Delaware's Nasir Adderley improved draft stock under Raiders' tutelage


Delaware's Nasir Adderley improved draft stock under Raiders' tutelage

Raiders coaches recognized excellent Senior Bowl efforts by sticking their team’s logo on a player’s helmet. Most were earned with excellent play on the Jon Gruden-led North squad.

Three were given before Saturday’s game, and former Delaware safety Nasir Adderley got one. It subbed for a captain’s “C,” acknowledging great leadership and play during Senior Bowl practices.

It was proof Adderley had an impressive week in Mobile, Ala. during this annual NFL draft showcase. He entered the game with one Raiders sticker. He left with three.

A late interception helped increase his total following a strong game that capped a solid week and surely increased his draft stock.

“He can play safety, nickel and maybe even some cornerback out there,” Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther said. “He has good feet. He’s smart. He attacks the ball well. He has done a good job for us.”

Adderley could do a good job for Guenther’s defense full-time, though the Raiders might have to use a late first-round pick or an early second-rounder to secure his services.

“It would be incredible,” Adderley said. “Anybody drafting me would be a blessing, after all the hard work over the years. It would be nice to see it manifest.

“I want to be someone they can trust, someone who is reliable. I want to be someone who can move around, and isn’t limited by anything. I’m looking to go out there and be the best me.”

[RELATED: 2019 Mock Draft 1.0]

Adderley was awesome at Delaware. He played cornerback his first two years, rotated between free safety and slot corner as a junior and played deep full-time as a senior.

He had nine interceptions and a forced fumble his last two years at Delaware, and hasn’t been weighed down by a small-school stigma to this point in the pre-draft process.

“Coming from where I went to school, there’s a frequent question I’m getting: ‘Do I have a chip on my shoulder?’” Adderley said. “I’m confident in my ability. If I do all the little things I’m supposed to do and focus on my coaching and my technique, I’m going to be just fine.”

Adderley was a big-school talent coming out of Great Valley High near Philadelphia, but created some roadblocks going to a major college program.

“That was on me,” Adderley said. “I had an interesting recruiting process. I struggled academically. I was young and immature. I didn’t understand the importance of academics, and then I got a rude wake up call. I had a good junior season (in high school), and I had dream FBS schools come to talk to me. Day after day, I was told those schools would love to have me but they couldn’t offer me because they didn’t know I was going to clear (academic standards).

“I just had to grind. Then, come senior year, I ended up on honor roll and FCS schools started to realize that. FBS schools started to realize that after I committed to Delaware, they started coming back.”

Wake Forest made a scholarship offer late. Syracuse invited him on a recruiting visit. Adderley stood by his Delaware commitment, and it hasn’t hurt him at all.

He should be one of the top safeties selected in this year’s NFL draft, and brings the versatility the Raiders covet. They also need someone who can play free safety and be a ball hawk in the back, something Adderley’s role model Earl Thomas does as well as anyone.

He won’t rest on laurels after a strong Senior Bowl, and will continue to push and prove himself at every stage of the NFL’s pre-draft process.

“I never take my foot off the gas,” Adderley said. “Someone’s always working. I want to be one of the best to ever do it, so I’m not going to settle. I’m moving on to the next chapter. I’m thankful to have had a good college career, but I’m ready to make a difference.”

NFL Draft 2020: Raiders could find late-round steal in Harrison Hand

NFL Draft 2020: Raiders could find late-round steal in Harrison Hand

Wide receiver and linebacker are the Raiders' two biggest needs as they enter the offseason.

But the Silver and Black need upgrades across the entire defense. All eleven positions will be evaluated and improved if possible. That improvement won't just be for the starting unit, but for the depth as well.

While the linebackers are the most glaring issue, the secondary also needs to be fixed. Trayvon Mullen showed lock-down potential during his rookie season, and the Raiders will be excited to get Johnathan Abram on the field in 2020.

The Raiders first can address their leaky defense in free agency, before turning their attention to the 2020 NFL Draft. There they will find a talented crop of corners from LSU's Kristian Fulton to Alabama's Trevon Diggs.

