2012 NFL Draft: Forecasting the Raiders' Picks
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As the Raiders finally start their NFL Draft experience sometime later tonight (woohoo! Last pick on a Friday night! Party time!), I’m going to revisit the selections I made as the Raiders’ “General Manager” during Bleacher Report’s Community Mock Draft.
These selections were made based on who was still on the board after other team featured columnists made their picks, but in retrospect, I still like all of the selections I made. The only change I might make would be using a sixth-round pick on Matt Kalil’s mom. Seriously, have you seen this lady? Wowza.
Now, onto what you all came for: the picks. You all have some strong opinions when it comes to the draft, so I expect approximately zero readers to agree with all of my picks. But hey, what fun is having an opinion if you can’t argue about it? So here we go.
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Round 3: Dwight Bentley, CB, Louisiana-Lafayette
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First things first: despite the free agent signings, the Raiders need secondary help. Don’t think for a second that the guys they picked up were anything other than roster filler. Shawntae Spencer and Ron Bartell are both 30-year-olds signed to one-year deals—does that sound like they are supposed to be a big part of the future? They were added for roster depth, nothing more, and although Pat Lee is a bit younger (28), don’t expect a lot from him, either. The Raiders still need cornerback help, and they can get it with Bentley.
Bentley is a small cornerback, but possesses the kind of breakneck speed the late Al Davis coveted (4.43 40-yard dash). He was able to step up and hold his own at the Senior Bowl, despite coming from a small school (Louisiana-Lafayette). The Raider secondary was simply atrocious at the end of last season, and could use an infusion of talent. Bentley may not be a big hitter, but the Raiders will improve their run defense by adding to the front seven—what they really need from the secondary is coverage, an area where Bentley should be able to provide some help.
Round 4: Josh Kaddu, LB, Oregon
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Do the Raiders need help in the linebacking corps? Are the greatest colors in the world Silver and Black? The answer to both of these questions is a resounding YES.
With the departure of Kamerion Wimbley, the Raiders have only two starting linebackers who deserve to keep their jobs in 2012: Aaron Curry and Rolando McClain (who had a subpar season, but remains one of the most talented players on the defensive unit).
Kaddu was hellacious behind the line of scrimmage last season, racking up 9.5 tackles for a loss and 6.5 sacks. Despite his size (6’3” and 235 pounds), Kaddu is also a very gifted athlete. New Raider coach Dennis Allen showed what he could get out of a very gifted athlete in Von Miller, perhaps he can duplicate that success with Kaddu.
Round 5: Kyle Wilber, OLB/DE, Wake Forest
Photo via Syracuse.com (Courtesy of Wake Forest)
Wilber is an excellent value pick here, and his talent is undeniable. Considering how high the Seahawks reached for Bruce Irvin Thursday night (which was an incredibly stupid decision, by the way—he's a great player, but they could have easily traded down 20 spots and still drafted him). I'm a bit concerned that Wilber won't be available here. But if you believe the pre-draft rankings, Wilber should still be around, because scouts and GMs aren't that high on him; their mistake. Wilber is a monster; he’s got tremendous size at 6’4” and 249 lbs, and has played both end and linebacker in college.
Round 5: James Hanna, TE, Oklahoma
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The Raiders are in need of a tight end with the departure of Kevin Boss, and this draft is top heavy when it comes to that position. Once we get to the later rounds, you’re going to need to go with potential, and Hanna has that in spades.
Hanna's been rising on draft boards due to his impressive performance at the combine, where he showed an incredibly fast 40-time (4.49) considering his height (6’4”). Hanna also showed strength, benching 24 times at the combine. Almost in tribute to the late Al Davis, the Raiders go for raw talent and blazing speed by selecting Hanna, who would add a dangerous weapon to an already powerful offense if he pans out.
Also, don’t be scared off by his performance last year (393 receiving yards). The tight end just wasn’t much of a featured receiver in the Sooner offense. Be more excited about his explosive play-making abilityHanna averaged 15.2 yards per catch over the last two seasons, scoring on nine of his 43 receptions.
Round 6: Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State
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I don’t want to reignite the Terrelle Pryor war (even though he will never be a great quarterback in the NFL), but let’s all just agree on this: You can’t go into a season with Rhett Bomar and Pryor as your backups. The Raiders need quarterback depth, so with their final selection in the 2012 draft, the Raiders select the Blue Turf Bomber (Fernando Gallo copyright 2012), Kellen Moore.
Much like so-called “system quarterbacks” before him, Moore has been largely overlooked because he ran a pass-happy offense in a weak conference, but the undersized QB impressed scouts with his accuracy during Boise State’s pro day, and how can you overlook his 74 percent completion rate as a senior? The Raiders already have a physically gifted quarterback in Pryor, so taking Moore gives them the other side of the spectrum with a less-gifted, but accurate, quarterback prospect.