Oakland Raiders Draft Report Part 2: First Round Draft Needs
Byron Lambert, Rosterwatch.com
Photo by Alex Dunlap, RosterWatch
Reggie McKenzie is attempting to win now, and build for the future. His top priority with the fifth-overall pick this May is selecting an instant playmaker. The subsequent priority is to trade back, and accumulate more picks in a deep and talented draft. If he’s able to do so, all options are on the table. Let’s examine the possibilities if Reggie stays at five.
He’s conducted two lackluster drafts to date, and desperately needs to hit a home run. He also needs immediate and significant impact from this rookie class to finally achieve competitive status on the field with what is still one of the league’s worst pre-draft rosters.
Most who follow us know we’ve been long-time proponents of the Raiders shoring up their pass rush with young talent. We realize the importance of the position. We were firm believers last year that, notwithstanding a trade back, Oakland should select DE Ezekiel Ansah at the top of Round 1.
This offseason, the team attempted to address the need on the edge in free agency, by signing longtime New York Giants defensive stalwart Justin Tuck and former Steelers standout LaMarr Woodley. Neither are long-term solutions, but the hope is both still have talent and may see a late-career surge with a fresh start.
Certainly, their presence alone shouldn’t preclude Oakland from considering a premiere edge player like Jadeveon Clowney or Khalil Mack if they fall to them- but those acquisitions in free agency must be taken into consideration.
A narrative also exists centered around Head Coach Dennis Allen’s ties to Texas A&M. He’s a former player, and graduate coaching assistant. The Aggies have three players worth a Top 10 selection in May. All three (Manziel, Matthews, Evans) represent a position of need for Oakland- QB, OT and WR.
Theoretically, Allen has the inside scoop on all of these guys. That information is paramount. The more you have of it, the more comfortable you are with certain options. Meaning, these are likely three positions the team is heavily targeting early.
In a game of deductive reasoning, we will rule out quarterback and offensive tackle at number five in round one.
The Raiders signed Matt Schaub in the offseason to steer the ship for the next one or two seasons, so they don’t have to press to fill the quarterback need. There isn’t a can’t miss top five quarterback prospect this year, and Reggie knows there is a good chance a quarterback he likes may slide to him in round two or three.
Like the DE/OLB position, McKenzie addressed the offensive line with veterans in free agency. He’s fairly invested in the group he has—signing OT Donald Penn, OG/OT Austin Howard in the offseason—and surprising the world by drafting a VERY suspect prospect in OT Menelik Watson in 2013’s second round. That’s three offensive tackles McKenzie has recently invested in, and has high expectations for. All making it more difficult to go offensive tackle at five.
That brings the wide receiver position into focus for the Raiders, who currently have a stable of number two and three receivers in James Jones, Denarius Moore, Rod Streater, and Andre Holmes. They lack a true number one. They lack a premiere redzone threat. They don’t have anyone who can bail out the quarterback, which is a major problem for Matt Schaub as anyone in Houston will tell you…
Stay Tuned for Oakland Raiders Draft Analysis Part 3: Choosing a Playmaker