What They're Saying: Shalom Luani Edition

FROM NATIONAL pundits to Oakland sportswriters, the buzz on Cougar safety Shalom Luani has continued to grow since he was picked by the Raiders in the seventh round of the NFL draft. His new general manager might have had the best quip, with Oakland's Reggie McKenzie calling the WSU defensive back “a football playin’ Jessie.”

That guy is a playmaker. You can look at one quarter of football and you know he loves the game. He’s very aware as a football player. You can tell he’s a student of the game. You can tell he loves the game. He is, as they say down South, a football playin' Jessie ... It’s a country saying, but that’s what he is. He’s tough. He’s physical. He has ball skills. He can kind of do it all.
- Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie

He’s what you draw up when you imagine a special teams contributor: a willing tackler with speed and athleticism. Add in the fact that the Raiders lost a handful of their best special teamers and Luani has a real shot to stick in Oakland.
- Jeff Spiegel, Silver and Black Pride

Of Oakland's later picks, watch out for Washington State's Shalom Luani.
- Rob Rang, CBS Sports

Luani will first make his mark on special teams and eventually hope to show off the skills
- Jerry McDonald, Bay Area News Group

Luani had great college stats, though there is some question about how his traits will translate in the NFL. Reggie Nelson and Karl Joseph are already established, and second-round pick Obi Melifonwu will get a real crack to contribute right away. Luani must excel on special teams and prove an able reserve during the offseason to be active when real games come around.
- Scott Blair, NBS Sports

With his 5-11, 202-pound frame, the former Cougar is known for his hard-hitting style of play. Luani is quick and agile when it comes to playing the ball.
- staff

At the age of 17, he was a World Cup soccer player for the Tonga ... The Raiders are in much need of depth at the safety position after losing Nate Allen and Brynden Trawick in free agency.
-Levi Damien, Silver and Black Pride

Luani will likely play in Las Vegas, where the Raiders are scheduled to relocate as early as 2019.
-Jacob Thorpe, Spokesman-Review

“I almost put him in the top-10 as far as draft-eligible safeties based on the way he was playing early-to-mid-season. He was around the ball a lot, real good instincts and awareness. On that Washington State Cougar defense he was the tempo setter. He was the ringleader of that defense.”
-Mel Kiper, ESPN

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