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The Oakland Raiders really are doing things differently this year. With a new man in charge of football operations, the years of seclusion and scant information coming from the Raiders appears to be over. In the past, re-signings of key players were sometimes never announced, let alone the signing of undrafted free agents. On Thursday, Reggie McKenzie took the Raiders one step closer to normalcy by announcing that the Raiders had signed 13 undrafted free agents.
The players signed by the Raiders are:
Conroy Black, CB, Utah
Kaelin Burnett, LB, Nevada
Derek Carrier, WR, Beloit
Brandon Carswell, WR, USC
Dominique Hamilton, DT, Missouri
Aaron Henry, S, Wisconsin
Marquette King, P, Fort Valley State
Dan Knapp, T, Arizona State
Mario Kurn, LB, San Diego
Thomas Mayo, WR, California (Pa.)
Lucas Nix, G, Pittsburgh
Chaz Powell, S, Penn State
Rod Streater, WR, Temple
Obviously, there is a very good chance that none of these guys even make the roster for the Raiders. However, with all of the off season talk about how good McKenzie is at evaluating college talent, I for one, am going to be paying special attention to this years class of undrafted free agents. If the Raiders can get just one or two to stick with the club, that would be a huge success.
The Oakland Raiders didn't exactly have a lot to play with at the 2012 NFL Draft last week, so their lack of immediate impact players was understandable. Despite not selecting until the end of the third round, the guys at NFL.com still managed to give the team a 'C' for their picks at the draft.
Here is a bit more on their selections, including a possible sleeper candidate for Carson Palmer to throw to.
Best pick: Tony Bergstrom, OT, Utah (Round 3, 95).
As a big, physical blocker with a nasty demeanor, Bergstrom will add toughness to the Raiders' gritty offensive line. He will vie for a starting spot as a rookie and could be a long-term solution at a perennial problem area for the team.
Questionable pick: Miles Burris, OLB, San Diego State (Round 4, 129).
This is a tough category, considering the Raiders' lack of picks. Burris faces an uphill battle in grabbing a starting spot, but a role as a core special teamer is certainly not out of the question as a rookie.
Sleeper pick: Juron Criner, WR, Arizona (Round 5, 168).
Criner took a surprising plunge down the charts, despite a very productive career at Arizona. He is a big, physical pass catcher with sneaky speed and quickness. He could thrive as a No. 3 receiver for the Raiders.
Again, it's tough to find any sure-things this late in the draft, but it does seem like the Raiders did a nice job of addressing the glaring issues on their roster. Criner slipping all the way to the fifth round was very surprising (most mock drafts had him going in the second round) and could be a huge pick for Oakland down the road.
For more on the Raiders and the rest of their draft picks, check out Silver and Black Pride.
The Oakland Raiders have received rather underwhelming draft grades from all of the big name draft analysts. However, the majority of these analysts note the fact that part of the reason the grade is so bad is due to the fact that the Raiders did not have picks in the first two rounds of the 2012 NFL draft. Thus, it has been rather hard to gauge exactly how well the Raiders new general manager, Reggie McKenzie, did with his first ever draft.
On Thursday, however, ESPN's AFC West blogger, Bill Williamson posted some comments from Scouts Inc.'s Steve Muench about the Oakland Raiders first two draft picks of the 2012 NFL draft, offensive lineman Tony Bergstrom and linebacker Miles Burris.
"(Oakland general manager) Reggie McKenzie didn’t have a lot to work with, but he did some good things. Bergstrom is a guard or a tackle who will be a starter some day. He is a solid player. Burris is a guy I like. He is a heat-seeking missile, who creates a lot of explosion when he hits people."
Those are some really positive reviews of the Raiders first two picks. Anytime you can find a guy in the third round that could be a starter one day is a great find. On top of that, Burris, who is one of my favorite picks of the draft, comes off sounding like a real impact player, something the Raiders have been missing on their defense.
First, let's look at how the Oakland Raiders are already assumed to be the fourth-worst team in the league this year. That alone needs mentioning. But furthermore, Sports Illustrated's Andrew Perloff has already posted his 2013 NFL Mock Draft based on projected finishes for the upcoming year and it leaves the Raiders with the no. 4 overall pick.
A pick that high only means one thing... Quarterback!
Here is what Perloff said about Bray.
If you want to see what an NFL throw looks like, look up Bray on YouTube. But the 6-foot-6 signal-caller has been inconsistent at Tennessee - in part because he and his receivers have been injured. He's a boom-or-bust prospect a year out - he's been fragile and could move up to No. 1 or fall back into the pack.
Boom or bust? That sounds like a Raiders draft pick description.
For more on the Raiders, check out Silver and Black Pride.
The Oakland Raiders signed 14 rookie free agents overall in the 2012 NFL Draft. The Raiders ended up with some quality under-the-radar candidates who no one else was able to land.
Wes Bunting of the National Football Post has more on Nix, who he labels as the top overall signing for the Raiders.
A good athlete for the position who can win in the pass game and seal lanes inside as a run blocker as well. Has some upside as a power play moving lineman off the ball and looks like a capable starter in the NFL.
Talk about the Raiders with fans of the team over at Silver and Black Pride.
Check out the NFL Draft analysis over at the SB Nation YouTube channel, and see if you'd be willing to subscribe to the videos.
With the Andrew Luck sweepstakes over, it could be time to move onto the quest for USC Trojan quarterback Matt Barkley. Barkley was likely to be the second or third overall pick along with Robert Griffin III. Barkley might have his decision to come back pay off though, as there's a very good shot he ends up getting picked with the first overall draft spot.
Ryan Van Bibber released his first mock on SB Nation concerning the 2013 NFL Draft, and the Oakland Raiders end up with the number one pick. Oakland ends up taking Barkley with this pick because hey, they need a quarterback.
Finally, Oakland gets the right USC quarterback.
The Raiders really don't need Carson Palmer, and it's unlikely Matt Leinart will work out either. So Barkley is next up.
To discuss how Raiders fans feel about Barkley, check out Silver and Black Pride. To talk about Barkley with USC football fans, hit up Conquest Chronicles. Hit up Mocking the Draft for more mock draft coverage.
Check out SB Nation NFL Draft coverage below for more on YouTube by watching the channel below.
The Oakland Raiders didn't have quite as many picks in the 2012 NFL Draft as they would have liked. As a result, the overall quality of their draftees was lowered. Many evaluators and analysts came away unimpressed by Oakland's roster additions.
