Tag Archives: 2015 NFL Draft

Oakland Raiders Training Camp Preview: Get To Know Mario Edwards Jr.

Photo by Shawn Jonas

Alameda, California – With the third pick in the second round, 35th overall, The Oakland Raiders Select Mario Edwards Jr.

Mario Edwards Jr.
Defensive Line
Florida State
6- foot-3
279 pounds

College career: Edwards was the No. 1 prospect out of high school, and played three seasons at Florida State. He registered 89 tackles, 23 tackles for loss, eight sacks and three forced fumbles over his career. He was a first-team All-ACC and a second team All-American as a junior.

Edwards Jr. is considered a defensive tackle in a 4-3 defensive system that the Raiders use. His versatility may be the best aspect of his game. He can be used as an interior rusher, especially after Antonio Smith was cut. He flourishes in stopping the running game. The Raiders plan to keep his weight around 280-285 lbs. which leads me to believe he will also used as a defensive end. With the versatility of Khalil Mack and now Mario Edwards they could use both in a multitude of ways to keep offenses and opposing quarterbacks guessing.

NFL Scouting Report

OVERVIEW
Started 13 games and selected first-team All-ACC in 2014. Did not play against N.C. State after suffering a concussion the previous game (vs. Clemson). Selected third-team All-ACC in 2013 and missed two games with a hand injury. Had a sack in the BCS National Championship Game against Auburn. Only true freshman to start on defense in 2012 after replacing injured Tank Carradine. Rated No. 1 prospect in nation out of high school and was selected USA Today Defensive Player of the Year. His father, Mario, Sr., was a heralded cornerback at FSU and won a national championship in 1999-2000. His father also played in the NFL for five years after being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys (sixth round) in 2000.

Analysis

STRENGTHS: Scheme versatile. Can play base end or defensive tackle in a 4-3 (depending on weight) or as a 3-4 defensive end. Has thick bubble and legs. Comes off snap with decent power. Can brace and anchor at point of attack. Flashes upper-body strength to press and lock out tackles. Above-average closing burst as tackle. Strength to leverage and toss blockers when motivated.

WEAKNESSES: Ineffective as pass rusher. Played some stand-up defensive end in college and showed no explosiveness off snap. Play speed and fire go missing from pass rush. Hand usage is hit or miss and appears to lack power with hands. Inconsistent getting arm extension, limiting ability to control and dominate a snap. Too involved in hand fighting and plays through a straw, losing sight of ball carrier.

DRAFT PROJECTION Rounds 3-4

BOTTOM LINE He’s a 3-4 defensive end or a 4-3 defensive tackle who has to make a living playing the run. Edwards failed to reach expectations while at Florida State and ended his career as a core defender rather than dominant force. His “level of ability” is higher than his current level of play and could continue to be the case unless he finds more passion and effort from snap to snap.

Oakland Raiders Q & A Transcript

Q: Did you grow up a Cowboys fan because of your dad? Who did you root for growing up?

Edwards Jr.: “I definitely was a Cowboys fan because my dad played, but I’m excited that Oakland chose me.”

Q: Were you in the same recruiting class as Menelik Watson at Florida State? Did you come in together?

Edwards Jr.: “No we didn’t come in together. Menelik came and had one year left. He was older than me.”

Q: Did you guys overlap one year?

Edwards Jr.: “Yeah we were there one year. I was there with him one year.”

Q: How much do you weigh right now? I had read that you are about 272 ppund, at least it was that way at your pro day.

Edwards Jr.: “Right. I’m at 277 right now.”

Q: Were you surprised that the Raiders called? Did you know that they were in on you? Was there interest expressed at the combine?

Edwards Jr.: “My first time I had talked to them was yesterday and then I talked to them again this morning and then my agent called me about four or five minutes before they were on the clock and let me know I was moving out West.”

Q: Are you excited to be reunited with Raiders linebackers coach Sal Sunseri?

Edwards Jr.: “Definitely man, my two years when he was there were great. I learned so much from him and we developed a great relationship and now to go back and play under him again is definitely an honor.”

Q: What’s the weight range that you feel comfortable playing at, because I know you’ve played different positions?

Edwards Jr.: “Talking to them, they like me at the 280-285 weight range, so that’s pretty easy to stay at.”

Q: Do they want you as an end then at that weight?

Edwards Jr.: “They want me as a Leo and to rush and then mismatch on the inside and do things like that as well.”

Q: Did you get caught up in all the pre-draft criticisms about your effort, desire and weight and how do you answer all those criticisms?

Edwards Jr.: “Not really. If they really understood that coming into FSU there was never a set weight for me to be at. The whole motto or the whole goal was as long as you can run and do what we ask you to do I don’t care what your weight is. And I’ve even asked [Florida State Head] Coach Jimbo Fisher to what was just too high of a weight and he replied, if you’re 310, 312 then they have to deal with you being at 310, 312. Don’t worry about the weight just play. It was never a structured weight for me to be at. Then again it was in my sophomore year when we were playing just two quarters and we were done when I was 280-287 and then I also have where my following junior year I’m 310 and I’m playing 70-75 plays a game. We played 14 games and out of eight or nine of them I didn’t step foot off the field. Even if I was 277 right now, nobody can go 100 percent 77 plays straight and be effective. If they really understood how it was set up and that there was really no weight limit for me, then they would understand how things turned out.”

