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Raiders hedge bets in late rounds (w/video)

  • Louisiana Tech defensive lineman Justin Ellis runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Monday, Feb. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

To wit:

Fourth-round pick Keith McGill, a cornerback from Utah, was charged with — among other offenses — driving under the influence, speeding and possession of stolen property in a 2012 arrest. He also happens to be 25 years old, which makes him older than 28 players already on the Oakland roster.

Seventh-rounder Shelby Harris, a defensive end from Illinois State, was suspended at Wisconsin for a violation of team rules and, after transferring, was dismissed from Illinois State for conduct detrimental to the team. He did not play as a senior. Instead, he worked at an Italian restaurant and worked out at a local community college.

Safety Jonathan Dowling, another seventh-rounder, was dismissed from the Florida program for missing practice after he butted heads with position coach Chuck Heater, and wound up at Western Kentucky.

"It's always a chance to redeem himself," McKenzie explained. "When we get a situation where you give a player an opportunity, a second chance, especially when, as of late, the issues have not been like it was in the past for them. If they learn from it, or sometimes a player really feels remorse when he did make a mistake. The key is, how do you feel after you conversate with the kid."

This being Day 3, even the good eggs came with flaws. The Raiders' first pick of the day, defensive tackle Justin "Jelly Bean" Ellis, weighed as much as 390 pounds at Louisiana Tech, and tends to fluctuate rapidly.

Asked how the Raiders would manage Ellis' weight, McKenzie said: "Keep him away from home. He's home with mama, the family. He's young, 22 years, he's not going to go around eating salad all day."

And cornerback T.J. Carrie, a seventh-round pick who grew up in Antioch and played at De La Salle High School, sat out two entire seasons at Ohio University with major injuries — the first to his hip, the second to his shoulder — and missed the scouting combine because of a knee injury.

And yet McKenzie and his scouting department found a lot to like.

Ellis is an immovable nose tackle type with surprisingly quick feet and an ability to fire into the opponent's backfield. McGill is a big corner — he's 6-foot-3 and 211 pounds — who was frequently matched up against the elite receivers of the Pac-12; he led the conference with 12 passes broken up as a senior. Carrie led the Mid-American Conference in punt returns (12.7-yard average) in addition to his coverage duties.


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