SOTU: First of all, which veterans and rookies are the main competition for each during training camp?
SAB: Walford will be competing against Mychal Rivera who has been the team's top receiving tight end the past two seasons. While Rivera is a pretty good receiver, he struggles mightily as a blocker, leaving the team looking for an every down option. They went after Jermaine Gresham in free agency only to discover he had a herniated disc in his back.
Feliciano's direct competition will come from Khalif Barnes at the right guard spot. Barnes has been the fill in starter at several offensive line positions the past couple season. He had been the team's starting right tackle prior to that. He is the guy for whom the Raiders always seem to be looking to find an upgrade but always manages to find a starting job. Barnes is now on his seventh consecutive one-year deal with the team.
SOTU: In your estimation, what roles will both Feliciano and Walford fill this season on the Raiders?
Both are hoped/expected to start. Walford as the all-around tight end they're lacking with Mychal Rivera as a pass catcher only and Lee Smith almost exclusively a blocker. Feliciano mainly because right guard is the most wide open position on this team right now after Austin Howard was moved (back) to right tackle.
You can read my thoughts on both complete with quotes from the players, coaches, and GM below
SOTU: Do you imagine the Raiders staff came away impressed at UM's Pro Day considering they drafted two 'Canes? Were there any quotes or notes after Miami's Pro Day that led you to believe this?
SAB: It is most likely because they have former Miami DL coach Jethro Franklin on staff now. If his defensive line had to face off against these two every day in practice, they would look to him for his recommendation. Other than that, it's more of a coincidence. Raiders OL coach Mike Tice hit it off with Feliciano at the combine because the two are both from New York and Feliciano has such and inspiring back story. Walford was just the right pick for that third round selection. They have glowed about him as "the complete package" as a tight end.
In the above links there are quotes from coaches about each
SOTU: Last but not least, including the two Hurricanes they drafted, how do you grade the Oakland draft class as a whole?
SAB: I gave the Walford pick an A. One of three A's from this class. I gave the Feliciano pick a B, but understand that my grades are not about a prediction of how good they'll be but how the Raiders worked the draft. They traded down 26 spots before taking Feliciano and there was a run on guards in the meantime. Overall I gave the draft a B.