NFL Draft 2011: Oakland Raiders Beef Up Offensive Line, Grab Speedy Guys In Later Rounds

The Oakland Raiders ended up watching day one of the draft from the sidelines without trading up into the first round, but came out alright for themselves in the second and onward. For more on the team, go to Silver And Black Pride, SB Nation's Oakland Raiders blog.

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NFL Draft 2011: Raiders Draft Another Receiver, David Ausberry In Seventh Round

The Oakland Raiders actually went with a slower pick this time around, when they brought in David Ausberry, the wide receiver from USC with the 241st overall pick. He's the second wide receiver the Raiders have brought in for this draft, and the third receiving target (Denarius Moore, Richard Gordon). Ausberry is a running back/wide receiver hybrid who did a little bit of everything in his college career. 

Ausberry does have an injury history, but he's not a guy that figures to get a lot of playing time initially. When the ball was thrown his way, he illustrated sure-hands and did a decent job against corners, but his ceiling is all over the place. Is he somebody who can see the field in the first year? Probably not. Is he somebody who can eventually become a contributor? He certainly is, and for now we'll consider him a practice squad hopeful who could probably be something if he polishes his route running and finds an ability to show up on a more consistent basis.

That wraps up the Oakland Raiders picks in the 2011 NFL Draft.


NFL Draft 2011: Raiders Draft Tight End Richard Gordon In Round Six

Zach Miller could be departing in free agency, and that eliminates the Oakland Raiders' number one receiving target. So much can be said about Miller's value to the team, and they absolutely needed to address the tight end position in this draft. It didn't come until the sixth round, when they made Richard Gordon out of Miami the181st pick. He's likely not the day-one replacement for Miller, but he has a lot of upside and could contribute early on.

Gordon is another athletic guy, once again. The Raiders are sticking to their guns at this point, but they're also picking players who fit and could be good. He's got good size and speed, and most importantly: he's sure-handed and could end up being reliable for quarterbacks who may or may not be struggling with less-than-stellar receiving targets ... doesn't that seem like a perfect fit at this point?

Still, despite the fact that he's supposed to have good hands, he wasn't thrown to much at all in college and that may be due to extremely lacking route running. He needs some good coaching.


NFL Draft 2011: Raiders Continue To Add Athletic Weapons, Draft Denarius Moore

Well, they didn't draft totally on speed this time, but they do grab an athletic weapon for their offense with Denarius Moore, the wide receiver out of Tennessee in the fifth round. In actuality, he lines up well on the value charts and is the best pick available at the position. The Raiders don't have a very strong group of receiving targets, though they are hoping Darrius Heyward-Bey and Jacoby Ford can progress solidly next season. With Zach Miller potentially leaving for free agency, the Raiders need more guys who can simply beat corners.

That's what Moore does, he has a ton of movement in a very small space and hustles down the field a lot faster than his 4.45 40-yard dash would let on. He's a big play threat any time he's on the field, and the Raiders are hoping that having him in the rotation a few times a game could take opponents by surprise and get a touchdown or two. He's a sleeper in this writer's mind, and a very good one at that.

The Raiders continue to have what appears to be a smart draft.


NFL Draft 2011: Raiders Stick With Athleticism, Draft Running Back Taiwan Jones

More vintage Oakland Raiders at this point, they drafted Taiwan Jones, the running back out of Eastern Washington. Their backfield already feeling a little crowded with the coming out of Darren McFadden and some other solid guys back there, so this pick was likely made solely for Jones' athletic ability. He wasn't on many teams' boards until he had his workouts and wowed people with his speed and athleticism. We all know that the Raiders are the team who is wowed the most by said speed and athleticism. They already drafted DeMarcus Van Dyke, the cornerback who ran in the 4.28 range earlier on, and Chimdi Chekwa, another corner who excels with his athleticism.

Jones may not ever be a starter in the NFL, but with proper coaching, who knows? He's got a lot of athletic ability, but lacks intangibles like balance and elusiveness. He might be able to contribute from day one for a couple plays a game, but the Raiders need to caution themselves and not work him too much, lest his flaws are exposed early and he coughs up some fumbles.

