The NFL Lockout could not have come at a worse time for the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders have a new offensive line coach and four key offensive linemen who will be free agents once the lockout ends. This means that a team who already had massive issues with its offensive line has not been able to do much about improving that unit this off season. However, the one way that the Raiders were able to improve upon their line was through the 2011 NFL Draft.
The Raiders drafted two lineman in this year’s draft, and though the nephew of former Raider great and current Raider assistant coach, Steve Wisniewski, has been getting all of the attention, it is third round pick Joseph Barksdale who made news this morning. Despite not having been able to even meet with his coaches or go over the playbook, Barksdale said that he is confident he will be a starter right away with the Raiders next season. If Barksdale can impress the Raiders coaching staff enough to earn a starting role as a rookie, it could make a big difference for a team that desperately needs help on its offensive line.