During the NFL Combine, prospects are looked at under a microscope and no detail can be hidden. That’s especially the case now that the Las Vegas Raiders have Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock on the prowl. If there’s anything that those two do well it’s research. Defensive lineman Rock Blacklock out of TCU found that out the hard way during a meeting with the team.
“The Raiders told me about my 37 parking tickets that I didn’t know about,” Blacklock said.
37 parking tickets would seriously add up to a ton of money. Luckily, Blacklock doesn’t have any other character concerns that could hurt his draft chances.
“I guess it’s a good thing because I ain’t got no bad record. Clean dude,” Blacklock added.
Blacklock Is a Top Talent
If you’re unfamiliar with Blacklock, he’s a name to keep an eye on for the Raiders later in the draft. Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller ranks him as the 27th best player in the entire draft. After Mike Mayock put P.J. Hall on notice, it’s possible that the team could look into upgrading the interior of their defensive line heading into 2020.
The Raiders were figured to go after Chiefs free agent stud Chris Jones, but he’s reportedly getting hit with the franchise tag. He was easily the best interior defender on the market and there’s a steep drop off with him staying put. That means the team could be interested in adding a defensive tackle in the draft. Obviously, the Raiders could have some interest in Blacklock based on the fact that they met with him.
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Blacklock Would Be a Better Target If Raiders Trade Down
While Blacklock is ranked as a top 30 player, you’d be hardpressed to find him picked in the first round of any mock draft. If the Raiders like him, they should either try to trade into the second round or possibly even wait until the third. He did have decent production in college, but he does have issues. NFL analyst Lance Zierlein weighed some Blacklock’s pro and cons:
Flashes menacing disruptive qualities as a gap seeker, but is just ordinary when forced to sit and take on blocks. Blacklock rebounded from a 2018 Achilles injury and showed off basketball quickness that was often too much for a single blocker. However, his technique and hand usage need work, as he’s inconsistent holding the point and keeping his feet. He’s a hit-or-miss run defender, but he’s a relentless pass rusher with elite lateral quickness and change of direction to exploit interior galoots and open pathways to the pocket. Blacklock needs development as a one-gapping three-technique with rare movement talent and intriguing rush potential.
The Raiders need some pass rush from the interior of their defensive line and Blacklock has potential in that regard. There are some red flags with his injury history and inconsistency, but he’d definitely be worth a gamble if he makes it to the third round.