Sports Illustrated has released their complete grades for the 2012 NFL Draft. Here is how the Raiders fared:
Oakland Raiders: Like the Saints, Oakland didn’t have a pick until the third round. The Raiders didn’t do too poorly given that challenge, landing a needed offensive lineman in Tony Bergstrom (95) and finding underrated WR Juron Criner at 168. It was a safer draft that New Orleans had in similar circumstances, but there are no stars here. Grade: C
The 2012 Raiders team will have to perform extremely well to silence the naysayers. Then again, that situation is nothing new for the Oakland team, or for their fans.
The Oakland Raiders didn't have a first round draft pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, always a large hindrance to the success of your draft class to say the least. But they had to work with what they had, picking up some nice pieces along the way, filling some areas of need.
ESPN's Mel Kiper wasn't exactly ecstatic about their choices, but he didn't hate them either, eventually giving them a C- overall for their selections this year.
Summary: Oakland was pretty anonymous in this draft. The Raiders didn't have a pick until No. 95, and then went with a guy I project as a guard. Tony Bergstrom started at tackle for Utah, but he'll need to move inside. Miles Burris has a chance to stick at OLB, and Jack Crawford could get better and develop into a starter along the defensive line. He needs experience. Not a great draft, but it's hard to do much when you have so few impact picks. I would have liked to see a flier pick on a tight end late.
With the new regime in place in Oakland, perhaps they were trying to stray from the long-standing draft process of 'what's Al Davis going to do next' to a more steady-handed approach; especially with a brand new GM in Reggie McKenzie and the same in head coach Dennis Allen. They (hopefully) will have many years together to have excellent drafts, but they simply were a bit hand-cuffed this year.
In 2012, an even-keel draft was probably the best approach for the Raiders.
The Oakland Raiders, along with the rest of the league, have completed their business in the 2012 NFL Draft. The Raiders were woefully depleted in draft picks this year, thanks in part to the trade that brought Carson Palmer to the team from the Cincinnati Bengals, but Oakland was awarded some compensatory draft picks and tried to make the best of a bad situation.
The Raiders managed to pick up a great under-the-radar offensive tackle in the third round and were able to nab a wide receiver with big upside in the fifth round.
No. 95 (Third Round): OL Tony Bergstrom, Utah Utes
No. 129 (Fourth Round): LB Miles Burris, San Diego St. Aztecs
No. 158 (Fifth Round): DE Jack Crawford, Penn St. Nittany Lions
No. 168 (Fifth Round): WR Juron Criner, Arizona Wildcats
No. 189 (Sixth Round): DT Chris Bilukidi, Georgia St. Panthers
No. 230 (Seventh Round): OLB Nathan Stupar, Penn St. Nittany Lions
For everything on the Oakland Raiders, please visit Silver and Black Pride. For more on the 2012 NFL Draft, visit SB Nation Bay Area's StoryStream. For even more comprehensive coverage of the NFL Draft, visit Mocking The Draft or stop by SB Nation's dedicated 2012 NFL Draft hub.
The Oakland Raiders were hamstrung by some prior trades in this year's draft. Oakland was not able to pick up a selection until the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft, but they were every bit as competitive as the rest of the league once the event ended and the signing of undrafted free agents began.
Paul Gutierrez of CSN Bay Area reports that the Raiders are linked to a number of players.
Fort Valley State punter Marquette King
Wisconsin safety Aaron Henry
Beloit receiver Derek Carrier
Pittsburgh guard Lucas Nix
Utah cornerback Conroy Black
Penn State defensive back Chaz Powell
USC receiver Brandon Carswell
California (PA) Thomas Mayo
UNR defensive end Kaelin Burnett
Missouri defensive lineman Dominique Hamilton
There is a great rundown of Carrier, Carswell and Mayo over at Silver and Black Pride. Go check it out.
For everything on the Oakland Raiders, please visit Silver and Black Pride. For more on the 2012 NFL Draft, visit SB Nation Bay Area's StoryStream. For even more comprehensive coverage of the NFL Draft, visit Mocking The Draft or stop by SB Nation's dedicated 2012 NFL Draft hub.
The Oakland Raiders wound up with six picks in the 2012 NFL draft. With their final pick, at number 230 in the seventh round, the Raiders drafted linebacker Nate Stupar out of Penn State. The Raiders were in desperate need of linebackers coming into the draft and were able to come out of it with two.
While their fourth round pick, Mile Burris is a guy who could see the field as a linebacker in his rookie season, Stupar is most likely a special teams player who can develop into quality depth down the line. Stupar is an intelligent player who should be able to learn how to play at the next level. He is also a very dedicated and passionate player, coming out of Penn State, also known as linebacker U.
Obviously not an exciting pick, not many are in the seventh round. But, Stupar is a quality football player who will likely stick with the team at the next level and contribute as a special teams player.
With the 230th pick in the 2012 NFL draft, the Oakland Raiders select Nate Stupar, outside linebacker, out of Penn State. This is the Oakland Raiders final pick of the 2012 NFL draft. Their original seventh round pick was traded during the 2011 NFL season when the Raider acquired outside linebacker Aaron Curry from the Seattle Seahawks. The Raiders acquired this pick when they traded their first pick in the 5th round for a pick ten spots back and this seventh round pick.
Taking a linebacker from linebacker U can never be a bad thing right? Stupar offers good quality in the seventh round. He is a smart guy who loves to play football. He will likely be able to contribute on special teams pretty early in his career and could develop into a solid back up. The Raiders were in need of linebackers heading into the draft and have come out with two of them.
The Oakland Raiders have always been known as a team that takes players at unusual times. A kicker, Sebastian Janikowski, in the first round, Darrius Heyward-Bey in the top ten, an unknown Mike Mitchell in the second round, and the list goes on. With the new regime in Reggie McKenzie, taking players well before they are expected to be taken was not expected to happen. While this is nowhere near the same thing as the picks noted above, it is a guy who is being taken before most people would have valued him.
Christo Bilukidi was seen more as a undrafted free agent who was intriguing enough of a prospect to be kept on a practice squad. While it is hard to take much out of a sixth round pick, the one thing that could be said is that McKenzie certainly could have waited until the seventh round to take Bilukidi. Sure, there is always the chance he would not still be there, but its not a huge risk, and its a seventh round talent, so its not a huge loss if you don't get him. The fact that McKenzie took Bilukidi in the sixth tells me that he did not want to take that risk and believes that Bilukidi is worth being taken a little early to ensure that he is taken,
Bilukidi has good size at 6'4 and 307 pounds and has good agility and quickness for his size. He has shown the ability to be a strong inside pass rusher, but has struggled in the run game as he has difficulties shedding blocks. He is the type of player who might be able to be coached up, as his performance in college did not match his physical talents. If he is able to make the team, the Raiders could use some more depth on the interior defensive line. Tommy Kelly and Richard Seymour are both getting older and John Henderson is no longer with the team.
