio. "So yeah, that's great versatility. Certainly, that weighs into it as part of the process.
COACH TICE LOOKS FORWARD TO WORKING WITH FELICIANO
The Raiders rookies take the field for the first time with their new coaches Friday morning. Coach Tice is excited to see his new guys in action, particularly Feliciano. Feliciano met Raiders offensive line coach Mike Tice at the Combine.
"Actually me and [offensive line] coach [Mike] Tice, we kicked it off at the Combine," siad Feliciano. "He was a great guy and I had a real good time talking with him. This is one of the top spots for me I wanted to go. To hear my name called by them is just unbelievable."
"Our guys are going to have to be able to run," said Tice. "They're going to have to be able to pull. Jon pulls well already, so that's good. I'm excited to add him to the mix. It's going to be good for our room. I'm very pleased with Jon. I think it's a good pick for us."