Q: When you come out of high school as a top recruit, do you think that the bar is set so high that if you statically fall anywhere short of that then you are going to hear about it?

Edwards Jr.: “I mean that’s just the world that we live in today. I feel like if I would have controlled my weight my three years that I could have lived up to what my rankings were. However I can’t put myself behind the eight ball. I took full responsibility for that. I understand how it works.”

Q: What do you think of this role, as the Leo position can have a bunch of different responsibilities?

Edwards Jr.: “I’m excited to play anything, honestly. Whatever they want me to play, whatever fits best. I’m not just focusing on one specific thing, whether it’s pass rushing or anything like that. I’m trying to be a complete player. I’m trying to go out there and be great in the run and be great in the pass and go out there and contribute to the team.”

Q: You’ve played in a lot of big college games at Florida State. What kind of an advantage, if any, does that give you over some other prospects?

Edwards Jr.: “We may have played a few other better players, but I was [inaudible]. I don’t think it gives me any advantage over anyone else, because now if they’ve made it to the NFL, that means that they’re good as well. Every game, every week is going to be like a national championship game, because now it’s the cream of the crop. Everybody is good. Everybody is great. Everybody is big, strong and fast, so now you have to go separate yourself from them.”

Q: What was the scene like when you got the news today? Where were you and who was with you?

Edwards Jr.: “I was in Ocean Springs, Miss., with my grandma there, my aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, immediate family. Man, it was great. My whole house shook when they called me name on TV. We were definitely excited.”

Q: How many people do you think were there total?

Edwards Jr.: “Maybe about 20 to 22 people. Not many.”

Q: Your dad said you were a little overconfident coming out of high school. Do you think that was true?

Edwards Jr.: “I could say some of that was true. Coming out, No. 1 in in the nation and all that stuff, you have people saying you’re this and that, and all you’ve got to do is this and this and that. You kind of relax and take the foot off the pedal a little bit. But now, knowing that was the wrong thing to do, because once you get comfortable, as my dad said, you either get worse or you get better. There’s no in between. Me taking my foot off the gas pedal definitely caused me to gain weight and become worse. I just say that me getting a little too comfortable and complacent with where I was ranked kind of had its toll on me coming in overweight.”

Q: When did that light come on for you, when you realized you weren’t giving it what you needed to?

Edwards Jr.: “I would kind of say it came on when I first started in the Orange Bowl my freshman year. Coming into my sophomore year, I played at 280 to 287. Then my junior year, I came in at 310. I would say probably my freshman year. I got up to 310, but I was still a 500-plus squatter, 450-plus bencher, and still running 17 or 18 miles per hour. So it wasn’t that I couldn’t perform, I just couldn’t perform for a long time.”

Q: A lot of scouts think you helped yourself at your pro day. Did it feel like that to you?

Edwards Jr.: “Definitely. I felt like I had a decent enough grade coming out and I knew that if I could do great in my – first of all, getting my weight down and controlling it for a long period of time, from Oregon until now standing in the 270-280 range – then on top of my combine and pro day workout, I felt like I could have helped myself tremendously in the draft.”

College Bio

Entered Florida State as the nation’s No. 1 recruit and lived up to the billing as he developed into an All-ACC First Team selection and All-American as a junior in 2014…appeared in 36 games with 26 starts in his career and had 89 tackles, 23 TFLs and eight sacks.

2014: Versatile second-year starter led the Seminoles with 11 tackles for loss in 13 games, while playing defensive end, defensive tackle and Jack linebacker…also played fullback in some jumbo goal-line packages…All-ACC First Team selection by the coaches and media and two-time ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week…collected Sports Illustrated All-America Second Team accolades…established season-high marks in tackles (44), pass break-ups (5) and forced fumbles (2)…ranked second on the team with three sacks…registered new career-highs with nine tackles against Virginia, including four for losses; also forced a fumble to win second ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week honor…forced a fumble on FSU’s first defensive play and finished with three TFLs versus Wake Forest…able to play on the inside and on the edge on FSU’s defensive line…his 23 career tackles for loss was four shy of FSU’s all-time top 20…appeared on the Bednarik, Nagurski and Lombardi Watch Lists.

2013: Seminoles starter at the right end and a key contributor to the nation’s third-ranked total defense (281.4 ypg) and No. 1 scoring defense (12.1 ppg)…the sophomore was named one of the top defensive linemen in the conference by both the coaches and the media…in his second season in Tallahassee made 11 starts and appeared in 12 games, making 28 tackles…became a major force when it came to splash plays in 2013 with two fumble recoveries, a forced fumble, 9.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks, an interception and a TD return…recovered a fumble and returned it 37 yards for a touch- down at Clemson…had a monster performance in the BCS National Championship Game, totaling a career-high 3.0 tackles for loss in- cluding a sack… had six tackles against Auburn…recorded 2.0 TFLs and 1.0 sacks on four total tackles against Miami…intercepted a pass and made two tackles, including 0.5 sacks, at Wake Forest… had three tackles and then-career-highs with 2.0 TFL, an eight-yard sack and a forced fumble at Florida…posted three tackles in the season opener at Pitt…finished with four tackles and 1.0 tackles for loss against Nevada…made one tackle – a 3-yard loss – and broke up a pass against Idaho.