With the 189th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders selected Christo Bilukidi, defensive end out of Georgia State. Bilukidi was not invited to the NFL Combine and was projected by some as a free agent, so he is likely satisfied with a sixth round pick. A captain of the Georgia State Panthers squad, Bilukidi was born in Angola and has lived in France, Brazil, and Canada.
He started both the 2010 and 2011 seasons, putting together a combined 89 tackles, 16 for a loss, with 10 sacks and three forced fumbles. 6'4" and 311lbs, he moves well for a man his size but was inconsistent against lower level competition and likely faces a stiff learning curve when facing NFL level expectations. Bilukidi will likely see time on the practice squad, where the Raiders will see if he can translate size and athleticism into genuine professional football skill.
For all things Oakland Raiders, check out Silver and Black Pride. For more on the 2012 NFL Draft, visit SB Nation Bay Area's Raiders storystream. For a complete list of 2012 NFL Draft results as they happen, visit SBNation.com. For even more comprehensive coverage of the NFL Draft, visit Mocking The Draft.
The Oakland Raiders did not enter the NFL draft with a big need at wide receiver. However, they most certainly could use a big bodied receiver who can be more of a possession guy. Right now, the Raiders have a ton of speedy smaller guys, but no one with the size of this guy. With Juron Criner, the Raiders have found their big bodied possession receiver.
Criner is 6'4 and weighs 215 pounds. He has nice hands and is a good route runner. He does not have much speed and can have issues creating separation, but as I noted above, the Raiders already have a ton of speed at wide receiver. Criner may not be a number one or two receiver, but will make a great number three and will serve a big need as a possession receiver and certainly has the potential to grow into a starting wide receiver.
The other bonus that Criner brings is as a run blocker on the outside. As we all know, the Raiders will try and continue their run as one of the better rushing teams in the NFL. So far, Darrius Heyward-Bey was easily their best run blocker. Adding Criner will help not only in the pass game, but also in the run game.
This is starting to sound redundant, but McKenzie has once again found great value late in the draft. He has addressed a need with a guy who can contribute right away and has the potential to develop into a very valuable player for the Raiders. It is going to be fun to see how these guys turn out two or three years from now.
With the 168th pick in the 2012 NFL draft, the Oakland Raiders take Juron Criner, wide receiver out of Arizona. While the Raiders spent the first two rounds of the draft pretty much sitting on their hands, things are starting to heat up for the Raider Nation as the Raiders have just made their third of five picks on day three of the NFL draft, this time addressing a lesser need at wide receiver with Juron Criner. This was likely a value pick since Criner is a guy who easily could have been gone at this point. With the Raiders having addressed some defensive needs and having picked up another late round pick, they were able to take a guy like Criner, who does not fill a big time need, but is a great value at this point in the draft.
The Raiders have a ton of young wide receivers, but they are all in the same kind of mold, smaller speedsters who can stretch the field. With Criner, the Raiders address a need by finding a big bodied receiver who can be more of a possession guy. Criner, yet again, is another player who can conceivably develop into a starting caliber player in the NFL. Meanwhile, he will likely be a nice third down receiver who can take advantage of his size to make key plays.
The Oakland Raiders are clearly being run by someone new. Rarely if ever have the Raider Nation seen their team trade back and get extra picks when they think their guy will still be around. Many thought that the Raiders should have done just that when they took Darrius Heyward-Bey. Now, under Reggie McKenzie, the Raiders are not afraid to trade back and get more picks as they did with their first 5th round pick.
The Raiders traded the number 148 pick in the 2012 draft for the number 158th pick and the 230th pick. This way, the Raiders likely still got the guy they wanted in Jack Crawford, defensive end out of Penn State, but also have another pick in the 7th round to add even more players to the team.
Meanwhile, Crawford is a development project who could have an impact as a rookie. While Crawford has a good amount of work to do before he is capable of playing consistently at the NFL level, he has enough pass rush skills that the Raiders will be able to use him occasionally on passing downs. Crawford will add some much needed depth to the defensive line and has the potential to develop into a starting lineman a few years down the line.
Reggie McKenzie just keeps impressing with his draft picks. His ability to find guys who can contribute and have value as rookies while also having the potential to develop into a starter down the line is nothing short of brilliant. Now with another pick later in the draft, we will see if he can continue to find diamonds in the rough late in the 2012 NFL draft.
With the 158th pick in the 2012 NFL draft, the Oakland Raiders select Jack Crawford, defensive end, Penn State. The Oakland Raiders are finally getting active in the NFL draft with four picks on day three. Their first pick of day three went to the Raiders biggest need at outside linebacker. With their second pick of day three and third pick overall, the Raiders traded the pick for the 158th and 230th picks of the 2012 NFL draft. The Raiders likely expected the guy they wanted at 148 to still be there at 158 and took the opportunity to get another pick in this year's draft with the 23rd pick of the 7th round. Now, the Raiders have six picks and are able to add another body.
With the 158th pick in the draft, the Raiders went defensive again, taking a defensive end out of Penn State. Crawford is a developmental prospect at defensive end. He is more of a pass rusher than a run stopper, but has plenty of upside and has room to improve in both areas. With the Raiders in need of pass rush, this is a pick who might be able to contribute on passing downs as a rookie, and who can develop into a solid back up and potentially into a starter one day at the pro level.
Raiders 2012 NFL Draft Haul
No. 95 (Third Round): OL Tony Bergstrom, Utah
No. 129 (Fourth Round):
No. 148 (Fifth Round):
The Oakland Raiders first pick was on the offensive side of the ball. Now, with their second pick, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie addressed the Raiders biggest need at the outside linebacker position by drafting San Diego State linebacker Miles Burris.
Burris is exactly the kind of guy one would expect Reggie McKenzie to draft. At this point in the draft, you need to get players who may not have a huge amount of upside, but who are solid players, guaranteed to have an impact on the team. In Burris, much like their first pick in Tony Bergstrom, Burris is a guy who will provide depth at multiple positions because of his versatility and ability to play at either the inside or outside linebacker position. Plus, Burris is the kind of player that, though he might need a year or two, could easily develop into a starting linebacker for the Raiders.
In addition, even if Burris cannot challenge for a starting position right away, he will have an immediate impact on special teams which is an area that the Raiders are in desperate need after losing their two best special teams players in Hiram Eugene and Rock Cartwright.