Still, it's not a bad pick and he does have solid potential. Like we said ... vintage Oakland.


NFL Draft 2011: Oakland Raiders Select Joseph Barksdale, OT, LSU

The Oakland Raiders decided to use their 92nd overall pick on offensive tackle Joseph Barksdale out of LSU. Barksdale was second team All-SEC last season as well as being the winner of LSU’s Butch Duhe Award given to the player who most exemplifies unselfishness, commitment, and dependability, traits that will help him significantly in the Oakland organization.

The Raiders definitely needed to get some new life on their offensive line, but whether or not Barksdale is that guy is yet to be seen. He could be considered a bit raw in some areas, and seems to turn his aggressiveness off and on from time to time, but at a shade under 6’5" at 325 pounds he possesses the body type to be a successful offensive lineman in the NFL.

The LSU senior has lots of experience under his belt and if he can play to his potential, will more than likely make the Raiders regular season squad. With few O-Lineman under contract for next season, Barksdale will be a welcome addition to the Silver & Black, bookending the offensive line.


NFL Draft 2011: Oakland Raiders Select DeMarcus Van Dyke, CB, Miami

Well, it's not likely that the Oakland Raiders just found a potential replacement for Nnamdi Asomugha, who may be gone in free agency, but they got a very good athlete and a guy with a lot of potential when they took DeMarcus Van Dyke with the eighty-first pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. The Raiders needed secondary help, and the cornerback out of Miami will definitely contribute from the get-go. 

It's a vintage Raiders pick, mostly because he ran a 4.28 40-yard dash and was the fastest corner there. He's got a very high ceiling and a lot of potential to be a starter. He'll likely come in and play against slot receivers from the get-go in nickel situations and contribute on special teams. Van Dyke is very, very raw at this point and Oakland will need to work with him to build up his knowledge, as he doesn't have great instincts.

The Raiders also traded a 2012 first round pick to acquire third and fourth round picks from the New England Patriots this year.


NFL Draft 2011: Oakland Raiders Don't Move Up, Select Stefen Wisniewski, C, Penn State

The speculation all along has been that the Oakland Raiders would move in the second round after not having a pick in round one on Thursday. It seemed like they had a deal in place with the New England Patriots (deja vu) at the 33rd pick, but the deal fell through and the Patriots went ahead and made their pick. The prevailing theory was that the Raiders wanted to move up for either Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick or cornerback Ras-I Dowling. Well, New England ended up going with Dowling and the Bay Area rival San Francisco 49ers ended up trading up with Denver to get Kaepernick.

So the Raiders held fast at their pick and took Stefen Wisniewski, the center out of Penn State. He fills an immediate need on the offensive line and could play center or either guard position, which are all positions of need for the Raiders, or at least potentially positions of need with someone like Samson Satele being a free agent.

Wisniewski is a first round talent who fell a bit due to lacking needs on the interior for most teams. He can play either guard spot or center, and it's likely he'll be in the middle of the line for the Oakland Raiders. He'll start from day one and this pick is definitely an A+ at immediate face value.

Hall of Famer Willie Brown announced the pick for the Raiders, as the NFL had alumni from each team announcing the second round picks.


NFL Draft 2011: With The Raiders' First Round Pick, The Patriots Select Nate Solder, OT, Colorado

The verdict is still out on whether or not the Oakland Raiders will have a first round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. They traded that to the New England Patriots as part of a trade to get defensive lineman Richard Seymour. When the seventeenth pick came along, there was still a huge talent pool available, with players like Cameron Jordan, Prince Amukamara, Anthony Castonzo, Da'Quan Bowers and more still on the board. All of those guys and more could have been a huge help to the Raiders.

Instead, the Patriots ended up going with Nate Solder, the offensive tackle from Colorado. That's a good pick for them, and not only that, it's a pick that could have helped the Raiders. Solder would have fit in on Oakland's line the same way at least five to ten different players also available would have fit wearing the Silver And Black.

This isn't doomsaying or anything of that nature - the Raiders still have Seymour, he's a great, high-motor player who still have a lot left in the tank. Still, one has to feel the Raiders are itching to move up.

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