2012: Appeared in 11 games and made his first career start in the ACC Championship Game replacing Cornellius Carradine…the only five-stars from Rivals, Scout and 247Sports…unanimously ranked No. 1 at his position whether it be defensive end or defensive tackle…the top player coming out of the state of Texas… Scout said it is hard to find a player as big and explosive as Edwards…of his 72 tackles as a senior 32 were for a loss including 11 sacks…named the state of Texas Class 4A Defensive Player of the Year as a junior by the Associated Press…recorded 127 tackles, 50 tackles for loss and 18 sacks leading Denton Ryan to a state runner-up finish…recorded 69 tackles and three sacks as a fresh- man on top of catching 17 passes for 361 yards and three TDs…his high school coach raved about his work ethic as he and his father, former FSU star Mario Edwards, work out together at 6 a.m. each morning…Edwards wears the same number (15) as his dad did at FSU…chose Florida State over Texas, Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, among others.

Only true freshman to register a start for FSU on the defensive side of the ball…came into the ACC Championship with seven tackles on the season and doubled that number in one game, registering seven versus the Yellow Jackets, including a tackle for loss… made three tackles and registered his first pass break-up against Northern Illinois in the Orange Bowl in his second career start… recorded his first career sack on the road in a win over Maryland… was projected to redshirt in 2012, but was forced into action due to the loss of Brandon Jenkins in week one and then into the starting line-up after losing Carradine in week 12.

Oakland Raiders Sign Seventh-Round Draft Pick Cornerback Dexter McDonald

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed seventh-round draft pick CB Dexter McDonald, the club announced Tuesday.

McDonald is the eighth of the team’s 10 draft picks from the 2015 NFL Draft to sign their rookie contract, joining WR Amari Cooper, G/C Jon Feliciano, LB Ben Heeney, LB Neiron Ball, DE Max Valles, T Anthony Morris and WR Andre Debose.

McDonald was selected 242nd overall by the Raiders in the 2015 NFL Draft. He played three seasons at Kansas, starting 24-of-31 games at cornerback. He also spent one season at Butler (Kan.) Community College, and totaled 86 tackles (60 solo), five interceptions, 26 passes defensed and one forced fumble during his collegiate career.

Oakland Raiders Sign Fourth-Round Pick Guard/Center Jon Feliciano

May 15, 2015 12:27 PM PT

ALAMEDA, CA. – The Oakland Raiders have signed fourth-round draft pick G/C Jon Feliciano, the club announced Friday.

Feliciano is the fifth of the team’s 10 draft picks from the 2015 NFL Draft to sign his rookie contract, along with WR Amari Cooper, DE Max Valles, T Anthony Morris and WR Andre Debose.

The 6-foot-4, 323-pounder was selected 128th overall by the Raiders in the 2015 NFL Draft. He played four seasons at Miami (Fla.), appearing in 48 games with 46 starts. Feliciano made starts at left tackle, left guard, right tackle and right guard over his collegiate career, earning All-ACC honorable mentions each year from 2012-14.

The Davie, Fla., native started all 13 games as a senior, rotating between left tackle, left guard and right tackle, helping the Hurricanes to the Duck Commander Independence Bowl.
Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Oakland Raiders Sign Sixth-Round Pick Defensive End Max Valles

May 15, 2015 11:50 AM

ALAMEDA, CA. – The Oakland Raiders have signed sixth-round draft pick Defensive End Max Valles, the club announced Friday.

Valles is the fourth of the team’s 10 draft picks from the 2015 NFL Draft to sign their rookie contract, joining WR Amari Cooper, T Anthony Morris and WR Andre Debose.

Valles was selected 161st overall by Oakland in the 2015 NFL Draft. He spent two seasons at Virginia after playing one year at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy in 2012 following his senior year of high school. In two years at Virginia, he totaled 78 tackles (32 solo), 13 sacks, two forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and one pass defensed.

The Sicklerville, N.J., native ranked second in the ACC with nine sacks as a sophomore in 2014, earning him spots on both the media and coaches’ All-ACC Third Team.

Courtesy Of The Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Oakland Raiders Sign Seventh Rounders Anthony Morris, Andre Debose

May 12, 2015 5:06 PM PT

Raiders Sign Seventh-Rounders Morris, Debose

ALAMEDA, CA. – The Raiders have signed seventh-round draft picks Tackle Anthony Morris and Wide Receiver Andre Debose, the club announced Tuesday.

Morris and Debose are the second and third of the team’s 10 draft picks from the 2015 NFL Draft to sign their rookie contract, along with first-round selection WR Amari Cooper.

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Photo by Shawn Jonas

Morris was selected 218th overall by the Raiders in the 2015 NFL Draft. He played four seasons at Tennessee State, appearing in 35 games with 11 starts over his career. As a senior, the 6-foot-7, 303-pounder started 10 games at tackle, anchoring an offensive line that gave up only 1.17 sacks per game.

