Oakland Raiders 2017 draft report: McKenzie gets his men in the draft

April 30, 2017

NFL, Oakland Raiders

Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie stands on the field before an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017, in Denver. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

By Jeremy Kahn

OAKLAND–All winter long, the Oakland Raiders knew that they would drafting late in the first round and they are happy with their first round.

Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie went defense with his first pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, and it was a great pick.

McKenzie made Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley was the 24th pick in the first round for the Raiders.

In his career with the Buckeyes, Conley picked off six passes and made 91 tackles in 42 games and was named a second team All-Big Ten in 2016.

The Raiders stayed on the defensive side of the ball with their second-round pick, as Obi Melifonwu was drafted out of the University of Connecticut.

In his four years in Storrs, Melifonwu played in 48 games and was named first team All-American Athletic Conference in 2016, and was also named to the All-ECAC team along with the All-New England team.

McKenzie stayed on the defensive side with his third pick, as they drafted Defensive Lineman Eddie Vanderdoes out of UCLA.

As a freshman, Vanderdoes was named to the First Team All-American Freshman by both the Football Writers of America and Sporting News.

With their fourth-round pick, the Raiders finally took an offensive player, as they took Florida Offensive Lineman David Sharpe, who played with Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio’s son Luke with the Gators.

Sharpe played in 27 games with the Gators, including starting all 14 games in 2016 after playing all 13 games in 2015. As a true freshman, Sharpe played in six games in a reserve role.

Once again, the Raiders returned to the defensive side of the ball with their next draft pick, as they drafted Wake Forest linebacker Marquel Lee.

While with the Demon Deacons, Lee was named First-team All-ACC in 2016 by the Associated Press and named second team All-ACC by both the coaches and media.

In the seventh round, the Raiders once again stayed on the defensive side of the ball with their pick, as they drafted Safety Shalom Luami out of Washington State.

Luami was named First-Team All-Pac 12 in his final year with the Cougars, as he helped lead them to a Holiday Bowl berth against the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Prior to playing for Mike Leach in Pullman, Luami played junior college ball at City College of San Francisco, where in his two years with the Rams, Luami earned All-California First-Team All-Region accolades as a freshman and then as a sophomore, he was named First -Team All-American and California Community College Defensive Player of the Year.

McKenzie took North Carolina running back Elijah Hood in the seventh round, just his second offensive player of the draft.

In his three years in Chapel Hill, Hood ended up ninth All-Time on the Tar Heels list in rushing yards, as he gained 2,580 yards in his three seasons.

McKenzie brought in another player for the offensive side of the ball, as he drafted tackle Jylan Ware out of Alabama State.

With multiple picks in the seventh round, McKenzie needed more defensive lineman, and is what he got with Toledo defensive tackle Treyvon Hester.

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