Benjamin Villescas says:
"Troy Andersen, LB Montana State: fast, athletic, good in space and awesome in coverage."
When looking at mid-round prospects the Raiders could consider, I've been throughly impressed by a few FCS prospects who could translate at the next level. Along with Northern Iowa tackle Trevor Penning, I consider Andersen to be one of the best FCS players coming out of this year's draft.
Andersen fits the new age NFL linebacker you're seeing succeed. Out with the big, stocky, bruising guys up the middle, and in with the blazing fast, uber athletic, leaner linebackers. At 6-foot-3, 243 pounds, Andersen is one of the more versatile linebackers in the draft with his ability to play inside and outside linebacker, as well as his ability to stop the run and drop back in coverage with ease.
"Intriguing 'do-everything' prospect with unusual versatility that could see him getting reps in all three phases," NFL analyst Lance Zierlein said about the Montana State linebacker. "Andersen has good size and toughness with the ball in his hands, but he's transitioned to a full-time linebacker role. ... [H]e was an extremely productive playmaker, using his physical tools and motor to shine. Teams will likely look to grow Andersen's linebacker IQ while playing him as a core special-teamer, but he might have potential on packaged plays on offense.
If Anderson is available at No. 86 for the Raiders, he'd be a considerable pick. The Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year clocked the fastest 40-yard dash among linebackers at the 2022 NFL Combine with a 4.42.
Brian Miller says:
"Chad Muma, LB."
A lot of the things to love about Troy Andersen apply to Wyoming linebacker Chad Muma.
The two things that stand out about Muma when you watch tape is his ability to always be around the football and that he has exceptional hands for a linebacker. The Cowboys linebacker recorded 142 total tackles and three interceptions last season – two of which he returned to the end zone. His stellar senior season landed him on the first team All-MWC team and on the third team AP All-American.
"A high-cut linebacker, Muma has a nose for the football. ... He has a see-ball, get-ball mentality and hunts runners with good build-up speed and an aggressive demeanor," wrote Zierlein.
Muma, along with Andersen, will headline the non-Power 5 linebackers in this year's draft. He would be an intriguing prospect for the Raiders to look at on Day 3 of the draft, especially with the recent track record of NFL success for Wyoming players in Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen and Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson.
Travis Mozeke asks:
"What do you think about Cam Taylor-Britt at No. 86?"
In last week's Mailbag, I made a prediction that the Raiders would go after a defensive back with their first pick in this year's draft. In a deep class for cornerbacks, Taylor-Britt has gone a bit under the radar.
It makes sense why a player like Taylor-Britt hasn't had more hype coming into the draft. The Nebraska Cornhuskers didn't win more than five games in any of his four seasons there. Regardless, when you turn on the tape and look at the metrics – Taylor-Britt is a baller.
Last season, he practically locked down his side of the field, totaling 11 pass deflections and an interception. With his experience playing safety in college as well, he dominates in the run game. If I had to find a word to describe his play style, it would be aggressive. And to add icing on the cake, he ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at the Combine.