McKenzie continues to show off his ability to get great value out of late round draft picks. Burris is a solid football player who has a ton of value to the Raiders despite being taken the fourth round. Thus far, with the first two picks, McKenzie has been able to make solid upgrades to the Raiders by adding much needed depth and also taking guys who can challenge for a starting roll, even if not right away. It is going to be exciting to see what else McKenzie can get with his last three picks.
With the No. 129 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders have selected LB Miles Burriss out of San Diego State..
It was just their second pick of the draft so far, having traded away picks in rounds one and two, while forfeiting their selection in round three by selecting quarterback Terrelle Pryor in the supplemental draft. They picked at the end of the third round with a compensatory selection though, bringing on interior lineman Tony Bergstrom.
With this selection, the Raiders as expected add depth to their linebacking corps, which is woefully thin. Burriss is an extremely athletic outside linebacker who performed a standing backflip for scouts at the Combine. He isn't blazing fast, but has good size at 6'2" and 236 pounds. He is versatile enough to play any linebacker position, which is exactly what the Raiders need with the new concepts on defense.
Raiders 2012 NFL Draft Haul
No. 95 (Third Round): OL Tony Bergstrom, Utah
No. 129 (Fourth Round): Miles Burriss
Both Dennis Allen and Reggie McKenzie are widely known as defensive-minded guys, yet they used their first draft pick as Raider head honchos on an offensive lineman. This may have been a surprise to those who follow the team, knowng what a cesspit of horrors the defense was last year, but McKenzie stayed true to his board. He didn't reach, he didn't panic, he took the player he wanted and fulfilled a huge need- depth on the offensive line.
That being said, even with McKenzie filling all the starting roles on defense through free agency, defensive depth and talent is still a huge issue that must be addressed. A number of McKenzie's signees are on one year deals, and the Raiders will be able to save money if McKenzie can draft potential starters in the upcoming late rounds rather than shelling out big bucks to veterans.
Linebacker is a huge need, especially if the team moves to a base 3-4 defense or even if it incorporates a mixture of 4-3 and 3-4 concepts. That will require at least six good linebackers, and the Raiders have approximately two, or three if Travis Goethel returns to form from his injury. Philip Wheeler is a good player, but more is needed. I expect the Raiders to make a run at a guy like Josh Kaddu, Ronnell Lewis or Alex Hoffman-Ellis.
Cornerback is another area of need. Shawntae Spencer and Ron Bartel are the de facto starters, but behind them is only Demarcus Van Dyke and Chimdi Chekwa. More depth and talent is required. Alfonzo Dennard and Chase Minnifield are still on the board, and Cliff Harris would be an interesting pick later on in the draft.
Defensive tackle is also an area of concern, as the Raiders lack the true nose tackle that is the keystone to a 3-4 scheme. Josh Chapman is currently on the board, as is Mike Martin and Alameda Ta'amu. One of these guys would be an excellent investment for the team, as Richard Seymour isn't getting any younger.
The Raiders could go any number of ways, but as long as they remain true to their board and pick the player they feel is best for the team, the Raiders will improve regardless due to what we hope is superior coaching and leadership.
Reggie McKenzie had to wait a long time to make his first draft choice with the Oakland Raiders, but in the end he got the guy he wanted. Reggie conducts his drafts completely unlike Raider teams of yore, focusing less on measurable and more on actual football ability. In Tony Bergstrom, McKenzie feels like he selected a player who brings a lot to the table. CSN Bay Area had some quotes from McKenzie in a Q&A:
"McKenzie: The one thing, the guy's a football player. He's tough, he plays with great football intelligence, he understands the game. He is a physical football player. Tough. And that's what you want. He's got size, he's got good movement skills, he knows how to use his hands. He's gonna help us up front. The coaches I'm pretty sure will be excited once he gets here. Because he's going to show those guys he's a football player."
The Raiders are lacking any serious depth in their offensive line rotation. McKenzie expresses faith in Bergstrom's ability to contribute depth at every position.
"McKenzie: The one thing he has is that versatility. I mean, he's been a tackle. He played some guard in the Senior Bowl, we know he can play that. So, the bottom line is his versatility is going to afford us to do a lot of things and it will help our offense tremendously. We will probably take a look at him at guard initially, make sure he can play that, and play that well."
The Raiders were very reluctant to reach even though they have a lot of needs on both sides of the ball. It was important to them that they trust their board and not give into the temptation to pick a lower-rated player to fill a perceived hole. This process was likely made easier by the fact that McKenzie filled all the vacant starting positions on the team through free agency, so there was no need to reach for any player.
McKenzie:"But yeah, you know, going into this thing we wanted to add depth to the entire team. Both sides of the ball and so in doing that you cannot reach down and pick a need two or three rounds lower just because it fulfills a need. We wanted to make sure that we picked the right player who we had on the board and who we liked, you know? So, we want to pick the best player, and that's what we did."
It is refreshing as someone who follows the Raiders to have a man in charge of the team who drafts the right way and builds the team from the inside out, starting with the trenches, and never panics or makes questionable moves out of sheer desperation or an infatuation with measurables. I suspect Saturday's draft will look much like Friday's- with the Raiders taking the player they deem the best, regardless of position.
The Oakland Raiders addressed a need with their first pick of the 2012 NFL draft while still likely picking the guy who Reggie McKenzie viewed as the best on the board. While offensive line is certainly a need for the Raiders, outside linebacker is clearly the biggest need, and the argument could be made that a defensive tackle, corner back or free safety was a bigger need than a reserve lineman.
Tony Bergstrom, however, is not just any lineman. While he is not as polished as some of the other lineman in this year's draft, he is a guy that could play tackle or guard at the next level. As a result, the Raiders were able to add depth to both the guard and tackle positions with one pick. Though not ready to start right away, Bergstrom will add needed depth to an offensive line that is in need of an upgrade.
Bergstrom is a big boy, standing at 6'6 and weighing 315 pounds. He has some good natural abilities, but he also has a lot of work before he can challenge for a starting position. While he can play at both tackle or guard, I would not be surprised to see the Raiders make guard his primary position. They have second year tackle Joseph Barksdale who they hope will challenge Khalif Barnes for the starting right tackle job. Meanwhile, the guard position is one without much depth, and one where the Raiders could use some competition for incumbent starter Cooper Carlisle.
The Oakland Raiders used their 2012 NFL draft third round pick during last summer's supplemental draft in order to take Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who decided to leave school early amidst controversy over the receipt of benefits from a used car dealer and Ohio State fan.
