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What To Expect From The 2016 Raiders' Draft Class


The 2016 NFL Draft is over, and the Raiders have added seven players to their roster.

The four defensive players and three offensive players – highlighted by West Virginia safety Karl Joseph – make up the 2016 Draft Class, and now that the three-day event is officially in our rearview mirror, let's do an initial breakdown of each of the newest members of the Silver and Black.

First Round (No. 14 overall)West Virginia safety Karl Joseph

The Raiders used their first pick of the Draft on Joseph, who is now the newest member of the re-vamped Raiders' secondary.

The big-hitting safety from West Virginia finished his career as a two-time team captain for the Mountaineers, and looks poised to join free agent acquisition Reggie Nelson on the backend of the Raiders' defense.

Joseph is coming off an ACL injury, but is hopeful to be back in time for the beginning of Training Camp 2016.

"He's [Joseph] a guy that is very versatile," Head Coach Jack Del Rio said. "He can come off the edge as a blitzer. He can play down in the box. He can play centerfield. He's a guy that does a great job of taking angles, and he's a very efficient hitter and tackler. He plays with a great temperament. [We're] really excited to get our hands on him and looking forward to working with him."

Second Round (No. 44 overall) – Illinois defensive end Jihad Ward

After spending two seasons in junior college, the Philadelphia-native joined the Illini prior to the 2014 season.

While Ward is relatively young at the defensive end position – he only made the shift from safety in junior college – Del Rio is looking forward to the upside the dynamic lineman can bring to the Silver and Black, and is expecting him to contribute in 2016.

"I think we think he has a great upside," Del Rio explained. "We think he's a big, athletic defensive lineman that can play multiple positions. He can play a five technique, defensive-ended five technique. Move inside and play a three technique."

The defensive line is quickly becoming a position of depth for the Silver and Black, but it'll be interesting to see how Ward stacks up once the pads come on.

Third Round (No. 75 overall) – Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun

With their third pick, the Raiders kept their eye on the defensive line, adding three-time First-Team All-Big Ten Selection Shilique Calhoun.

Calhoun was a three-year starter for the Spartans, and was incredibly effective during his time in East Lansing, and similarly to Ward, he'll be looking to earn snaps along the defensive line for the Silver and Black in 2016.

Fourth Round (No. 100 overall) – Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook

Let's get this out of the way first – Derek Carr is the Raiders' starting quarterback for the 2016 season and hopefully much longer; General Manager Reggie McKenzie said as much Saturday.

However, Cook was thought to be a Day One talent, and as McKenzie also acknowledged, you can never have enough depth – even at the quarterback position.

Cook will most likely start OTAs [Organized Team Activities] running with the third unit, and he and Matt McGloin figure to battle it out through training camp for the right to be the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart.

Fifth Round (No. 143 overall) – Texas Tech running back DeAndre Washington

Heading into 2016, outside of reworking the secondary, the other glaring need on the Raiders' roster was finding another running back to complement Latavius Murray.

Enter DeAndre Washington.

Washington played his college football at Texas Tech, showcasing his ability as both a ball carrier and a pass catcher out of the backfield.

Behind Murray, Derek Carr was the team's second-leading rusher with 133 yards in 2015, so it would be fair to expect that that the rookie will get his fair share of work in 2016.

Sixth Round (No. 194 overall) – Colorado State outside linebacker Cory James

The Silver and Black returned to the defensive side of the ball in the sixth round, selecting linebacker Cory James out of Colorado State.

College action photos of the Raiders 2016 Draft Class.

James was moved around a lot as a senior, but heading into his rookie season he's expecting to compete for time at both the WILL and SAM positions, as well as contributing on special teams.

Seventh Round (No. 234 overall) – LSU guard Vadal Alexander

McKenzie and Del Rio haven't been shy about saying that they covet big, strong men, and Alexander definitely fits that mold.

A four-year starter along the offensive line at LSU, the versatile lineman has the ability to play both tackle and guard, and is looking forward to learning from offensive line coach Mike Tice.

"I've played tackle, guard, zone schemes, power schemes, multiple schemes – I can do it all, in my opinion," Alexander explained. "I'm looking forward to whatever they need me to do."

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