In order to properly analyze the prospects that could be in play for the Oakland Raiders, it's important to determine what compensatory selections the Raiders could receive for losing Nnamdi Asomugha, Zach Miller, Robert Gallery, Bruce Gradkowski and Thomas Howard.
It's a complicated proprietary formula and the picks aren't announced until the end of March. Until then, we are left guessing.
Nnamdi Asomugha: 3rd
Zach Miller: 3rd or 4th
Robert Gallery: 4th
Kevin Boss and Stephon Heyer cancel out the losses of Bruce Gradkowski and Thomas Howard, assuming Gradkowski did not sign a league-minimum contract. The Raiders could receive another pick in the seventh round depending on the number of compensatory selections awarded in earlier rounds.
The Raiders could end up with five selections from Rounds 3 through 6. That's plenty of selections for Reggie McKenzie to start reshaping the roster.
In recent years, the Raiders have found Jared Veldheer, Matt Shaughnessy, Jacoby Ford, Louis Murphy, Denarius Moore and Tyvon Branch in the middle rounds and a few others are still on the roster trying to prove they belong.
You may think recent draft history doesn't apply to the Raiders because of the change to McKenzie. While McKenzie will apply his own view to the Raiders draft, the Raiders still use the scouts hired by late owner Al Davis. McKenzie will decide after the draft to fire or keep those scouts, which means their work this offseason is an audition for their job.
The Raiders will be in position to draft two of the top 100 draft prospects, but they will not be able to trade those compensatory selections to move up or down the board to maximize value.
What the experts are saying about the mid-round prospects?
Jamell Fleming, CB, Oklahoma
Fleming grades out as the 96th overall prospect by Scouts, Inc. Assuming no players of higher value drop to the Raiders at the end of the third round, Fleming is a solid option.
According to Scouts, Inc., Fleming has above-average instincts/recognition and run-support abilities and average coverage and ball skills. Fleming doesn't crack the top five at his position on Mike Mayock or Mel Kiper's lists, but it's a deep cornerback draft.
The Raiders' defensive system will shift to more zone and run support, instincts and recognition seem like very important traits for a zone cornerback.
Mychal Kendricks, ILB, California
He's moving up draft boards after showing off his athleticism at the scouting combine. Kendricks is the 67th-ranked prospect by Scouts, Inc. and cracks the top five on both Mike Mayock and Mel Kiper's position lists.
Kendricks grades out average across the board with the exception of his excellent intangibles. He's a leader and competitor that, at very least, will contribute on special teams and likely will work his way into the starting lineup as well.
James-Michael Johnson, ILB, Nevada
Wes Bunting has Johnson ahead of Kendricks on his board. Mayock, Kiper and Todd McShay have yet to recognize Johnson's talent.
Is a good athlete who can run, close on the football and play with power in the run game. Needs to play a bit lower in coverage, but overall does everything at a pretty solid NFL level. Is a guy who can win a starting job at the next level.
Johnson was on the 4th and Long podcast with Bleacher Report's Senior NFL Draft writer Matt Miller and explained how he met with all 32 NFL teams at the combine and needs to work on his pad level and hand usage.
Johnson grew up a fan of the Raiders and his cousin Jerome Boyd played for the Raiders last season.
Markelle Martin, FS, Oklahoma State
Mike Mayock dropped Martin from his list of top five safeties after the combine. Martin did not participate in the combine drills due to an injury. He's got an injury history and that could hurt him on draft day and make him available for the Raiders in the middle rounds.
Kiper doesn't have Martin in his top five safeties list, but Bunting has Martin as his top-ranked free safety, choosing to have separate lists for free and strong safeties.
Martin's Scouts, Inc. grades have him above average in coverage, ball skills and instincts/recognition, while the only below-average category was his durability.
Martin is an interesting option if the Raiders opt to move Michael Huff to cornerback. Mayock overreacted to Martin not participating in the combine and there is a decent chance Martin will emerge late with a good pro day workout.
Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin
Wilson is undersized and his height is going to limit the types of teams that are interested in him. In the right scheme, though, Wilson could find a home. A scheme that uses a lot of movement like the one Greg Knapp will employ is the prefect fit for Wilson.
Matt Waldman posted an excellent breakdown of Wilson's abilities despite his height. The only question here is if the Raiders envision Terrelle Pryor as the quarterback of the future or something else.
Teams will be scared away from Wilson due to his lack of height and his opportunities as a baseball player, but if Wilson was a few inches taller, he might be drafted in the first round.
Should height be as big of a concern as scouts are making it out to be?
Height is one part of evaluating a quarterback that has been overcome in the past. With some time to develop behind Carson Palmer, Wilson could be a starter.
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