Oakland Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie usually has a surprise in the second round of the draft. And this year, it could be Tanoh Kpassagnon out of Villanova.
In the first round of the draft, Oakland Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie takes the best player available. It usually a player we’ve heard of from college and projected to be and NFL star. Then in the second round, he takes a chance on an athlete or a player with a lot of upside.
He’s either from a smaller school or just has not become a finished product yet. In 2013, that was right OT Menelik Watson, once a college basketball player and amature boxer. He had only a couple of years of experience playing football before the NFL.
In 2014, it was QB Derek Carr, who played very well in college but a smaller Fresno State. The NFL counted his Bowl game against USC against him heavily. It also didn’t help that it didn’t work out for his brother, 2002 No. 1 overall David Carr.
In 2015, it was DL Mario Edwards Jr. who had all kinds of talent out of Florida State. But he didn’t have great statistics as his job was simply to soak up blocks for his teammates. He also played at a heavier weight than what’s optimal for him.
Then in 2016, there was Jihad Ward, who was a WR and a S when he first started out at Illinois. But he eventually ate his way to the D-line, where he showed decent athleticism and a motor. His hang-up is his lack of experience and polish as a D-lineman.
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This year, the surprise will be DL Tanoh Kpassagnon from Villanova if he’s on the board. Kpassagnon is a 6’7″, 290-pound athletic freak with 36-inch-long arms that runs a 4.83 40. He first started to get noticed during Senior Bowl Week, winning his battles in practice.
He would then go onto have a good Senior Bowl with a sack in the contest. It was at that time that Raiders brass had become quite smitten with him. McKenzie is channeling his inner Al Davis as Kpassagnon looks like the guy you want to get of the bus first.
Jared Tokarz of NFL Draft Insider said:
"“Raiders fell in love with monster DE Tanoh Kpassagnon during interview I am told if he runs under 4.7. Raiders consider reaching for him.”"
He didn’t run his 40 in under 4.7 so it’s safe to say they won’t reach for him in the first round. Many of draft boards I’ve seen have him projected in Rounds 3 or4. So it will be considered a reach if and when the Raiders take him in the second round.
He has a surprisingly quick first step and burst around the edge at his size. He also has a long-running motor to go with the size and the length that he has. But he is a little on the raw side, not having a whole lot of pass-rush moves, depending on speed and power.
Of the aforementioned second-round picks, the Raiders hit with Carr and Edwards is promising. They missed with Watson before he went to Denver and Ward did nothing spectacular as a rookie. We’ll see what happens with Kpassagnon if he’s there in Round 2.