Thursday, May 17, 2018

Raiders have high hopes for WR Marcell Ateman


 Raiders headed into the 2018 draft with knowing they wanted a WR. Raiders head coach Jon Gruden really wanted to upgrade the wide receiver group via free agency and if the right guy was there in the draft they planned on taking one. They also got the call they been hoping for from Pittsburgh during the draft in which Steelers sent WR Martavius Bryant to the Raiders for a 3rd round selection.
This was something Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie had been working on weeks prior to the draft. Raiders first offered a 5th round pick for Bryant which Steelers rejected, McKenzie was instructed to give a higher pick to get Bryant and he did.

Jon Gruden was happy with the WR group, with the likes of Jordy Nelson, Amari Cooper, Martavius Bryant and Raiders also traded Jihad Ward to Cowboys for WR Ryan Switzer, which was an easy move for Gruden since he planned on cutting Jihad Ward anyways. This changed Raiders early directions, now they would focus on defense early in the draft in hopes of grabbing perhaps a WR in later rounds.

Raiders had a batch of 10 WR's in the draft that they really liked. Gruden was already happy with the additions of Bryant and Switzer but when the 7th round came and one of the 10 guys Raiders liked at WR was still there, Gruden the man they call "Chucky" was overjoyed. Raiders didn't hesitate as they selected Marcell Ateman, the 228th overall pick.

Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie was actually shocked Marcell Ateman was there in the 7th round, most scouts had him as a 4th or 5th round pick. But just like every year good players slip in the draft due to something. In Ateman's case, he slipped due to missing the entire 2016 season when he got injured in a preseason game and had to undergo foot surgery plus he was over shadowed by the other Oklahoma State WR in James Washington who got selected in the 2nd round by Pittsburgh Steelers.

 Marcell Ateman the 6-foot-5, 216-pound WR has solid hands and for his size has pretty good speed that can't be ignored. Ateman has the ability to run the entire route tree, he's a long target for any QB and he can catch most of those 50/50 passes by high pointing the ball by twisting his body mid-air. Ateman in college had fairly impressive numbers, in 2017 he caught 59 passes for 1,156 receiving yards, his average yards per catch 19.6 plus he grabbed 8 touchdowns.
He missed the 2016 year but in 2015 as a junior he had a fairly decent season as well. He managed to grab 45 passes for 767 yards and 5 touchdowns in 12 games. Ateman has all the tools to a major force in the NFL if he can stay healthy.  It also should be noted that the best fit for him in the NFL would be a west coast offense, that is what Raiders will be running under Gruden.

Lot's of 7th rounders don't make it in the NFL. There has been some success stories though and Ateman has all the ingredients to make this one a huge success story. Big WR's don't come along that often, especially ones as talented as Ateman, may of got overshadowed in college but now he has a chance for the whole world to see him now with the Raiders. Derek Carr could have a new target for the end zone.

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