The Oakland Raiders first pick of the 2011 NFL Draft was second round pick Stefen Wisniewski, a center out of Penn State. It was a fitting pick given that Wisniewski’s uncle Steve Wisniewski is assistant offensive line coach for the Raiders. As the Raiders have developed as a team, offensive line play has been a key to that. The Raiders are expecting some turnover and will be looking to get Wisniewski into the lineup sooner rather than later.
Although the Raiders draft did not receive rave reviews, most everybody felt Wisniewski was a very solid pick for them. While it might have qualified as a “safe” pick, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good pick. James Brady’s belief that Wisniewski was the Raiders best pick has been supported by media pundits since then. Over at National Football Post, their draft guru Wes Bunting has projected Wisniewski into his all-rookie team, and also loves the pick in general:
He wasn’t the sexiest of picks. However, Wisniewski understands angles, possesses quick hands and plays with leverage in both the run and pass game. Looks like a good starting center from day one.
Some talent evaluators have been critical of the Raiders saying they “reached” on Wisniewski in the second. However, I don’t buy it. He’s as technically sound as any offensive lineman I have evaluated since 2002, he’s versatile and in my mind is a lock to mature into an 8-10 year starting lineman in the NFL. He’s smart, tough, works his hands well and understands angles. Seems like a great second-round value to me.
It is entirely possible Wisniewski busts out of the league, but the common belief seems to be that he’ll be in the NFL for the foreseeable future as a very solid offensive lineman. While Ryan Mallett or Da’Quan Bowers might have been the “sexier” pick at the time, it’s entirely possible Wisniewski is around the NFL long after those two.