Only three more days until the wait for the 2017 NFL Draft is over, but who's counting?
Shortly after the conclusion of the 2016 season, NFL draft experts and analysts wasted no time in beginning the evaluation process of college football's most-talented prospects, which has manufactured a lot of anticipation leading up to this week's three-day event in Philadelphia.
Outside of the first overall pick – widely assumed to be Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett – it's unknown which players will be selected where. Defensively, it's been emphasized over and over how deep this draft is, specifically at the cornerback position.
Among those to support this notion is ESPN draft Insider Mel Kiper, Jr., who has the Oakland Raiders selecting LSU's Tre'Davious White with the team's first round pick. White has been a popular name in mock drafts this season, and has been labeled a quality first round talent throughout the majority of the evaluation process.
"Tre'Davious White stayed for his senior year and really benefitted just from the experience," said Kiper via conference call Monday afternoon. "And the fact he's also an excellent punt returner, he plays the ball well in coverage, good football player."
While Kiper believes White is a good fit for the Silver and Black – and is an NFL-ready talent – he thinks the team is just a few pieces away from taking the next step on defense. Following the first round, Kiper has the Raiders selecting Carlos Watkins out of Clemson to add a physical presence on the defensive front.
"Watkins is an explosive pass-rusher in a big frame," Kiper noted. "If he had been more consistent on every down, he might be a first-round pick."
The player that catches my attention on Kiper's three round draft list is running back D'Onta Foreman out of the University of Texas. In 2016, Foreman carried the ball 323 times and ran for an absurd 2,028 yards to coincide with 15 touchdowns.
"Foreman had a great year at Texas, now he's not as versatile, he's not going to catch the ball out of the backfield," said Kiper. "He's gotta improve as a blocker, but as a runner he had very few peers at [the] college football [level], he did a great job."
The Raiders currently have two dynamic pass-catchers out of the backfield in DeAndré Washington and Jalen Richard, but at 6'1", 249 pounds, Foreman is a big body with the ability to run downhill. The team has been linked to running back Marshawn Lynch in past weeks, to serve as a physical presence, but if it doesn't happen, Kiper could see the Raiders as a possible landing spot for Foreman in the third round.