After three days of scrutiny and deliberation the 2011 NFL Draft has come to an end, and the Oakland Raiders picks are all present and accounted for. Everyone has an opinion on how their teams fared, but one of the most respected opinons is that of ESPN's draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. He has created a formula of grading a team's draft by gauging how well a team assessed their needs, and how much value they got with their picks. He then averages the two grades for an overall evaluation. Kiper decided the Raiders deserved an overall grade of a C+, a slightly above average mark. Here's what Kiper had to say; you be the judge:
You could see the pick of [Stefen] Wisniewski coming if you know Oakland's history. Stefen's uncle, Steve, was a great Raiders offensive lineman for 13 seasons. The pick itself came out as a slight reach on my board, but I know better than to say it was a bad reach, because Oakland consistently pick guys I have rated a little lower, but they often work out. Bottom line: it's not always about value with the Raiders, it's about getting their guy. [DeMarcus] Van Dyke makes sense as a Round 3 pick -- the Raiders need a corner with the likely departure of Nnamdi Asomugha and Van Dyke is, of course, perhaps the fastest guy in the draft. The Raiders then again went offensive line and cornerback in repeat order. They upgraded their offensive line last year and had great results with Hue Jackson calling the plays, and it appears they wanted to finish the job in 2011. I was a little surprised they didn't address a clear need at outside linebacker a little earlier. They also waited until Round 5 to get a wideout, a spot I thought they might get to earlier. Another pretty good draft for the Raiders, who like their guys but don't worry as much about value.
Needs: B Value: C Overall: C+
I really like Kiper's evaluation this year. Stefen Wisniewski was good a pick for Al Davis because he appreciates the history of his franchise, and felt Stefan can bring some of the same traits to the table that his uncle Steve did years ago. The key phrase in Kiper's entire assessment of the Raiders picks is that 'it's about getting their guy.' The Silver & Black know what they want, an rarely deviate from their game plan to get it. Speed is usually one of the top things on their shopping list, and they certainly got it with DeMarcus Van Dyke. The fact of the matter is that Nnamdi Asomugha will likely not be a Raider next season, and this pick makes that hunch even stronger for me. Their waiting on a wideout isn't too big of a shock in my opinion, because I don't think Al Davis feels the guys he has now are all that bad. Others might, but it doesn't really matter because the Raiders got their guys, and are going to stick with them.
I probably would have gave the Raiders the same grade; possibly a bump up to B- because I think they fared well considering they were without a first round pick. Now it's up to the players to put in their time to perform well out on the field.