Pryor has yet to see the field in a regular season game, and Reggie McKenzie has said that the new coaching staff has yet to evaluate Pryor to see what they think of his future as an NFL quarterback. However, should Pryor not succeed as a quarterback in the NFL, there is also the possibility he could convert to tight end or wide receiver and have a good NFL career.
Despite the promise that Pryor has, it is still nice to see what the Raiders other options would have been had they decided to hang onto the draft pick and use it this year. Typically, a team will begin addressing some of their less important needs in the third round, having addressed their biggest needs in the first two rounds. For the Raiders, there were two guys who I believe would have been interesting options in the third round, wide receiver Mohamed Sanu out of Rutgers and corner back Jamell Fleming out of Oklanhoma.
Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
The Raiders have a lot of young receivers on their roster already, but most fall into the same category, small bodied speedsters. While Darrius Heyward-Bey is starting to develop into what looks more like a possession receiver, the Raiders could use another bigger possession type of receiver to help on third down.
Jamell Fleming, CB, Oklahoma
Fleming is an undersized corner back with a lot of talent. Plus, though Fleming is a bit undersized, he has the frame to put on some bulk in the weight room.Fleming does what, in my opinion, is the key to being a good corner, he attacks the football. If not for his deficiencies in tackling and shedding blocks in the run game, he likely would have gone higher than the third round.
While the Raiders would have been able to draft a player who would contribute to the team quicker than Terrelle Pryor will, if Pryor turns into the quarterback of the future for the Raiders, there is no question that it was the wiser decision to take him in the supplemental draft.
The Oakland Raiders traded their 2012 second round pick during the 2011 NFL draft in order to get a third round and a fourth round pick in that draft. With those two picks, the Raiders took Joseph Barksdale and Taiwan Jones respectively. As always, it is fun to look at what could have been with that second round pick. Unlike the first round pick that the Raiders combined with a 2013 pick in order to get Carson Palmer, this pick went towards drafting two players. There are two guys that I think could have been big time upgrades for the Raiders in defensive tackle Kendall Reyes and offensive tackle Mike Adams.
The first three rounds are in the books at the 2012 NFL Draft and so, too, is the first pick for the Oakland Raiders. Via trades and supplemental drafts, the Raiders were left severely short on picks at this year's event, only getting into the mix with the very final pick of the third round on Friday, which was the final pick of Day 2. The Raiders used their one pick on guard Tony Bergstrom from the Utah Utes, selecting him at No. 95 overall.
The Raiders will have more supplemental picks on Saturday, the final day of the draft. Their first pick will come at No. 129 overall, in the 4th round. They'll pick at No. 148 and No. 168 overall in the 5th round and No. 189 overall in the 6th.
So, barring any more trade shenanigans, the Raiders will have five picks on Saturday.
For more on the 2012 NFL Draft, visit SB Nation Bay Area. For a complete list of 2012 NFL Draft results as they happen, visit SBNation.com. For more discussion and analysis of the Oakland Raiders head over to Silver and Black Pride. For even more comprehensive coverage of the NFL Draft, visit Mocking The Draft.
The third and final day of the 2012 NFL Draft will take place on Saturday from Radio City Music Hall. The first round on Thursday was strange and unpredictable, often bordering on the surreal. The second and third rounds on Friday were a rapid-fire blur of selections and trades.
Saturday will bring with it the 4th through the 7th rounds of the draft, so it will begin bright and early. While many of the marquee names will be gone by the time the day ends, but it will be a nonstop stream of news and analysis nonetheless. You might want to order in.
The fourth round will begin on Saturday starting at 9:00 a.m. PT.
You can watch the draft live on either ESPN or the NFL Network and also stream it live on the internet on NFL.com/Live.
For more on the 2012 NFL Draft, visit SB Nation Bay Area. For a complete list of 2012 NFL Draft results as they happen, visit SBNation.com. For more discussion and analysis of the San Francisco 49ers head over to Niners Nation. For more discussion and analysis of the Oakland Raiders head over to Silver and Black Pride. For even more comprehensive coverage of the NFL Draft, visit Mocking The Draft.
The Oakland Raiders have finally made their first pick in the 2012 NFL draft and they did not go the way that many expected them to. GIven the Raiders need for interior defensive lineman and run stoppers in general, and with Josh Chapman on the board, many expected the big defensive tackle to be the newest member of the Silver and Black. Instead, Reggie McKenzie went for an interior lineman on the other side of the ball, taking Tony Bergstrom out of Utah.
Bergstrom played tackle in college, but most have projected him to move inside to guard at the next level. Bergstrom has good size standing at 6'6 and weighing in at 315 pounds, but he lacks the quickness that is often associated with the zone blocking scheme that the Raiders plan on implementing.
Given that fact, it is possible that McKenzie plans on bucking the system and sees Bergstrom as a tackle at the next level. The Raiders have a much bigger need at tackle than they do at guard. While Jared Veldheer is holding down the left tackle spot, Khalif Barnes is the best the Raiders have at right tackle, and that is not very good. Meanwhile, they signed free agent Mike Brisiel who excels in the zone blocking system and have a more than capable player in Cooper Carlisle. Either way, it will be interesting to see what McKenzie does with Bergstrom and whether or not he can push Barnes or Carlisle for a starting position.
The Raiders, due to a number of moves in the last year, have had no picks until this one, a compensatory selection. With it, they decide to address their offensive line. Tony Bergstrom is a large, versatile lineman who can provide depth for an offensive line that is moving Stefen Wisniewski to center with the loss of Samson Satele. Bergstrom will be able to spell Cooper Carlisle at left guard and provide depth for numerous positions along the line.
Bergstrom is 6'5", 313 pounds. He is a right tackle by trade, The Raiders have gone through a number of right tackles lately so Bergstrom will team with Joseph Barksdale in providing depth and talent at that position, and whatever other line spots need depth. The Raiders needed depth on defense as well, but there are a lot more secondary and linebacker prospects later on than there are genuine prospective starting tackles.
The Raiders might have taken a more polished tackle like Bobby Massie or Zebrie Sanders, but the Raiders have so little depth along the line that Bergstrom's experience and ability at every single offensive line spot obviously gave him the edge over other prospects.
This pick was announced by Raiders Hall of Famer Willie Brown.
With the 77th pick in the draft, the New York Jets select DeMario Davis, LB from Arkansas State .
This was slated to be the Raiders' third-round selection, but the Raiders opted to select QB Terrelle Pryor of The Ohio State University in the 2011 supplemental draft, thus forfeiting this pick. The Jets selected DE Quinton Coples from North Carolina with the 16th pick in the first round. In the second round, they selected Stephen Hill, WR from Georgia Tech
DeMario Davis is a good prospect who fell likely because of his small college. He has excellent size and is very explosive, with good skills against both the run and the pass. He possesses ideal linebacker size at 6'3" and 220 pounds. He will fit right in to the Jets' complex, attacking defense.