I don't expect the Raiders to use a first-round pick on a cornerback, but even if they do, they'll still need to improve their depth at the position and Harrison Hand could be a great fit.

Hand started his career at Baylor before transferring to Temple. Hand, 5-foot-11, 197, is projected to be a Day 3 pick. He won't be ready to jump in right away, but he's a physical corner, who has worked hard to become a better tackler. He's long, rangy and has solid ball skills.

He believes he has the tools to be a star at the next level.

"I'm a lockdown corner," Hand told NBC Sports Bay Area on Radio Row during the week of Super Bowl LIV. "I've got speed in coverage. Not a lot of corners tend to want to come up and tackle and be in the box -- be that aggressive -- but that's a part of my game that I like to make an impact."

With Gareon Conley traded to the Houston Texans and Daryl Worley hitting free agency, the Raiders need to find a long-term solution to the corner opposite of Mullen. 

Some believe Hand would be a better safety than corner at the next level, but the Temple product wants to mold his game after another corner who many counted out in the draft -- Richard Sherman. 

"His knowledge," Hand said of what part of his game he wants to model after Sherman. "He's a film junky. He knows the game like the back of his hand because of all the film he watches."

[RELATED: Ruggs, Claypool, Jefferson should have Raiders' attention after combine]

The Raiders only have one Day 3 pick right now, but Hand might be someone for them to look at if he's still on the board. He's not afraid to be physical and has the potential to be a solid corner in the NFL if the right team gets ahold of him.

Henry Ruggs, Chase Claypool among combine stars Raiders should target

Henry Ruggs, Chase Claypool among combine stars Raiders should target

We know two things for certain about the 2020 NFL Draft: The wide receiver class is deep and stocked with talent, and the Raiders need a lot of help at wideout.

With five picks in the first 92, it should be a match made in heaven.

General manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden have spent all week at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, and Thursday they got an up-close look at the best the class has to offer. 

While the class is insanely loaded, six receivers dazzled Thursday during drills and testing, no doubt shooting up the Raiders' draft board.

Chase Claypool, Notre Dame

Teams asked Claypool to work out at tight end during the combine, not knowing if he had the athleticism to play wideout at the NFL level.

At 6-foot-4, 238 pounds, the Notre Dame product was a touchdown machine in college. Any doubts about his athleticism and fit should have been put to bed Thursday with his testing.

Running a 4.43 at 6-foot-4 is some alien-type stuff.

In fact, only one other receiver in history has run a sub 4.45 40 at 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds or more.

Calvin Johnson.

In the age of positionless football, just put Claypool on the field and let him go to work.

Henry Ruggs, Alabama

Much like Lamb, Ruggs only solidified his position as one of the top-three wideouts in this loaded class.

Have you ever seen a cheetah run on two legs? Here you go.

An effortless 4.27.

In a freaky class, Ruggs is at the top of the class.

Denzel Mims, Baylor

You want to talk stock up? Look no further than Denzel Mims.

The 6-foot-3, 207-pound receiver had the best three-cone time of the night at 6.66, he broad jumped 10' 11'', had a 38.5-inch vertical and ran a 4.38 40-yard dash.


He also looked fluid in pass-catching drills, showing he's not just a workout warrior.

Mims dominated the Senior Bowl and continued his rise in Indianapolis.

CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma

This is going to be short. I've long believed Lamb is the best receiver in the class and the Raiders should jump at the opportunity to draft him if he's available at No. 12.

He did nothing Thursday to dispel that belief. He just spent it showcasing why he'll be highly coveted in the draft.

Another look?

Your WR1.

[RELATED: Hurts' talent entices, but should Raiders take chance on QB?]

Justin Jefferson, LSU

Despite Jefferson lighting the world of college football on fire this past season, Jefferson entered the combine with some questions about his speed and overall athleticism. Those now are gone.

And since catching the football is the name of the game, he put on a show in The Gauntlet.

Jefferson might have had the best overall combine performance. Don't be surprised if the Raiders snatch him up at No. 19.