Debose was selected 221st overall by Oakland in the 2015 NFL Draft. In four seasons at Florida, he played in 42 games, making eight starts, and totaling 29 receptions for 543 yards and four touchdowns. Serving as the team’s primary returner, the 6-foot, 190-pounder posted 79 kickoff returns for 2,111 yards (26.7 avg.) and four touchdowns. He also returned 34 punts for 420 yards (12.4 avg.) and one touchdown.

Courtesy of The Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Oakland Raiders Undrafted Free Agent Josh Harper’s Press Conference After First Rookie Mini Camp Practice

May 8, 2015, 2:02 PM PT

The Oakland Raiders undrafted free agent Josh Harper responds to media questions after his first NFL action rookie mini camp.

Harper  went undrafted, but after the Draft concluded, he received calls from numerous teams offering him a contract as an undrafted free agent. However, after hearing all of the pitches from the respective teams, the Fresno State product listened to his gut and joined the Silver and Black.

Harper : “I feel like the Raiders organization is headed into the right direction,” Harper said. “Why not try to be a part of something that’s going to be special down the road? It was a whole little packaged deal: the organization, Derek [Carr] being here because I know he’s going to help me as much as I can, learning the playbook.”
HARPER REALIZES NOTHING WILL BE HANDED TO HIM

While he was disappointed he went undrafted, Harper is now determined to make the most of his opportunity in Oakland.
He also realizes that nothing will be handed to him, and is willing to do whatever he needs to do to make the final roster.

Harper: “I wouldn’t say pressure but I would say you have to show up every day,” Harper said. “You have to give them a reason to allow you do have a spot on this team. Nothing’s going to be given to you but that’s why you have to show up and make plays.”

Amari Cooper’s Press Conference After First Rookie Mini Camp Session

May 8, 2015 1:15 PM PT

Alameda, CA. – The number one wide receiver, and fourth player overall in the 2015 NFL Draft,  Amari Cooper participates in his first practice as an Oakland Raider.

The rookie mini camp session was only a day after he arrived in Oakland and the Raiders also announce the signing of the Highly touted receiver out of Alabama to a contract.

He played three seasons at Alabama, appearing in 40 games and making 30 starts. Cooper left Alabama as the school’s most productive receiver in their illustrious history, setting school records with 228 receptions, 3,463 receiving yards and 31 receiving touchdowns. The 6-foot-1, 211-pounder also ranks near the top of the SEC’s receiving record books in every major category, finishing third all-time in receptions, second all-time in receiving yards and first in receiving touchdowns while helping the Crimson Tide win the BCS National Championship in 2012.

As a senior, the Miami, Fla., native was awarded the Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the nation’s most outstanding receiver. He was also named the SEC’s Offensive Player of the Year and finished third in voting for the Heisman Trophy. On his way to being a unanimous first-team All-American selection his senior season, Cooper posted 124 receptions (fourth most by any player from a Power Five Conference in FBS history) for 1,727 receiving yards (Alabama and SEC record) and 16 receiving touchdowns.

It was important for the former Alabama wide receiver to get the business part of the game taken care of so he could put all of his focus on football.

“My agent advised me to do that, so I guess it was important to him,” said Cooper.

Cooper participated in a short press conference after his first rookie mini camp session. 

All Media by Shawn Jonas

Oakland Raiders Set To Release Veteran Wide Receiver James Jones

May 3, 2015 10:28 PM PT

Featured photo By Shawn Jonas

Alameda, California –  Fallon Smith of CSN Bay Area broke the news of the Oakland Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie has notified veteran wide receiver James Jones that he will be released.

Jones had signed a three-year contract with the Raiders . The move will clear 3.4 million dollars in salary-cap savings and will cost the Raiders no dead money in the move.

The 31 year-old James Jones will be entering his 9th NFL season in 2015. The San Jose, California native signed with the Raiders in 2014 after spending 7 seasons with the Green Bay Packers. He attended Gunderson High School and is a San Jose State alum.

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Photo by Shawn Jonas

He played all 16 games with the Raiders and had 73 receptions for 666 yards and 6 touchdowns in 2014. His career totals, 383 receptions for 4,971 yards and 43 touchdowns.

The Raiders have new found depth at the wide receiver position since signing Michael Crabtree in free agency and drafting the highly touted Amari Cooper with the 4th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft on Thursday.

The Raiders depth chart looks something like this Amari Cooper, Rod Streater, Michael Crabtree, Andre Holmes, Brice Butler, Kenbrell Thompkins, Seth Roberts, and newly added 7th round draft pick Andre Debose.

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Unofficially, Oakland also signed Freson State wide receiver Josh Harper. Harper reunites with quarterback Derek Carr. They played together for three years and in Carr’s final season Harper caught 79 passes for 1011 yards and 13 touchdowns.  Carr’s other main target at Fresno State, Davante Adams, was drafted by Green Bay in 2014. Harper’s catches went up as a senior due in large part to seeing a larger portion of the passes in 2014 with 131 targets. In improving from 79 to 90 catches his receiving yards also went up to 1097.

Youth is the theme to this offseason moves for the Raiders and the trend continues with tonights release of James Jones. Reggie McKenzie obviously believes he has his franchise quarterback and he is surrounding him with young talent to hopefully build a winner and go on a nice long run.