The Raiders could have got very good value at this selection, but if Terrelle Pryor pans out it will have been well worth the third rounder.
With the 48th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Patriots select Tavon Wilson, CB from Illinois.
This pick was acquired by the Patriots from the Raiders last year in a draft day trade in which the Raiders acquired Joseph Barksdale and Taiwan Jones. The Patriots thus far have addressed their pass rush only by adding Chandler Jones of Syracuse and Dont'a Hightower of Alabama. With this pick the Patriots add to their secondary, which was the worst in the league last year.
Wilson is versatile enough to play either corner or safety, and the Patriots have great needs at both of those positions. Wilson was not highly regarded in the draft, but was an All-Big Ten Honorable Mention each of the last two years and New England is known for drafting diamonds in the rough. At this point, New England needs all the help they can get in their defensive backfield and this guy is as good as anyone, in that he has a pulse.
The Raiders could have used this pick to improve their secondary as well, but potential studs on the offensive line and runningback are probably worth the price they paid for those picks.
This pick was announced by Patriots great Troy Brown.
The Raiders gave up their first round pick in the 2012 NFL draft in the trade that brought Carson Palmer to Oakland. Now that the first round of the draft has played out, we can look at who the Raiders would have taken had they not traded away their pick. The Cincinnati Bengals used the pick to get corner back Dre Kirkpatrick, but I do not think that is the way the Raiders should have gone.
There were two players on the board who are both high quality players and would fill key needs for the Raiders. The first player I would have chosen was David DeCastro, an offensive guard out of Stanford. DeCastro is one of the best offensive linemen in this year's draft and could develop into one of the best interior linemen in the NFL. The second is outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw out of Alabama. Upshaw is a solid all around football player. He is strong in pass rush and more than holds his own in run defense.
Let's assume I am as good at this as Reggie McKenzie and that he would have taken one of the two players I discussed above. Let's also assume that had the Raiders not traded for Palmer, they would have re-signed Jason Campbell. Given these assumptions, I present to you:
Carson Palmer vs. The Pick No. 17 Options
Carson Palmer vs. David DeCastro
While I think David DeCastro is a great player who would have been an obvious choice for the Raiders at number 17, I do not think he would have as big of an impact on the Raiders as Carson Palmer does. Cooper Carlisle is on the downside of his career, but he had a decent 2011 season, and he played very well in Tom Cable's zone blocking system. WIth the Raiders moving back to zone blocking, Carlisle is a decent starter at the guard position. Meanwhile, Palmer provides a big play ability that even under poor circumstances last season was clearly better than Jason Campbell ever provided.
Carson Palmer vs. Courtney Upshaw
This is a much closer competition. Upshaw would be a big upgrade to the Raiders weakest position at outside linebacker. In addition, Upshaw would have been an instant upgrade to the Raiders pass rush, and makeup for much of what was lost this off season with the departures of pass rushers Trevor Scott and Kamerion Wimbley. On top of his pass rushing abilities, he is a solid run defender and the Raiders can use as many of those as possible.
The Oakland Raiders will get their first shot at upgrading their roster for the 2012 season at the end of the third round. While general manager Reggie McKenzie has said that he will not trade future picks for players, he has never said that he would not trade players for picks. So, it is possible that McKenzie could try and trade up higher in the draft, but it is highly unlikely. The Raiders just do not have enough depth that they'd be able to trade anyone that would be worth moving back for.
While this is not the greatest position for the Raiders to be in, there are plenty of quality players to be had at the end of the third round, and the rest of the draft for that matter. McKenzie has stated that he is going to take the best player available regardless of need. While I could see doing this in the early rounds of the draft, where you can land a truly impactful player, but not at the end of the third round. I would be surprised if the Raiders did not take a player from one of their top four positional needs, I would rank the Raiders top needs in the following way:
1. Outside Linebacker
The Raiders have a real depth issue at all of the linebacker positions, but especially at outside linebacker. The Raiders could really use a guy who can come in and contribute as a rookie. Even better if it is someone that can push either Aaron Curry or Philip Wheeler.
2. Right Tackle
Having Khalif Barnes as your right tackle is not something to be very happy about. While Barnes isn't a terrible blocker, he can get outplayed often, and has a massive problem with false starts. It is hard to find a tackle capable of starting as a rookie this late in the draft, but if McKenzie can find someone capable of pushing Barnes and possibly taking over next season, it would be well worth a third round pick.
3. Defensive Tackle
The Raiders need to do something about their perennial run stopping problems. Now that John Henderson is no longer on the team, the Raiders could use another big bodied run stopper to join in the defensive line rotation. This is the type of position that can have impact as a rookie without having to start. Having a deep defensive line rotation keeps guys fresh and makes a big difference in defensive line play.
4. Free Safety
Michael Huff is obviously the starter at the free safety position, but there is absolutely no depth after the Raiders cut the back up Hiram Eugene, who was a fan favorite and special teams stud. Finding a solid backup to Huff is crucial, and it would be great if he could also contribute on special teams.
Arguments could easily be made that tight end or guard are top four needs, but I think Cooper Carlisle will play well in a zone blocking scheme, and David Ausberry could turn out to be a very good tight end that produces mis matches in coverage while Brandon Meyes is a good blocking tight end and a capable pass catcher.
The Oakland Raiders did not receive a selection in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft on Thursday, due to trades in the draft order in previous years. They'll finally have a turn at bat on Friday, however, as the second and third rounds will take place at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
The first round of the draft was unexpected and a little bizarre, as most of the teams bucked the expectations that many mock drafts foisted upon them in the months leading up to the event.
The Raiders will not be making their first pick until the very end of round three, barring any trades. That pick is No. 95, a compensatory selection due to the number of free agents who departed last season (many of them big names). They'll be unable to flip the No. 95 pick if they plan on moving up though, as compensatory picks cannot be traded.
On Friday, the second and third rounds of the 2012 NFL Draft will take place in New York City. The first round on Thursday provided no shortage of shocks and head-scratchers, so the next two rounds should be every bit as dramatic. What's more, the Oakland Raiders will finally receive their first pick in this year's draft, so anything is possible. Where will Stanford tight end Coby Fleener wind up? Will anyone take a gamble on Vontaze Burfict or Chris Owusu?
