College: Wake Forest
Weight: 240 pounds
Selection: Fifth round, No. 168 overall
ALAMEDA – It took five full rounds, but the Raiders finally drafted an inside linebacker. They don’t have a starter in the middle and have razor thin depth at that position and weakside linebacker, with Jelani Jenkins as that position group’s only experienced member.
The Raiders could’ve addressed this pressing need earlier in the draft but followed their draft board and fortified other positions instead. General manager Reggie McKenzie finally added Lee to the mix.
He’s certainly the right size at 6-foot-3, 240 pounds and long arms. He’s was a team leader in college, and analysts say he takes a disciplined approach to his craft. He’s a solid run defender and does his job creating proper run fits.
Critics says his slow to adjust to misdirection, and doesn’t play fast enough in man coverage. His speed may have pushed Lee down the draft board some, which might hinder his ability to play inside in a Raiders scheme where inside linebackers are expected to have great range in coverage.
Lee is a decent blitzer, with 7.5 sacks as a senior. He also had 105 tackles, including 20 for a loss, and three forced fumbles in his final season.
He’ll certainly come in an compete for a role with linebackers already here, including Cory James and Ben Heeney. The Raiders might still look for a veteran addition. That includes 2016 starter Perry Riley, who remains on the open market.
ALAMEDA – Florida offensive tackle David Sharpe spent part of his pre-draft process dispelling rumors that he was legally blind in his right eye. The report came out this spring, and Sharpe denied it quickly.
The information reappeared Saturday morning, when NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock mentioned it shortly after the Raiders drafted Sharpe No. 129 overall. The draft analyst said Sharpe might be restricted to the offensive line’s left side.
Sharpe said that isn’t the case. He can play left or right tackle. And his vision is just fine, thank you very much.
“I’m not blind. I’m not legally blind,” Sharpe said. “The information is false, all of it is false. I just had a little cataract removal when I was younger and I’ve been battling that since I was young. But it doesn’t affect my play or vision or anything. I’m not blind.”
Sharpe said his right eye is a little blurrier than the left, but it doesn’t impact his play in any way.
The 6-foot-6, 343-pound blocker was projected to go in the first three rounds, but fell to the fourth. He wasn’t upset about an issue that was a non-issue.
“It doesn’t really make me mad,” Sharpe said. “I just brush it off. It was just false and I addressed it.”
The Raiders had some inside info on Sharpe’s play. Head coach Jack Del Rio’s son Luke is Florida’s quarterback, and vouched for Sharpe’s effectiveness before Oakland made the official selection.
“He actually texted me this morning and said his dad called him and asked about me,” Sharpe said. “There was a little hint there, so that was cool.”