The Oakland Raiders Selected Kansas Linebacker Ben Heeney in the 5th Round

May 2, 2015 12:00 PM PT

Alameda, California – The Oakland Raiders selected University of Kansas Linebacker Ben Heeney in the 5th round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Ben Heeney  6 foot tall and 231 pounds. He led Kansas in tackles for the last three seasons topping out his senior year with 127. While Heeney is a undersized he plays fast with good speed.  Aggressive pursuit angles. His switch is always flipped on the field, displaying a motor that never quits and chasing down plays he has no business being involved in. Smart, instinctive player who read/reacts well, breaking down well on the move. Locks onto his target quickly and doesn’t make many mistakes. Physical wrap-up tackler and throws his body around with toughness to take the punishment. Plays pissed off with a chip and violent, competitive nature. Floats well in coverage to jump passes and get his hands on the ball (eight passes defended, four interceptions in his career). Experienced with man coverage responsibilities and was often the only linebacker on the field, rarely leaving the field. Physical downhill blitzer. Try-hard motor and leaves it all out on the field with resilient mentality. Handled adversity with a handful of different coaches in his four seasons at Kansas (9-39 record over that stretch).

Productive Career

Henry Led the Jayhawks in tackles each of the past three seasons, and led the NCAA in solo tackles in 2014 with 7.3 per game

2014 STATISTICS

Tackles      Sacks     Tackles for Loss
127               1.5                       12.0

College Bio

2014 (Sr.): Named Fourth Team All-America by Phil Steele Magazine… Honorable Mention Big 12 Conference Defensive Player of the Year… Selected as a unanimous All-Big 12 First Team honoree by the Associated Press, conference coaches, 247sports.com, ESPN.com, Phil Steele Magazine, Waco Tribune-Herald, FOXSports.com and CBSSports.com… Voted a team captain for the second-straight season… Invited to play in the 2015 East-West Shrine Game following the season… Started all 12 games in 2014… Finished the regular season with 127 tackles, one shy of the conference lead… Led the NCAA and Big 12 in solo tackles with 7.3 per outing…Recorded the 2014 Big 12 single-game high 21 tackles at Texas Tech – 17 of which were solo tackles – marking the second-most in a single game in conference history… Tackled in double digits seven times on the year… Finished his career with 335 total tackles which is eighth best in KU history… He also recorded 35.5 tackles-for-loss in his career which ranks fourth best in the Kansas record book… Opened his senior campaign with a team-high 11 tackles vs. SEMO… Collected 15 tackles, tying a then-career-high, and posted one tackle- for-loss at Duke… Boasted seven solo tackles, two behind the line of scrimmage and a forced fumble against Central Michigan… Totaled 10 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 1.5 tackles-for-loss, one quarterback hurry and one fumble recovery against Texas… Posted six tackles and two tackles-for-loss at West Virginia… Logged a game-high 14 tackles and a sack to go with 3.5 tackles for loss against Oklahoma State… Boasted the most single-game tackles at KU since 1979 and a Big 12 Conference season-high, along with a personal-best, 21 total stops along with an interception at Texas Tech… Logged his sixth double-digit tackling effort of 2014 with 10 tackles and carried the ball once for no gain at Baylor… Garnered seven tackles against Iowa State… Led the field with 11 total tackles against TCU… Contributed nine tackles – including one behind the line of scrimmage – forced a fumble and recorded one quarterback hurry at Oklahoma… Provided six tackles, including one in the backfield, at K-state.

2013 (Jr.): Selected as an All-Big 12 First Team selection by Phil Steele Magazine and an All-Big 12 Second Team selection by the conference coaches, Associated Press, San Antonio Express-News, Athlon Sports and the Waco Tribune-Herald after he finished fourth in the conference with 8.7 tackles per game and ranked fifth in tackles-for-loss per game with 1.15…Played in 10 games, starting all 10 at MLB…Missed the Oklahoma and Baylor games with an injury… Finished with a team-best 88 total stops, including 11.5 tackles for loss and the first three interceptions of his career… Reached double figures in tackles in six of his 10 games played, including four Big 12 contests… Tallied four tackles, all solos, in KU’s win over South Dakota…Credited with 1.0 sack for a loss of four yards vs. the Coyotes… Turned in a career-best 15 tackles at Rice… Also had 2.5 TFLs, 1.0 sack and two pass breakups… Had his first career interception to go along with 10 tackles, one pass breakup and 0.5 TFL vs. LA Tech… Led KU with 12 tackles, including seven solos, in the TTU game… Recorded aninterception for the second-straight game…Also had 2.0 TFLs vs. the Red Raiders… Had two tackles at TCU, including 1.0TFL,beforeleavingthegamewithaninjury…Returned from injury vs.Texas collecting a team-high nine tackles… Led KU with 11 tackles, including two TFLs, and a quarterback hurry at Oklahoma State… Had four tackles, including a TFL, plus an interception which he returned 28 yards in KU’s win over West Virginia… Tallied 11 tackles and one quarterback hurry at Iowa State… Led KU with 10 tackles vs. Kansas State, including 1.5 TFLs.