The 49ers also have lots more work left to do after selecting A.J. Jenkins in the first round. Now that their wide receiver needs should be met, which position will they look to beef up next? Who will be the first California Golden Bears player to be selected? The only way to find out, of course, is to watch.
Time: The second day of the 2012 NFL Draft will begin at 4:00 p.m. PT and will go until 8:30 p.m. PT.
TV: Once again, the event will be simulcast on both ESPN and the NFL Network.
Commentators: On ESPN, Chris Berman will host the desk at Radio City Music Hall, along with analysts Mel Kiper and Jon Gruden. Adam Schefter, Chris Mortensen and Suzy Kolber will provide additional reporting.
On the NFL Network, Rich Eisen will be joined by a cadre of network analysts.
Online Coverage: NFL.com will once again carry the NFL Network feed. You can find the live stream coverage of Day 2 here, starting at 3:30 p.m. PT.
The Oakland Raiders do not have a first round pick in the 2012 NFL draft due to the mid season trade for quarterback Carson Palmer. While the Raiders will never admit that the trade was a mistake, it is always fun to think about what could have been if the Raiders still had their first round pick. Hell, even Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said that he plans on deciding who he would have chosen had the Raiders not traded away their first round pick, so we might as well do the same. Here is a look at some of the players available that could have really helped the Raiders.
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Corner back is not a huge area of need for the Raiders as they have two players capable of starting in Shawntae Spencer and Ron Bartell and two young guys with potential in Chimdi Chekwa and DeMarcus Van Dyke. But, Kirkpatrick is a guy who could turn out to be a very solid starting corner back in the NFL. He is better in a zone defense, but can play man as well.
David DeCastro, G, Stanford
David DeCastro is probably the best offensive lineman in this year's draft and would be an instant upgrade over Cooper Carlisle on the Raiders offensive line. Not only that, but he could grow into one of the best interior offensive linemen in the NFL. This, in my opinion, is the most painful guy to have missed an opportunity to draft, he very easily could have gone higher.
Jonathan Martin, T, Stanford
They must be doing something right down on the farm, because they very well could have two offensive linemen taken in the first round, and both project to be very good players at the next level. The Raiders are more in need of a tackle than a guard, so Martin would also make a lot of sense at this point as he is probably the best tackle left on the board.
Kendall Reyes, DT, Connecticut
The Raiders have struggled against the run for years now and Reyes could help with his ability to get behind the line of scrimmage and break up plays before they even begin. He is also versatile and can play in a 3-4 defense or a 4-3 defense.
Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama
The Raiders biggest need comes at the outside linebacker position. While the Raiders have guys capable of starting, it is still a position in need of an upgrade and depth. Upshaw is a guy who would push for a starting job right away. He has good pass rushing skills and is above average in his run defense. Like DeCastro, this is a guy that it is a little painful to miss a chance to draft.
With the 17th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals have selected Dre Kirkpatrick, cornerback from the University of Alabama. Kirkpatrick is a terrific player, with superior height and speed and excellent tackling ability. The Bengals were in dire need of a cornerback and Kirkpatrick may have been the best one available. He was a star at Alabama and was arguably the best player on their defense, even though Mark Barron was selected higher. He will line up across from Leon Hall to give the Bengals two excellent corners.
The Raiders are also rebuilding their secondary and could have used a player of Kirkpatrick's ability. However, the Carson Palmer trade gave the Bengals a number of picks, including this one. Time will tell whether the trade holds up as a wise one, although general wisdom suggests a franchise QB is more valuable than even the finest cornerback. Since the Raiders signed two good corners in free agency, that seems like less of a need at this point, making the trade good from the Raiders perspective and potentially excellent from the Bengals', as least at this point. Kirkpatrick will help the Bengals contend in the AFC North against the likes of Joe Flacco and Ben Roethlisberger, while Carson Palmer keeps the Raiders from having to start a journeyman quarterback.
I have got to admit, predicting this year's Raiders picks are much more difficult than previous years for a couple of reasons. First, the Raiders do not have any picks in the first two rounds. Coincidentally, those are the rounds where one is able to find the most information about prospects. The draft consists of over 250 picks, and the majority of information readily available is centered on players that are expected to be taken in the first two rounds.
In addition to the relatively thin information available about the potential picks, there is also the Al Davis factor. Before this year, predicting Raiders picks was relatively easy. The first step was always to rule out the skill position players who ran a 40 time that was slower than 4.5 seconds. That alone cut down the available picks by a large amount. In addition to speed, Davis also loved work out warriors. Combine stars were always a favorite of Al Davis' and much like great speed, he could rarely pass up an athletic freak.
With Reggie McKenzie, we have no history to go on. While he was clearly involved with the Green Bay Packers' drafts while he worked there, he was not the one making the final decision, so we do not know where he stood on every pick. There is, however, some evidence of what McKenzie's thought process might be. We know from his interviews that he is in favor of taking the best player available, rather than drafting to need. We know from how he handled the free agent period that he is practical, going for the solid player at a good price. We also know that his experience with a solid drafting team like the Packers means he knows his way around a draft room.
Thus, with those factors in mind, this mock draft is a combination of what I think the Raiders should do with each pick, with a little bit of Reggie McKenzie hypothesizing mixed in. Without further ado, I present my 2012 Oakland Raiders Mock Draft:
3rd Round, Pick No. 95: Josh Chapman
With the 95th pick in the 2012 NFL draft, the Oakland Raiders select Josh Chapman, defensive tackle, Alabama. To me, this seems like a Reggie McKenzie type of pick. Green Bay has always been able to find talent late, and one of the ways to do that is by getting a talent with injury or character concerns. Chapman is a talent that likely would go much higher but for injury concerns.
4th Round, Pick No. 129: Emmanuel Acho
With the 129th pick in the 2012 NFL draft, the Oakland Raiders select Emmanuel Acho, linebacker, University of Texas. Acho is a real solid player who could be a sleeper in this year's draft. He is a versatile linebacker who can play at a number of positions in both the 3-4 and 4-3 defenses.
5th Round, Pick No. 148: Chris Greenwood
With the 148th pick of the NFL draft, the Oakland Raiders select Chris Greenwood, corner back, Albion. Greenwood is a very talented athlete that is a little raw in his football skills. I know, sounds like an Al Davis pick, right? Well, the fact that McKenzie brought Greenwood in, tells me he might see a guy that can learn to be a football player and not just an athlete. Greenwood may very well be gone by this point in the draft, but if he is there, he could be a good pick up for the Raiders.
