David Sharpe is a massive individual, yet his 6-foot-6, 343-pound frame fits right into a hulking Raiders offensive line. This year’s fourth-round pick has the size to join one of the NFL’s best fronts. Does he have the nastiness position coach Mike Tice demands?
“Oh, definitely,” Sharpe said last week.
That’s a positive sign for the future. The Raiders don’t really need him right away. The line features Pro Bowlers Donald Penn, Kelechi Osemele, Rodney Hudson and top talent Gabe Jackson. There’s an open competition at right tackle Sharpe could enter, though it’s possible he remains the backup left tackle while Marshall Newhouse, Austin Howard and Vadal Alexander duke it out for that starting spot.
Sharpe must continue development to be NFL ready. Tice and Sharpe’s peer group are great resources to aid that mission. Penn reached out to the Florida alum shortly after he was drafted to offer encouragement. Sharpe, after all, could be his heir apparent. Penn is entering a contract year uncertain how much longer he wants to play despite excellent production the last few years.
Sharpe finds himself in a great spot to learn and plans to take advantage of the advice aimed his way.
“Definitely ready to (work) under Donald Penn and try to learn a lot of things from him and those guys,” Sharpe said. “It’s a great room and a great coach and I’m definitely looking forward to getting started and getting to work.”
Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio had a head start on Sharpe entering the draft. The young lineman is from Jacksonville – Del Rio coached there from 2003-11 – and met Sharpe and his family during that time.
“I’m very familiar with him as a young man. We look forward to working with him,” Del Rio said. “He’s a big, talented guy. We think he can play either side. Again, much like we’re doing with all of these guys, they’re going to get a chance to come in and compete and earn their way. We’re looking forward to getting started with him. He’s a big man. He has really good feet. We think his best football is in front of him.”
Del Rio said reports of blurry vision in his right eye aren’t of concern, and that Sharpe can play both tackle spots despite playing almost exclusively on the left as an amateur. Sharpe believes a transition to the right is doable without much difficulty.
“It’s not very hard,” Sharpe said. “I played a little bit of both at Florida in practice and things like that so I’m used to it. Just switch up the feet a little bit, different movements. It’s not that bad.”