The Raiders have started the Free Agency period by locking up Nnamdi Asomugha and Tommy Kelly and signing the top safety available in Gibril Wilson.
Not a bad start, but after missing on the chance to even speak with Donte Stallworth or Bernard Berrian where do the Raiders go from here? Is Receiver the biggest need?
After taking a close look at the Raiders roster and assuming the future departure of players like Lamont Jordan, Dominic Rhodes these are the top three spots the Raiders will need to address either through the draft, free agency or through a trade:
1. Offensive Tackle
With the release of Barry Sims, the Raiders' tackles are as follows: Mario Henderson, Cornell Green, Paul McQuistan, and Seth Wand.
Now Paul McQuistan can play Right Tackle or Guard and is a pretty versatile good young lineman but by no means is he a stud yet.
Mario Henderson abilities to play at this level are unknown due to the fact he has never seen the field. It doesn't look good though when he said himself that he wasn't ready to play yet.
Cornell Green and Seth Wand provide weak depth and even though Green started some games last year he should be replaced by McQuistan from here on out.
This area is a major concern and drafting Jake Long from Michigan should be considered. You have to protect JaMarcus and allow him time to throw the ball.
2. Wide Receiver
The Raiders' best receiver is Ronald Curry. Now, I am a fan of Curry's, and I know he can make plays, but I think he should be played in the slot on three receiver sets. I don't see him developing at this point to a good number-one or two receiver in this league.
Johnnie Lee Higgins is fast and can possibly stretch the field for the Raiders. Other than those two players, the Raiders don't have anyone worth mentioning.
Last year Kiffin said players would not be on scholarship anymore. How about Chris McFoy and William Buchanon from USC? They are on the roster but have not made any impact.
This is a huge need for the Raiders, just behind tackle. Bryant Johnson from the Cardinals should be looked at—and at this point, a second-round pick of receiver is a real possibility.
The Raiders should try to both sign a free agent like Johnson or DJ Hackett, and draft a receiver like James Hardy of Indiana in round two. Seeking a trade to obtain a WR would be a good idea also. Give Arizona a call and ask about Larry Fitzgerald, or see if Cincinnati is ready to let Chad Johnson go yet.
Personally, I would give the first-round pick to Arizona for Fitzgerald. I think if Fitz was in this draft, he would be gone by that pick, so I could justify that trade.
3. Defensive End
Derrick Burgess is great, and Jay Richardson showed some promise. But they are the only DEs on the roster.
That's not good. The Raiders should reach out to Antwan Odom, the free agent DE from Tennessee, and give him a look.
Or they could find a good DE in this Draft. Vernon Gholston may be available at pick four. The Raiders could select him and look for an offensive tackle and receiver in rounds two, four, six, or seven.
They could also explore the possibility of trading down to obtain extra picks if a team would be willing to move up. There are several DEs predicted to be drafted later in the first round.
If the Raiders can solidify these three most glaring needs, you may see a playoff team in the near future.
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