5th Round, Pick No. 168: Senio Kelemete
With the 168th pick of the NFL draft, the Oakland Raiders select Senio Kelemete, tackle, University of Washington. Kelemete is a very athletic offensive lineman who excels at blocking in the run game and has shown improvement in his pass blocking. He would be a good fit in the zone blocking scheme, and even though he is more likely to play guard at the next level, his experience at tackle means he can provide depth at both positions as he attempts to learn and compete for a starting role.
6th Round, Pick No. 189: Tim Fugger
With the 189th pick of the NFL draft, the Oakland Raiders select Tim Fugger, defensive end, Vanderbilt. Fugger is a guy that can come in and contribute right away in special teams. He is a pass rusher that can play at defensive end as well as be an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.
And with that, you have the 2012 Oakland Raiders draft class. The thing that stands out most about my board is the fact that it is dominated by defensive players. I really think the Raiders are going to take a lot of defensive guys this year. I was tempted to take a big bodied receiver or running back at times, but I would expect the Raiders to take primarily defensive front seven guys and offensive linemen with their limited picks.
The Oakland Raiders unfortunately do not have a first round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, and the San Francisco 49ers are picking third to last. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of intrigue as to where all these talented youngsters are going to wind up, which is why the draft order is so important for every single organization.
St. Louis is the earliest NFC West team to make a selection, picking No. 6 overall, followed by the Seahawks (No. 12) Cardinals (No. 13) and then 49ers (No. 30).
Below is the complete order of picks in the first round, with links to the corresponding SB Nation blog as well.
1 - Indianapolis Colts, STAMPEDE BLUE
2 - Washington Redskins, HOGS HAVEN
3 - Minnesota Vikings, THE DAILY NORSEMAN
4 - Cleveland Browns, DAWGS BY NATURE
5 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers, BUCS NATION
6 - St. Louis Rams, TURF SHOW TIMES
7 - Jacksonville Jaguars, BIG CAT COUNTRY
8 - Miami Dolphins, THE PHINSIDER
9 - Carolina Panters, CAT SCRATCH READER
10 - Buffalo Bills, BUFFALO RUMBLINGS
11 - Kansas City Chiefs, ARROWHEAD PRIDE
12 - Seattle Seahawks, FIELD GULLS
13 - Arizona Cardinals, REVENGE OF THE BIRDS
14 - Dallas Cowboys, BLOGGING THE BOYS
15 - Philadelphia Eagles, BLEEDING GREEN NATION
16 - New York Jets, GANG GREEN NATION
17 - Cincinnati Bengals, CINCY JUNGLE
18 - San Diego Chargers, BOLTS FROM THE BLUE
19 - Chicago Bears, WINDY CITY GRIDIRON
20 - Tennessee Titans, MUSIC CITY MIRACLE
21 - Cincinnati Bengals, CINCY JUNGLE
22 - Cleveland Browns, DAWGS BY NATURE
23 - Detroit Lions, PRIDE OF DETROIT
24 - Pittsburgh Steelers, BEHIND THE STEEL CURTAIN
25 - Denver Broncos, MILE HIGH REPORT
26 - Houston Texans, BATTLE RED BLOG
27 - New England Patriots, PATS PULPIT
28 - Green Bay Packers, ACME PACKING COMPANY
29 - Baltimore Ravens: BALTIMORE BEATDOWN
30 - San Francisco 49ers: NINERS NATION
31 - New England Patriots, PATS PULPIT
32 - New York Giants, BIG BLUE VIEW
Who will the 49ers and Raiders select this year?
The guys over at profootballtalk.com have posted their list of team needs for the Oakland Raiders heading into the NFL draft. Pro Football Talk has become known as a great go to source for breaking news regarding anything related to the NFL. They often have news up on their site before anyone else, including ESPN.
However, while they are a great source for breaking NFL news, I sometimes question their analysis. The list of team needs that Pro Football Talk believes the Raiders need to address heading into the NFL draft are as follows: offensive line, tight end, quarterback and linebacker. While they do not state as much, it would appear as though they listed the positions based on what is of the most need to the Raiders at this point. Needless to say, I am in disagreement with some of their analysis.
Offensive Line - It is most certainly true that the Raiders could use some upgrades along the offensive line, however, this is no where near the position of the biggest need for the Raiders. Left tackle Jared Veldheer and center Stefan Wisniewski are both young studs and are playing very well. Newly acquired guard Mike Brisiel is a big upgrade and a great fit for the zone blocking scheme the Raiders are going to implement. Cooper Carlisle is on the back side of his career, but he excels in the zone blocking scheme, so I expect him to play better next season than he has the past two years. Finally, the right tackle position is in need of an upgrade as Khalif Barnes is not good enough to be a starter. But, with that being said, there are still other team needs that are far more important, such as linebacker and defensive line.
Tight End - I understand why this is listed as a position of need for the Raiders considering the departure of Kevin Boss. However, it is by no means one of the bigger positions of need. The Raiders have a solid blocking tight end in Brandon Meyers, and really like what they have seen in David Ausberry. While PFT notes that Ausberry is a seventh round pick, they fail to mention that he is a converted college wide receiver who creates the kind of mismatches they claim are needed for the Raiders. They also fail to mention that he showed promise to be a very good tight end last pre season.
Quarterback - Once again, PFT is right in that the Raiders need to sign a quarterback. They are wrong, however, in implying that it would be a quarterback to replace Carson Palmer. Far too much is being made about Palmer's mobility. While Knapp does run an offense that includes things like bootlegs, it's not an offense that requires a superb athlete. While Palmer will never be a threat to scramble for huge yards, that is not what Knapp will be asking of him. The mobility that people keep referring to in Knapp's offense is rather limited. Palmer is a professional athlete and is perfectly capable of rolling out of the pocket to one side of the field or the other. No, he is not going to out run many defensive lineman, but bootlegs are designed to fool defensive lineman into going the other direction, so, if performed well by the offensive line, Palmer will not need to do much more than run ten yards to one side. Does PFT honestly want me to believe that Palmer is incapable of running ten yards?
Linebacker - Finally, they got it right, too bad its the last position they list as being one of need, and the one which they provide the least feedback on. The Raiders have their three starters, but are VERY thin beyond that point. Travis Goethal has shown that he has the ability to be an NFL linebacker if he can stay healthy. Unfortunately for him, and the Raiders, he cannot stay healthy. Besides Goethal, the Raiders do not have a back up linebacker worth noting. If they want to run plays with a 3-4 base defense, this is a position that MUST be upgraded before they an do it. Even if they just run a 4-3, they will need upgrades to the linebacking corps.
The Oakland Raiders only have five draft picks to work with this year. Here is a look at some of the guys the Raiders took a special interest in.
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