In-depth analysis of the David Sharpe draft pick

In the fourth round of the NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders made their first offensive pick of the 2017 NFL Draft with offensive tackle David Sharpe. With right tackle in need of an upgrade and left tackle locked down but in need of a succession plan, it’s the highest Reggie McKenzie has taken an offensive tackle since he drafted Menelik Watson in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

At 6’6 343 lbs, Sharpe is a massive human being who should fit in well with the other massive human beings on the roster. Mike Tice and the Raiders love their linemen to be huge and Sharpe fits the profile. But while Sharpe has the size and length to be an offensive tackle in the NFL, his athleticism and agility make many believe he is destined to be bumped inside where he can play guard.

Lance Zierlien of listed Vadal Alexander as his NFL comparison, which is interesting considering Alexander was another guy that scouts believed would be better suited at guard than tackle. Last year the Raiders kept him at tackle and he proved to be a very valuable depth piece. I imagine they will keep Sharpe at tackle to start as well with the hope he can develop there. But if he can’t, it’s always good to have a backup plan and playing him at guard might be that plan.

Aside from being a bit slow to be an NFL offensive tackle, Sharpe has plenty that needs to be fixed with his form as well. His pad level is often too high and he is often off balance thanks to poor technique and footwork. Those, however, are all areas that can be worked on. Mike Tice can teach him to use his hands or not bend at the hip or to keep his pads low.

But Tice can’t teach athleticism. The one area where Sharpe can improve that will help him with edge rushers is getting off of the snap quicker. Often times, he’s a split second too slow, which in the NFL is enough to go from a solid block to a sacked quarterback. If he can get better at that, it will minimize his deficiencies with athleticism.

Sharpe is a project, that’s for sure. But one the Raiders likely expect to compete for a starting role at right tackle within the next year or two. And if he doesn’t pan out there, the Raiders have another depth piece capable of playing multiple positions.

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