The Oakland Raiders had a rough season in 2011. After a 4-2 start, Jason Campbell suffered a season-ending injury, forcing the desperate Raiders to give up their first-round pick in the 2012 NFL draft to the Bengals in exchange for veteran quarterback Carson Palmer. Only a week later, Oakland lost dynamic running back Darren McFadden to an injury as well. Without two of their best and most valuable offensive players, the Raiders struggled in the second half of the season.
Following a season plagued by inconsistency, injuries and the passing of owner Al Davis, the Raiders are looking to turn the program around in 2012. Reggie McKenzie, Oakland’s general manager, fired head coach Hue Jackson, replacing him with former Denver defensive coordinator Dennis Allen this off-season. McKenzie hopes Allen will be able to improve on Oakland’s 8-8 record last season.
These improvements must start with the 2012 NFL draft.
Unfortunately for the Allen, Oakland does not even have a pick until the end of the third round. With limited early picks, it is essential that the Raiders find great value in each selection.
Though they could use some fresh talent and depth at nearly every position, there are five points of need that stand out to me: a pass-rushing outside linebacker, a stout run-stopping nose tackle, depth at cornerback, a sturdy offensive tackle, and a solid backup quarterback.
Let’s take a look at five players the Raiders should target in the middle rounds in the 2012 NFL draft.