As the Raiders approach the upcoming draft, the Raiders still have a major weakness: Stopping the Run!
There is Tommy Kelly who plays a consistent 3-technique, just not that of a player of his pay grade. Then there are role players like Gerard Warren, or the overpaid and underachieving Terdell Sands, who leave much to be desired.
At this time they have gone about free agency without the big name players typical of an Al Davis signing period, which I find to be an intelligent play by Davis. But as the Raiders get closer to the draft, how do they address this need for run stopping bodies in the middle?
There are free agent DT's like the talented but large character risk Tank Johnson; a wide-bodied under achiever such as Jimmy Kennedy; or a couple veteran ex-Raider lineman like Rod Coleman or La'Roi Glover—both more passing down lineman, then run stoppers. Then again you can go in the draft with the 7th pick and go with B.J. Raji.
Regarding the draft, there is still the 2nd round with the likes of Ziggy Hood, Sen'Derick Marks, or Ron Brace. You can hope a 2nd round talent falls into the 3rd round; maybe a Fili Moala or one of the others mentioned.
I believe the DT position should be addressed more then once in the later rounds. I believe there are a few players with talent in stopping the run to be found. I am thinking someone like Dorell Scott (Clemson) or Terrance Taylor (Michigan). Both lineman are over 310 pounds and can be the type of wide bodied situational run stopper that Terdell Sands is paid to be.
These late round picks may not be proven and they didn't have the type of senior season many scouts expected them to have. Then again, how is taking a chance on a rookie lineman any more of a risk then taking the chance Sands will be committed to playing football, instead of stealing checks as he has the past few seasons.
I still have offensive lineman Eugene Monroe and Jason Smith ahead of Raji in my top 10 for the Raiders with the 7th pick in the draft. Now with the talk of free agent offensive tackle Khalif Barnes possibly joining the Raiders, where do the Raiders go in the draft if he signed?
Is it defensive tackle B.J. Raji? And if not, when do the Raiders go DT in the draft? I believe it must be somewhere in the first 3 rounds, but at the right price do not rule out a free agent like Tank Johnson.
Adding Raji and Tank Johnson, or a later round DT, would give the Raiders the ability to harpoon that 400 pounds of dead weight which is Sands.