2012 NFL Draft: Oakland Raiders Key Needs Leading Into Draft

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.

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