Raiders workout first round talent

Sometimes it is easy to fall in love with a prospect. When it is a first round talent and capable of mayhem, the Oakland Raiders are even more intrigued.

With all the focus supposedly on Vince Young, SilverandBlack.com has confirmed that Haloti Ngata has been to Alameda for a private workout in front of the Oakland coaching staff.

"When I was younger, the Oakland Raiders was a team I liked a lot," Ngata admitted.

Ngata, described by his coaching staff as an intelligent player that hustles on every down, has made his mark from his defensive tackle position. He recorded 59 tackles, nine tackles for a loss and three sacks as a junior, applying early for the NFL Draft.

But his true work comes in the trenches and does not show up on the stat sheet. He routinely took on double-teams at Oregon, giving up the glory to his teammates.

Ranked as the top defensive tackle by TFY Draft Preview with All-Pro potential, Ngata is also a force on special teams. The 6-foot-4, 338-pound tackle has blocked seven kicks in his collegiate career.

After tearing an ACL in his left knee that caused him to miss the 2003 season, Ngata made it his mission to pound the opposition and claims it is stronger today than before the injury. Considered a run stuffer, he also offers potential as a pass rusher.

"I'm not bad at pass rushing," he said. "I think I'm good, but I have a lot of upside rushing the passer. I'm quick. I just need to work on balancing the way I rush the passer because I sometimes miss tackles and I'm not fully balanced."

He says his game parallels Pittsburgh defensive tackle Casey Hampton and hopes to make a mark early in his career.

Ngata suffered a blow towards his dream this off-season when he lost his mother to kidney failure from diabetes. He had already lost his father in a car accident three years ago.

Ngata turned to his faith and football.

"Football is something I love and they love watching me play it," Ngata offered.

The Raiders have loved what they have seen from the big man. With little depth behind an aging Warren Sapp, Oakland believes Ngata would be a force for the next decade. Not only have they had Ngata in for a visit but they have checked in with Oregon coaches to find out everything they can.

With the first round pick, sitting seventh overall, it would not surprise to see them take Ngata and recreate the mean and nasty defense they were once known for.


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