The Oakland Raiders are beginning to sign their 2014 NFL Draft class. First, the team inked first round choice Khalil Mack. Now, the Raiders have locked up all three of their seventh round draft choices in safety Jonathan Dowling, cornerback Travis Carrie, and defensive end Shelby Harris.
It is just a matter of time before Oakland signs their remaining draftees in quarterback Derek Carr, guard Gabe Jackson, defensive tackle Justin Ellis, and cornerback Keith McGill. Because of the new rookie pay scale, it is a formality. With the signings of Dowling, Harris, and Carrie, the Raiders will give each a chance to earn a roster spot or a practice squad role.
Of the three players signed, Dowling may be the most interesting. He was ultra-productive at Western Kentucky with 135 tackles, eight forced fumbles and nine interceptions in two years of college. He had some off the field issues at Florida where he began his college career, but if he can put those behind him, he is a sleeper at a need area for Oakland.
Harris had some similar off the field issues in college, getting kicked off the Illinois State team in 2013. He is a versatile defensive lineman who can help at end or inside at tackle. General manager Reggie McKenzie loves that type of versatility, however he will also have to show those off the field issues are behind him. In 2012, the 6-2, 255 pound defensive linemen amassed 85 tackles, seven sacks, and 16.5 tackles for loss in 13 starts.
Carrie is a cornerback, but his path to a roster spot should come on special teams. He was a first team All-Mac punt returner averaging 12.7 yards per return as a senior. He will have to remain healthy as he has had a slew of injuries. As a sophomore in college, Carrie had heart surgery on a coronary valve. He dealt with knee, hip, and shoulder injuries at Ohio as well.
The Raiders also announced the signing of defensive end Denico Autry. Autry comes out of Mississippi State as an undrafted free agent. He went the JUCO route to get to Mississippi State and was a junior college All-American. In those two years at Mississippi State, he started 23 of 26 games and registered 73 total tackles with 16 tackles for a loss and six sacks while forcing three fumbles.Tags: 2014 NFL Draft, Denico Autry, Football, Jonathan Dowling, NFL, Oakland, Oakland Raiders, Shelby Harris, Travis Carrie