Raiders: 5 late-round gems to target in the 2020 NFL Draft

Raiders, 2020 NFL Draft (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Raiders, 2020 NFL Draft (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Raiders, 2020 NFL Draft
Raiders, 2020 NFL Draft (Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images) /

2. Justin Strnad, LB, Wake Forest

Justin Strnad is an athletic linebacker out of Wake Forest with a lot of experience, seeing playing time in all four of his eligible seasons. He played the middle in college, but will likely play as a WILL at the next level.

While not the quickest or most flexible player, Strnad has impressive straight-line speed and can run down ball carriers from behind especially when he gets into third gear.

His overall athleticism shows in his coverage chops. He earned high coverage grades from Pro Football Focus and it shows up on tape.

In zone coverage, Strnad has shown the ability to time his breaks and has the closing speed to get there, but he needs to gain a better understanding of depths, as he will at times give up too much room underneath or over the top.

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Wake Forest had him line up in the slot to recover receivers often, and he was proficient there. He has impressive ball skills for a linebacker and has the size and strength to cover tight ends which is probably the Raiders’ biggest weakness on defense.

Strnad can shoot the inside gaps and plug running lanes, but his read-and-react leaves a little to be desired. Too many times he bites on the read-option or RPO fake, as well as overcommit to a gap leading to an open running lane for running backs.

His tackling technique also needs some work, but he is a physical hitter and will lay the wood in the open field when he doesn’t whiff. Justin Strnad will participate in this week’s Combine and I wouldn’t be surprised if he tests in the upper-echelon of this year’s linebacker class.

With the potential to be a three-down linebacker, Strnad is a player to keep an eye on as the new age athletic linebacker teams want in today’s pass-heavy league.

NFL Comparison: Fred Warner, LB, San Francisco 49ers