AFC West: Stanley Jean-Baptiste

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Minutes after selecting Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack with the fifth pick of the 2014 NFL draft, Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie was asked if he thought his quarterback of the future might still be available.

Mind you, this was when Blake Bortles had been the only quarterback taken.

“Yes,” McKenzie said softly, “there’s an opportunity for that. Yes.”

[+] EnlargeDerek Carr
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty ImagesDerek Carr passed for 5,082 yards with 50 TDs and eight interceptions in 13 starts last season.
So by the time the dust cleared on the first round Thursday night, Bortles, who was taken third overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars, was joined by Johnny Manziel, who fell to 22nd and the Cleveland Browns, and Teddy Bridgewater, who went 32nd in the final pick of the night to the Minnesota Vikings, who traded up to get him.

Might Fresno State’s Derek Carr, who has long been linked to the Raiders, still be on the docket when Oakland is scheduled to make the fourth pick of the night, No. 36 overall, or will the Houston Texans, who badly need a quarterback and lead off the second round, make it a family affair by drafting the younger brother of the man they made the first overall pick in 2002, David Carr?

From the Raiders’ perspective, it’s no secret they believe they are set with Matt Schaub for at least the next two years, and they even feel comfortable with backups Matt McGloin and Trent Edwards. But the feeling is also they would like to draft a project in the middle rounds, someone like Pittsburgh’s Tom Savage. Currently, the Raiders’ fourth-round pick is at No. 107 overall.

One plausible scenario has the Raiders, who do not have picks in the fifth or sixth rounds but hold three in the seventh, trading back in the second round to acquire more selections, especially if they are not truly in love with a player at No. 4 in the second round today.

McKenzie, though, said “no deal was presented, only interest” for the No. 5 overall pick on Thursday. With it not clear if there will be a market today for the Raiders’ second-rounder, they have options.

Mack certainly addressed a need and was the best player available as well.

So, besides Carr, who passed for 5,082 yards with 50 touchdowns and eight interceptions and completed 68.7 percent of his passes in 13 starts last season, who is a potential target for the Raiders in the second round?

Here is a look at five possible prospects:

USC receiver Marqise Lee was the 2012 Biletnikoff Award winner as a sophomore, but had a down junior year. At just under 6-foot and 192 pounds, there are questions about his durability, but he is a playmaker after the catch.

Alabama offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio is massive at 6-7, 321 pounds, but there are concerns about his surgically repaied knee. He is considered an ideal fit to work in a power-blocking scheme.

Minnesota defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman is a disruptive if inconsistent force at a tick under 6-6 and 310 pounds. His athleticism might force a move to defensive end.

Utah cornerback Keith McGill is big at 6-3, 213 pounds, and his long arms make him an ideal fit for press coverage. Still, he only had one interception in two seasons for the Utes.

Nebraska cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste is also big for the position at 6-3, 218 pounds and had seven interceptions in 19 starts for the Cornhuskers.
In his final mock draft Insider, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. predicts the San Diego Chargers will select a cornerback at No. 25.

But it's a new name than previous mocks, with the Chargers selecting lankly Nebraska cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste.

Kiper has corners Justin Gilbert (No. 10 to the Detroit Lions), Kyle Fuller (No. 14 to the Chicago Bears) Darqueze Dennard (No. 15 to the Pittsburgh Steelers) and Bradley Roby (No. 24 to Cincinnati) all off the board before San Diego selects, leaving Jason Verrett and Jean-Baptiste as the top cornerback prospects on the board.

At 6-foot-2 and 218 pounds, Jean-Baptiste is in the mold of taller Seattle cornerbacks such as Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell, who gave the Denver Broncos trouble in the Super Bowl.

Kiper: "This is a bet on upside, a shot taken on a big cornerback you hope develops into the kind of player we're seeing in the Seattle secondary. But the Chargers really need help at cornerback, and with Roby off the board at No. 24, they make a play for upside here. I do think the Chargers could go a few ways here, but if they believe they can develop Jean-Baptiste, they could have something."

Notre Dame defensive tackle Louis Nix III, who I had projected to San Diego at No. 25, was not in the first round of Kiper's mock draft. Teams could be concerned about the lingering effects of a knee issue Nix dealt with during his 2013 season, detailed here by Dr. David Chao writing for the National Football Post.

Might Raiders be in market for CB?

February, 26, 2014
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The Oakland Raiders used their top draft pick on a cornerback last season in D.J. Hayden, and big things are expected of him in his second season, what with his being healthy enough to have a full offseason. And while three other corners will be unrestricted free agents in Tracy Porter, Mike Jenkins and Phillip Adams, it does not seem likely Oakland will again take a cornerback with its first pick, at No. 5 overall. Then again, if a quality corner falls into their lap, perhaps.

A look, then, at three cornerbacks who intrigued the masses at the NFL combine on Monday ...

CB Justin Gilbert (Oklahoma State)

Widely seen as the top cornerback in the draft, he cemented said status with a show in Indianapolis. The 6-foot, 202-pound Gilbert ran a 4.37-second 40-yard dash, fastest among defensive backs. He also showed strength in getting 20 reps in the bench press, which was the second-highest number among corners, and explosiveness with a 35.5-inch vertical leap and a broad jump of 10-6. Scouts rave about his ball skills and physicality.

CB Jason Verrett (TCU)

Verrett also did a lot to improve his draft stock at the combine. Besides showing speed in the 40 (4.38 seconds), he also had a 39-inch vertical (third best among corners, seventh best of the entire combine). Still, at just 5-9, 189 pounds, his future seems to be in an NFL slot, and it would be difficult to see a team using their lone first-round pick on a nickelback, no?

CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste (Nebraska)

OK, so, many critics think Jean-Baptiste stunk up the joint with a 4.61-second 40-yard dash. But he is big. At 6-3, 218 pounds he would not be dwarfed by the bigger receivers in the NFL. His 41.5-inch vertical was the second-best mark of the combine and his 10-8 broad jump was sixth-best in the combine.

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