2012 (So.): Garnered All-Big 12 Second Team honors by the league’s coaches as well as the Associated Press and Phil Steele Magazine… Started all 12 games at middle linebacker… Ranked third in the Big 12 in total tackles (112) and tackles per game (9.3)… Also ranked fifth in the league in TFLs (12.0)… His 12 TFLs produced a loss of 31 yards… Also had a sack, a forced fumble and two pass breakups… Had five games with double-digit tackles… Made first career start and collected five tackles against South Dakota State… Recorded 12 stops at Northern Illinois… Made a career-high 14 tackles, including a pair of TFLs and a forced fumble, at Kansas State… Had nine stops, including seven solos, against Oklahoma State… Totaled 13 stops against Texas and added a pass breakup… Recorded 13 tackles, incluing a solo TFL and a quarterback hurry, at Baylor… Made nine tackles, including two TFLs, at Texas Tech… Registered 13 tackles, including one TFL, against Iowa State… Collected a career-best four TFLs, including first sack, along with eight total tackles at West Virginia.

2011 (Fr.): Played in all 12 contests, seeing time on defense as well as special teams… Made collegiate debut against McNeese State, recording two tackles, including one solo stop… Had single tackles against Northern Illinois, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma and Texas… Matched season high with two tackles against Kansas State… One of 10 true freshmen to play in 2011.

High School: Ranked as the 12th-best player in the state of Kansas and the 58th-best outside linebacker in the nation according to Rivals.com… Named to the Wichita Eagle’s Top 11 football team… Named 5A first-team all-state by the Topeka Capital-Journal as a running back… Rushed for 2,083 yards and 39 touchdowns on 246 carries as a senior, setting school records in both yards and touchdowns in a season… Ran for a school-record 333 yards against Salina Central… Defensively recorded 143 career tackles, including 14 for loss… Added four interceptions.
Personal: Born in Overland Park, Kansas… Son of Joe and Mitzi Heeney… Has one brother… Father and two uncles played baseball at KU… Majoring in liberal arts and sciences.

Player Overview CBS Sports

Heeney had virtually no experience at linebacker in high school and didn’t get much instruction there as a freshman, but the new coaching staff saw his potential and he flourished as a three-year starter, leading the Jayhawks in tackles each season. He lacks ideal NFL size and length, but leaves it all on the field and thrives on instincts, playing with a throwback, fierce style. There is a lot to like about Heeney with his play speed and read/react skills to be a hunter, but the body stiffness and average athleticism limit his next level upside.
A three-star LB recruit out of high school, Heeney received only two FBS-level scholarship offers (Kansas and Colorado State), but fortunately one was the Jayhawks, his dream school and where his father and two uncles played baseball. A running back in high school, he didn’t see the field much as a true freshman, but earned the starting MLB job as a sophomore in 2012 and led the team in tackles (112), earning Second Team All-Big 12 honors. Heeney missed two games due to injury (knee) in 2013, but still led the team in stops (88) and again took home Second Team All-Big 12 honors. He had his best statistical season in 2014 as a senior, finishing with 127 total tackles and 12.0 tackles for loss, earning First Team All-Big 12 honors.

STRENGTHS/WEAKNESSES CBS Sports

STRENGTHS: Good play speed with fast, aggressive pursuit angles. The switch is always flipped on the field, displaying a motor that never quits and chasing down plays he has no business being involved in. Smart, instinctive player who read/reacts well, breaking down well on the move. Locks onto his target quickly and doesn’t make many mistakes. Physical wrap-up tackler and throws his body around with toughness to take the punishment. Plays pissed off with a chip and violent, competitive nature. Floats well in coverage to jump passes and get his hands on the ball (eight passes defended, four interceptions in his career). Experienced with man coverage responsibilities and was often the only linebacker on the field, rarely leaving the field. Physical downhill blitzer. Try-hard motor and leaves it all out on the field with resilient mentality. Handled adversity with a handful of different coaches in his four seasons at Kansas (9-39 record over that stretch).
Productive career — led the Jayhawks in tackles each of the past three seasons, and led the NCAA in solo tackles in 2014 with 7.3 per game.

WEAKNESSES: Undersized with a maxed-out build and short arms. Limited athlete and tight in space, lacking easy fluidity to quickly recover after false steps. Plays fast, but straight-linish and needs to stop and collect himself changing directions. Hits too high at times and will slide off ballcarriers. Needs to improve his discipline to better balance his nonstop movements with his ball awareness. Overaggressive angles and will misjudge speed of ballcarriers at times. Shows body stiffness in coverage and struggles to find the ball once his back is turned to the line of scrimmage. Needs to improve his technique to better stack-and-shed and work his way through the trash.      -Dane Brugler

Oakland Raiders Q & A Transcript

Q: When did you get the idea the Raiders were interested in you?

Heeney: “Not even, man. That caught me so off guard. I had no idea, but I couldn’t be happier. So happy. No one has really been in contact with me from the Raiders, so it’s kind of caught me off guard. I guess that’s when the best things happen, when you don’t expect them.”

Q: What do you know about this team and this defense?

Heeney: “I don’t know much, to be honest with you. I know that Sal Sunseri is the linebackers coach. I’m very excited to work with him. I know [defensive coordinator] Ken Norton, [Jr.] is just an amazing coach, the defensive coordinator. I just can’t wait to get up there and try to prove myself and become one of the guys.”

Q: Where do you see yourself fitting best in a 4-3 defense?

