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The Oakland Raiders and general manager Reggie McKenzie were able to ensure that the Raiders have veteran capable of starting at every position for the Raiders. As a result, the Raiders will be looking to upgrade their depth and hopefully find an impact player or two with their limited picks in this year's NFL draft.
Despite the fact that Mckenzie plans on drafting the best player available, there are still depth chart issues that the Raiders will hope to address with those players. The position with the greatest need of upgrade are linebacker, free safety, quarterback and tight end.
The linebacker position is clearly in the greatest need of upgrade. The Raiders have their starters in Aaron Curry, Rolando McLain and Philip Wheeler, but the depth is questionable at best. Also, with rumors that the Raiders will be running a 3-4 scheme at times this year, they are in need of 3-4 outside linebackers and more depth at the middle linebacker position as well.
The Raiders had to part ways with veteran back up, special teams stud and fan favorite, Hiram Eugene this off season. That left the free safety depth past Michael Huff in severe need of an upgrade. In addition, if the Raiders want to use Huff as an extra corner in the nickel and dime packages, they will need to find a free safety they are comfortable with using while Huff plays corner.
Last season showed the Raiders and their fans exactly how important the back up quarterback position is in the NFL. This season, the Raiders enter the NFL draft with only two quarterbacks on the roster, one of whom has ever run a play in the NFL (no, that false start for Terrelle Pryor did not count). Whether it be a number three or a number two quarterback, the Raiders will need to find another player before the season starts.
Finally, the Raiders got rid of their starting tight end last season in Kevin Boss. While they Raiders seem to really like what they have in David Ausberry and Brandon Meyers and Richard Gordon, none of them are very proven and McKenzie has expressed an interest in finding another player to push them. While the Raiders have signed a tight end since then, former basketball player Andre Gordon is a project who will likely not be ready to see time in an NFL game in his first year.
Given some of the big needs the Raiders still have, it will be interesting to see how many of them will be addressed given McKenzie's preference to take the best player available as opposed to drafting to need.
The Oakland Raiders only have five picks in this year's draft and their first pick does not come until the very end of the third round. That kind of disadvantage is not what a first year general manager hopes for coming into their first ever draft as the man making the decision. If Reggie McKenzie hopes to land impact players with the picks at his disposal, he will have to handle this draft perfectly. Luckily for Raiders fans, he has done just that up to this point.
Reggie McKenzie took over the Raiders under some of the worst circumstances possible for making off season upgrades. Not only do the Raiders have few draft picks and only in later rounds, but they came into the off season drastically over the cap. Rather than heading into free agency considering what players he wanted to pursue, McKenzie spent the time leading into free agency deciding which players to cut and which contracts to restructure.
Despite these drawbacks, McKenzie was able to put the Raiders in the best position possible to draft impactful players in the draft. He was forced to cut starters at multiple positions, and yet the Raiders enter the 2012 NFL draft with a veteran capable of starting at every position. Not only that, McKenzie may have actually upgraded the team in free agency.
By ensuring the Raiders have a player capable of starting at every position, and improving an area of need on the offensive line, McKenzie has placed himself in the position to follow through on his philosophy of drafting the best player available with each pick the Raiders possess. Now, without needing to draft to a position, all that is left to see is whether or not McKenzie can live up to his reputation to find diamonds in the rough.
Oakland Raiders former owner Al Davis never hesitated to trade future draft picks for players or to trade up in the draft. The most notable such trade recently was when Davis traded a first round pick for Richard Seymour. Then, after his passing, the Raiders continued in the Al Davis tradition by trading potentially two first round picks, and at best, a first and a second round pick in order to get quarterback Carson Palmer.
Well, it looks as though the days of trading future picks are over. Reggie McKenzie told fans not to expect the Raiders to trade up in this year's draft, as he is not opposed easing into the first draft not run by Al Davis. In general though, McKenzie stated that he would not often be trading future draft picks, and especially future high round draft picks.
This should not come as a surprise considering the success the Green Bay Packers have had in the draft while McKenzie was there. Now, with the new CBA restricting rookie contracts, draft picks have become even more valuable. No longer do teams need to be concerned with drastically overpaying a kid who has never suited up in the NFL. With so much of the risk taken out of the draft and a general manager who has a knack for judging young talent, the Raiders would be smart to start holding on to their draft picks more often.
The Oakland Raiders have been wondering how general manager Reggie McKenzie will approach the 2012 NFL Draft. He started to reveal some of his machinations in his latest press conference.
