Thanks to Levi Damien, of Silver and Black Pride for stopping in to discuss an undrafted free agent very near and dear to our hearts, DJ Coles. Coles was red zone gold last season, making big plays during his limited availability. His knee not yet completely repaired, he had a big climb ahead of him to get back healthy enough to even remotely entertain playing on Sundays. A tip of the hat to reader/Raider superfan VTR8R for helping to formulate these questions. Levi, as expected from his excellent work over at Silver and Black Pride, did not disappoint with his responses. Let's see what he has to say about Coles!
1)Honestly .... Do you think he can make the team with the current WR on the roster.
There is a great opportunity for him in Oakland. It's the reason he and Texas receiver Mike Davis along with San Jose State receiver Noel Grigsby opted to go there. There is very much at least one roster spot open with Juron Criner never making the impact the team hoped when they drafted him two years ago and 2013 7th round pick Brice Butler not a sure thing. The Raiders new regime is known for coveting undrafted free agents. Their starting receiver, Rod Streater was one of their first and they grabbed Greg Jenkins last year who made the practice squad and was called up during the season.
2) Do you think the Raiders will favor the local product Grigsby?
I don't think the fact that Grigsby went to San Jose State will have any factor in who they choose. The only factor as far as Grigsby is concerned is the team is lacking a small, speedy slot receiver who can return kicks or punts. If Grigsby can fill that role, he has a good chance. Otherwise, it's wide open.
3) With UVA Alum Matt Schaub on the team do you think Coles can fit in the scheme with James Jones, Denarious Moore, and Juron Criner?
Odd that you put Criner in there. Rod Streater, Denarius Moore, James Jones, and Andre Holmes are the top receivers on this team. I really don't know enough about Coles to say whether he would fit the Raiders scheme. I do know he does the dirty work as a blocker and if he can show some promise, the team could at least keep him around on the practice squad to see if he can develop. There's always room on a roster for a guy like that.
4) With MJD (Maurice Jones-Drew) and Run DMC (Darren McFadden) in the backfield do you think the play action game favors tall receivers like Coles? Or does the slot receiver even play much of a role with the TE sets you guys favor?
There are two things at play here: Greg Olson's offense and Matt Schaub's preferences. Olson is known to change his approach based on his quarterback. Last season the team uncovered 6-4, 210 pound Andre Holmes and his size and leaping ability were utilized late in the season when he was given the start for the injured Denarius Moore. Schaub had Andre Johnson in Houston and the two had Pro Bowl seasons together.
5) As a bigger WR, could the Raiders potentially see Coles as a fast TE like a Martellus Bennett or Vernon Davis? It would only require 15 lbs of bulking up.
That is a very interesting question. The Raiders projected starting tight end last season was to be David Ausberry who was a converted wide receiver. He placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury early in the season so it was Mychal Rivera who was the leading tight end. He is 6-4, 242 pounds. Rivera is a terrible blocker and Ausberry had struggled with blocking for quite some time. If Coles were to hang around and continue to show a good combination of blocking and receiving skills while putting on some weight, anything's possible.
My most sincere thanks to Levi for taking time away from his own post-draft coverage to help us gauge which way the wind is blowing on Coles. At least it's not The Autumn Wind:
We'll be back with the last three in this series tomorrow. Have a great Friday everyone!