2012 NFL Draft: Oakland Raiders Needs Heading Into Day Two

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.

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