#Raiders McKenzie says he does not want to even consider trading future picks especially high ones— John Dickinson (@JDJohnDickinson) April 11, 2012
#Raiders Reggie McKenzie confirming he is a best player available GM as opposed to just team need— John Dickinson (@JDJohnDickinson) April 11, 2012
This is probably the right approach to take this year because Oakland has had to lose a lot of players to free agency. Also, considering how the Raiders have only five chances to pick players, McKenzie says that "we need to make them all count". Finally, because the Raiders aren't picking until very late (the third round) this year, they really need to maximize and find out who the best talents are on the board and grab them to ensure they get players who are more likely to pan out on the next level.
To talk about McKenzie and his draft strategy with Raiders fans, head on over to Silver and Black Pride.
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Could the Oakland Raiders be looking to take a page out of the San Diego Chargers' playbook? They just might as the Raiders were one of seven teams to be in attendance for a workout for Cal State Fullerton's Andre Hardy in San Diego last week, according to 1500ESPN.com.
Hardy is a 6-foot-5, 244 pound former basketball player at Oral Roberts and Fullerton who is looking to play tight end in the NFL even though he hasn't played football since high school.
Still, Hardy has all the makings of a football player. He has the size plus he ran a 4.7-second 40-yard dash and has a 79-inch wingspan. With the success of the Chargers' Antonio Gates and the breakout season of Saints tight end Jimmy Graham, former basketball players converting into dominant tight ends with limited football backgrounds is something with a proven track record.
To talk about the Raiders with other fans, check out Silver and Black Pride.
The Oakland Raiders do not appear as though they are ready to start the 2012 season with the running back corps that is currently on the team. Despite having traded for Mike Goodson from the Carolina Panthers, general manager Reggie McKenzie is expected to take a look at UCLA running back Derrick Coleman.
What makes this so interesting is not the fact that the Raiders already have three running backs on the roster. Rather, it is interesting because of the fact that Coleman is hearing impaired. Without his hearing aids, he can only make out sounds and not words. With them, he can make out words, but still needs to read lips in order to fully understand what is being said. If this sounds eerily familiar to you, it's probably because you are having subconscious flashbacks to that all time great football movie, The Replacements. In the movie, there is a replacement tight end with a ton of talent, but who was overlooked by pro scouts because he was deaf.
While it is always fun to talk about The Replacements, the analogy here is actually rather fitting. In the movie, people were shocked to see such a good player who was not already in the NFL. Similarly here, McKenzie is attempting to find players who present good value in the draft due to being overlooked for reasons that do not necessarily correlate with the way they play the game. In Coleman, McKenzie is likely looking to see if he is potentially a player that should have been graded as a early round pick, but who fell to a late round grade due to his hearing problems.
If you can say nothing else about Reggie McKenzie, it's that he leaves no stone unturned in his search for players who will improve the Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders have scheduled Houston linebacker Sammy Brown for a visit, according to Scout.com. Brown is a pass-rushing 3-4 outside linebacker who led the NCAA in tackles for a loss last season, with 28. Brown also finished the season with 12.5 sacks. He has both size and decent speed, standing at 6'2" tall and weighing in at 243 pounds, while running a 4.63 40 yard dash.
Slotted to go in the middle rounds, Brown makes a lot of sense for the Raiders. Even though Reggie McKenzie just signed former Indianapolis Colts linebacker Philip Weaver, the Raiders still need more linebackers. First of all, Weaver is primarily a run-stopping linebacker that has not had a lot of success rushing the passer. So while he makes a solid option on early downs, it would be nice to have a pass-rushing option on later downs.
In addition, the Raiders plan on running a hybrid defense that includes some 3-4 base formations. The linebacker position for the Raiders is very thin. If Dennis Allen wants to run 3-4 defensive plays, they will need to add some solid depth to the linebacker position.
With only late-round draft picks available to the Raiders, it appears as though McKenzie is looking at players who, though maybe not ready to start, can contribute to the team right away. By targeting role players like Sammy Brown and Alabama nose tackle Josh Chapman, McKenzie is aiming to get the most out of the Raiders' draft picks. Oakland has enough starters that neither of these guys will be asked to take on too much. They can be used in situations that will allow them to play to their strengths, making them more likely to succeed and the Raiders' defense more likely to be improved.
It did not take the Oakland Raiders long to start window shopping with their newly acquired third round draft pick. Less than two days after the compensatory draft picks were announced by the NFL, the Raiders scheduled their first pre draft visit for a player they could potentially take with their first pick in the 2012 NFL draft.