Heeney: “I think I can play anything. I think I can play Mike, Will – I really think I can play anything and be productive and be a guy that you guys can count on. More than anything, I’m ready to come in and pave my way on special teams and try to be a guy is a four[-unit] special teams starter. I think I can start on every special team right away and eventually work my way up and become a contributing factor on defense.”

Q: The fourth-round pick, Jon Feliciano, said he can play all five positions across the offensive line. You can play all three linebacker positions. Did the Raiders tell you they like your position versatility?

Heeney: “Yeah, definitely. That’s what they said when they first called me. I got off the phone with the GM [Reggie McKenzie], and he just said he’s been watching me and he and Jack Del Rio have been talking, and they really like everything I bring to the table. I just couldn’t be more excited. I’m just really excited to see, when I get up there, how everything is up there.”

Q: Now that you’ve been drafted, is it everything you thought it was going to be?

Heeney: “Man, it’s everything and more. This is what I’ve been working toward since I was in third grade, man. Just having my family and friends around me when it happened, it was so special. Everyone started crying and it’s just what I’ve been working toward since I was in third grade and started playing football. Never in a million years did I think I would be an Oakland Raider, but I couldn’t be more happy to be one.”

Q: From your high school stats, it looks like you were a pretty accomplished running back. Is that what you thought you were going to be later in your career?

Heeney: “I actually thought I’d be a running back in college. I grew up playing running back and also I played defense, but I would get like five touchdowns a game, four touchdowns a game. I was a very good running back, so I thought that was kind of the path I would take, but I got to college and they saw me more as just an athlete and I eventually wound up as just a linebacker, and now that’s what I’m playing. I think I’m just very versatile.”

Q: Did your dad and two uncles all play baseball at Kansas? Did you ever have baseball aspirations?

Heeney: “Yeah, actually, as a little kid, baseball was my best sport – baseball and football. My dad and everyone else always thought I had a chance to play in the major leagues for baseball. It’s always been between baseball and football, but football is my number one love. I like hitting people. I’m excited to be a part of the Raider defense. Man, I’m so excited.”

Q: How did that transition from running back to linebacker take place?

Heeney: “I think they just kind of saw me as an athlete. I’m from Kansas and they already had a bunch of running back, so they recruited me as an athlete-slash-outside linebacker. They thought I’d play like Sam or like a nickel back almost, but it’s just the pieces fell where they fell and I was the best guy for the job at middle linebacker and I became a three-year starter at linebacker. Yeah, man, I just kind of fell into it, I guess.”

Q: How much outside linebacker have you played at Kansas?

Heeney: “Zero. I’ve played middle linebacker for three years.”

Q: Were you a Chiefs fan growing up?

Heeney: “Yeah, man, I was, but I’m not anymore.”

Oakland Raiders Trade Down Select Miami Guard Jon Feliciano

May 2, 2015 10:30 AM PT

Alameda, California – When day three started the Oakland Raiders originally had pick 102, but traded it to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for pick 124th in the fourth round, 161st  fifth round and  242nd seventh round.

When pick 124 came up, the Raiders traded back again four spots to 128 and picked up another seventh round pick (No. 218).

What started the day as a seven-man draft class the Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie turned  into a 10-man draft class.

They finally selected Miami guard Jon Feliciano in the fourth round of the NFL draft, 128th  overall.

The heavy-footed brawler 6-foot-4, 323 pound Feliciano started 13 games for Miami and was an All-Atlantic Coast Conference honorable mention selecteion.

The Raiders brought Feliciano to compete at the right guard position with  Khalif Barnes and Tony Bergstrom. Coach Jack Del Rio also mentioned the right tackle position  is wide open with  Austin Howard and Menelik Watson competing.  Coach Jack Del Rio has voiced his preference for Barnes to be a swing player available at all positions except center.

Scouting Repport

Feliciano is huge, a hulking man who looks as heavy as his weight suggests. He has a thick lower body and maintains his place against a pass rush. He is a strong run blocker as well, using his size to create lanes for running backs. He doesn’t have great mobility, and might not be a good blocker in space.

College Bio

2014 (Senior): Started season opener at left guard against Louisville…Made second consecutive start of season against FAMU, paving way for 198 rushing yards…Started against Arkansas State, helping lead offense to 488-yard performance…Started against Nebraska and helped offense generate 435 yards…Saw time at both left guard and right tackle in start against Duke, leading way to 426-yard offensive performance….Started at right tackle against Georgia Tech…Started at right tackle against Cincinnati, helping offense finish with 621 total yards…Helped guide offense to 456-yard performance in road win over Virginia Tech…Started at left tackle against North Carolina, paving way for 494 total yards and 295 rushing yards…Helped lead offense to 492-yard performance against Florida State…Made 11th start of season on offensive line against Virginia…Started season finale on offensive line, leading team offense to 421 total yards…Made final start of career in Duck Commander Independence Bowl against South Carolina, helping lead offense to 422 total yards.

2013 (Junior): Started all 13 games along offensive line … Made 11 starts at left guard and two starts at right tackle … Honorable mention All-ACC selection by ACSMA … Helped anchor offensive line that paved way for Hurricanes offense that averaged 425.8 yards of total offense and 33.8 points per game … Earned letter … Graduated from Miami in May 2014.

