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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Could The Oakland Raiders Afford To Draft A Quarterback Early?

The Oakland Raiders have significant needs at many positions: offensive tackle, wide receiver, and potentially quarterback, cornerback and tight end. Filling all of these needs will be a tall order when the team doesn't possess a first round pick. The first time they get a go-round is around the middle of the second round, where most believe they will be taking one of the high-level cornerbacks who should still be available at that point, as Nnamdi Asomugha might not be coming back due to his status as a free agent.

They currently have Jason Campbell under contract, and it's possible that he's the guy going forward. Bruce Gradkowski stands a chance to be re-signed as well at this point, but what if the Raiders have a guy they like enough there in the second round? What if somebody falls? What if they just don't think Jason Campbell is the answer?

Then the second round would be the place, in response to the last question. 2011 isn't top-heavy in quarterback talent, but there are a lot of high-ceiling, developmental guys strewn about the draft's middle rounds. The folks over at Silver And Black Pride took a look at Nevada product Colin Kaepernick.

Yes, I realize that our greatest weaknesses now are at ROT, OLB and possibly CB - depending on whether Nnam signs. But, a QB like Kaepernick, talented in every phase of the position: he's smart, brave, a leader, a cannon for an arm and fleet of foot (he loves to run) may not be someone we should let slip. The 49rs are trying him out today - this is who Harbaugh considers the substitute for Luck.

There's a lot of praise from this particular writer, but the poll results are adamant in their indecisiveness. 40% of voters (346 votes) were right there with the guy - saying yes, Kaepernick is a guy that the Raiders should consider in the second, while 45% of voters (382 votes) are of the opinion that other needs are more important. The rest of the voters don't really know, but they trust the front office to make the right decision.

As to whether or not Kaepernick is that guy, it's hard to tell. But there should be a plethora of other options available, including players once considered to be top picks like Ryan Mallett, Jake Locker and Andy Dalton. Even somebody like Christian Ponder could fall at this point. What then? Can the Raiders then afford to spend a second round pick on a quarterback?

In my opinion, no they can't. Jason Campbell wasn't terrible in 2010, whereas certain positions on the Raiders' offensive line could definitely be referred to as 'terrible' at this point. Sporting only a 59% accuracy rating in 2010 was definitely bad, but it also is definitely not the norm for his average. He was sacked a lot, constantly under pressure, and his number one receiving target was a tight end who might not be there in 2011. The Raiders would be much better off shoring up the team around Campbell, and if he doesn't pan out in 2011, an early pick next year will be worthwhile.