According to Paul Gutierrez, the Raiders are scheduled to host Alabama nose tackle Josh Chapman. Chapman is considered by many to be the third best nose tackle of the draft. Chapman is a beast of a man, standing at 6'1 and weighing 316 pounds. It is reported that he can bench press close to 600 pounds and can squat well over 600 pounds. He is a player that would likely have gone much higher than where the Raiders are slated to be picking if not for the fact that he suffered an ACL injury in October and is coming off of a surgery for it.
If the Raiders are seriously considering the addition of Chapman, it could be a very telling sign about what the Raiders defense might look like next season. Traditionally, the Raiders play a 4-3 base defense (with the exception of a couple of seasons during Chuck Bresnahan's first stint as the team's defensive coordinator, that is). The use of the Raiders highest draft pick on a nose tackle could signal the move from a 4-3 to a 3-4 base defense. If, however, the Raiders do decide to go in this direction, their need for additional linebackers would go from necessary to drastic. Currently, the Raiders only have two starting caliber linebackers on their team, and some would question whether I am being too generous by stating that Rolando McClain and Aaron Curry are starting caliber.
Certainly, Chapman will not be the only name tied to the Raiders third round pick, but just the fact that Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen are considering Chapman says a lot about potential plans for the future of the Raiders defense.
The Oakland Raiders have more than doubled the number of draft picks they have available to them for the 2012 NFL draft in one day. No, they did not make a big trade, the new draft picks are compensatory picks that were awarded to the Raiders as a result of losing free agents Nnamdi Asomugha, Zach Miller, Robert Gallery, Bruce Gradkowski and Thomas Howard last off season. The Raiders received the second highest number of compensatory picks with three, and received the highest compensatory pick in the NFL with a third rounder.
At first glance, it may not seem like a very big deal that the Raiders received a 3rd, 4th and 5th round pick. After all, compensatory picks are sandwich picks that are added on to the end of the round they are given. In other words, after all 32 of the normal third round picks are completed, the Raiders will get to use their compensatory pick. So really, you could think of it as getting a 4th, 5th and 6th round pick.
However, while later round picks are not nearly as exciting or sexy as first and second round picks, Raiders fans should be very excited about these picks for two reasons. First, because prior to this, the Raiders only had a 5th and a 6th round pick available to them. Second, because with the new Raiders general manager, the value of these picks becomes much greater.
As many know, the Raiders were faced with a very difficult situation with regards to their ability to upgrade the team this off season. The Raiders were forced to make a number of cuts along with restructuring a number of contracts in order to get under the cap prior to the start of free agency. Once under the cap, the Raiders had very little money to spend on the free agent market. To make things worse, as a result of trades and the supplemental draft, the Raiders only had two draft picks in the 2012 NFL draft. These picks may not seem like a big deal, but when you have very few options to upgrade a team, the guaranteed addition of three players is not something to sneeze at.
In addition, the fact that these picks do not occur in the first two rounds of the draft is not nearly as big of a deal thanks to the hiring of general manager Reggie McKenzie. I have the utmost respect for Mr. Al Davis and do not intend to speak an ill word about him. However, it is no secret that he would often draft players based on their athletic ability. Davis would draft this way because he figured that you cannot teach athletic ability, but can teach football skill sets. This, however, was a big gamble to make. Sure, it resulted in getting some amazing steals in the draft, but it also resulted in some major draft busts.
In McKenzie, the Raiders have a general manager who is known for making very smart draft picks. In Green Bay, McKenzie received a lot of the credit for a team that is made up primarily of Green Bay draft picks. The Packers rarely dip their feet in the free agent pool, and when they do, it is even more rare that they do so with big time signings. Rather, they make very good draft choices so that they are able to fill their roster with quality players at decent prices. McKenzie has shown a knack for picking solid players throughout the draft, not just in the early rounds. This means that Raiders fans can expect to get a higher number of players who can contribute right away under McKenzie than they ever did under Mr. Davis, regardless of where in the draft they are chosen.
In a year where they need desperately to upgrade their team in order to keep up with all of the drastic changes being made in the AFC West, the Raiders may have lucked out big time with these three additional picks.
It's not a bad day at all to be an Oakland Raiders fan. They're going to get more young players to draft, and they won't have to wait until the fifth round anymore!
Oakland ended up with three more picks from the compensatory rounds. The Raiders will receive the 95th pick from the third round, the 129th pick from the fourth round, and the 168th pick from the fifth round. The third round pick is now the first pick the Raiders have in this year's draft, as opposed to the fifth round pick the Raiders originally possessed. The Raiders also have a sixth rounder.
That is better than their counterparts the 49ers, who received no draft picks at all. On the other hand, San Francisco already has a full draft board available to them, so it's not like they ever needed any compensatory picks like Oakland did.
To discuss the situation with Raiders fans, head to Silver and Black Pride.