2012 (Sophomore): Started all 12 games at left guard … Earned All-ACC honorable mention from ACSMA … Anchored O-line that paved way for third-best passing offense (295.4) and fifth-best total offense (440.2) in ACC … Earned letter.

2011 (Redshirt Freshman): Saw action in 10 games and earned eight starts … Suffered injury midseason but returned to start two of team’s final three games … Finished with overall grade of 84 percent … Allowed zero sacks on season … Earned letter.

2010 (True Freshman): Sat out first season at Miami and participated on practice squad, redshirted to retain eligibility.

High School: Three-star recruit and No. 19 offensive guard by Scout.com … Rated three-star prospect by Rivals.com … No. 56 prospect on Bill Buchalter’s Florida Top 100 state list … First-team All-Broward by Sun Sentinel.

Oakland Raiders Q & A Transcript 

Q: Where are you? What’s the scene like when you got the news?

Feliciano: “I’m at my boy’s house in Davie, Fla. I got my family here along with my high school basketball coach, my high school football coaches. We went berserk when we heard my name.”

Q: We’re just finding out some of your back story. You’ve been through so much. What does it mean to you to maybe be able to help your family with an NFL contract?

Feliciano: “Yeah growing up there was a lot of just extra stuff that I had to go through and everyone here at this house right now at this party helped me get through it. That’s why I wanted them around me and to be able to get drafted in the fourth round by such a great organization. It’s a blessing and I’m so happy.”

Q: Did you have much contact with the Raiders before? Did you know that they were interested? It seems like a lot of the players didn’t know and wound up being surprised.

Feliciano: “No, actually me and [offensive line] coach [Mike] Tice, we kicked it off at the combine. He was a great guy and I had a real good time talking with him. This is one of the top spots for me I wanted to go. To hear my name called by them is just unbelievable.”

Q: This team needs a starting right guard. Does that excite you that there is going to be some competition right away and that you may be able to contribute early on?

Feliciano: “Of course. That’s all you want coming in is an opportunity to compete and get better. We have that there at the Raiders and I know everyone is going to go in there and compete and try to get better and that’s going to be awesome.”

Q: Did you play on the right side or the left side at Miami?

Feliciano: “Both. I had time at right guard, right tackle, left tackle, left guard and center sometimes, so I can do whatever.”

Q: Where are you most comfortable?

Feliciano: “I played left guard most of my career, but moving over to right guard is not a big deal.”

Q: Raiders are big with offensive line with position versatility. That sounds like something that is right up your alley.

Feliciano: “That’s something that I pride myself in, being able to play all five positions. It’s going to help me here with the Raiders.”

Q: You said the Raiders were one of the teams you were hoping you might end up with. How come?

Feliciano: “Just because my relationship with coach Tice. He’s a great guy. Me and him really hit it off at the combine. They have [defensive line coach] Jethro Franklin on their staff and I was with him for four years at Miami, so just being able to be with people that I know. Plus, Clive [Walford] just got drafted there yesterday. I know it’s going to be so amazing to be able to play with him again.”

Q: Have you gotten a chance to talk with him already?

Feliciano: “I haven’t yet. I tried to call him but he’s probably just as busy as I am right now.”

Q: Have they told you that right guard is pretty much where they have you planned for?

Feliciano: “No, they haven’t really said anything. They just said to be ready and just enjoy the moment right now.”

Q: At what point did you feel the NFL was a real possibility for you?
Feliciano: “Growing up I always dreamt of playing in the NFL. Probably when I got to college it became feasible to follow my dreams and play in the NFL.”

Q: What is your weight at right now and what do you think is ideal for you?

Feliciano: “Right now I’m at 325, 327. That will probably be my plan weight.”

Q: I know Mike Tice likes big, tough guys. Is that what he told you?
Feliciano: “I fit what Raiders players are supposed to be like. It’s awesome for me to come to the Raiders.”

Q: What do we need to know about Clive Walford?

Feliciano: “He’s tough and he’s going to bring it every day. I think he’s going to score a lot of touchdowns for us.”

Offensive Line Coach Mike Tice Got His Guy

Mike Tice likes his guards big, physical and quick, and that’s precisely what he got in fourth round selection, Jon Feliciano.

“Our guys are going to have to be able to run,” Tice said Saturday after the Raiders selected Feliciano. “They’re going to have to be able to pull. Jon pulls well already, so that’s good. I’m excited to add him to the mix. It’s going to be good for our room.”

Listed at 6’5” and tipping the scales at 325 pounds, the former Miami Hurricane figures to fit the mold of a Mike Tice-lineman, and will compete for playing time on the right side of the offensive line.
Tice is looking forward to spending time with the Davie, Fla., native and the feeling is mutual.

The pair met at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Ind., and after speaking with Tice, Feliciano put the Raiders on the short list of teams he wanted to play for.

“Me and offensive line Coach Mike Tice, we kicked it off at the combine,” Feliciano said during a conference after his selection. “He was a great guy and I had a real good time talking with him. This is one of the top spots for me I wanted to go. To hear my name called by them is just unbelievable.”

Feliciano’s selection adds depth and competition along the Raiders offensive line, and Tice is pleased to have another student to mentor.

“I’m very pleased with Jon,” he said. “I think it’s a good pick for us.”