Raiders Hoping to Get Boost From Rocket Man

Former Toledo Rocket defensive tackle Treyvon Hester, a seventh-round pick, could be a solid addition to the defensive front, especially against the run

The Raiders have looked everywhere to get more defensive help this offseason. That includes Toldeo, Ohio.

Oakland used the last of its four seventh-round picks in the recent NFL draft to select defensive tackle Treyvon Hester of the Toledo Rockets. He was the sixth of nine draftees to be a defensive player and the second defensive tackle, after third-round pick Eddie Vanderdoes of UCLA.

Hester is a 6-foot-2, 304-pounder who had a solid final season at Toledo, totaling 39 tackles – including 8½ for loss – and five sacks. And, though some scouts have said Hester didn’t show a lot of athletic ability on the field, he put up impressive numbers at his pro day for representatives of 13 teams, including the Raiders.

Though he suffered a shoulder injury that required surgery in December – and caused him to miss the NFL combine in February – his pro day in early April was impressive. His vertical leap was better than all but one defensive tackle at the combine and his 40-yard dash would have ranked as the fastest among players at his position.

Hester also showed motivation his senior season. After a disappointing junior year at Toledo, he lost 20 pounds and had a much better final year, being selected to the all-MAC second team.

Now that he’s on the Raiders, he’ll compete for a spot in the interior of the line with Denico Autry, Justin Ellis and Vanderdoes.

“I can play anywhere on the defensive front, wherever you feel like lining me up at,” he told a writer for “Whatever my best fit is for this team, to help this defense become better, I’m ready to do it.”

He comes from the same conference as Khalil Mack, who played at Buffalo. Hester, in fact, says he and Mack have something in common, coming into the NFL from a smaller conference with “a big chip on their shoulders.”

Hester believes his strength is his ability to get power and penetration in the middle of the line and be “disruptive.”

“Someone who demands a double team,” he said. “Someone who can help free up his edge rushers and allow my linebackers to flow to the ball.”

His pre-draft scouting report by the analytic website Pro Football Focus notes that Hester is strong against the run, able to defeat blocks and beat opponents at the point of attack. But, PFF notes, he hasn’t shown a great ability to move laterally and adjust to change of direction.

Still, he could be a contributor as a rookie.

PFF’s analysis: “He’s a solid run defender with reasonable pass-rush ability and he should be part of a defensive line rotation at the next level.”

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