Darren McFadden was the Fourth Overall Pick in 2008 for the Raiders
Saying the Raiders have had plenty of regrettable picks over the past 10 years is an understatement. Who can forget the 2007 draft when the Raiders selected arguably the biggest bust of all time in quarterback JaMarcus Russell.
With 2007 in their rear view, the Raiders have managed to discover a great amount of talent in the draft in recent years and they will look to do so again in the 2013 draft.
The Raiders have been successful in mid-to-late rounds, as with Denarius Moore in the fifth round in 2011. Safety Tyvon Branch and tight end Brandon Myers were selected in the fourth and sixth rounds respectively.
It is time for the Raiders to take that mid-to-late-round success and incorporate it into the early rounds, especially the first.
Let's take a look on some early projections for the Raiders in the upcoming NFL draft.
With the way things are shaping up in the 2012 season, it is becoming more likely that the Raiders will have a top 10 pick in the 2013 draft. The Raiders have plenty of needs on the offensive and defensive side of the football, but they should focus on defense in the first round.
Coach Dennis Allen's Raiders are among the league's worst in sacks, and the pass rush has been non-existent this season. The Raiders are hurting from the loss of Kamerion Wimbley and need to address this in the upcoming draft.
I believe the answer for the Raiders in the first round is a defensive end such as Texas A&M's Damontre Moore. With Matt Shaughnessy and the rest of the Raiders' line failing to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks, Moore would solve that problem almost instantly.
Moore has been a nightmare for quarterbacks this season, especially the first game of the year, when he recorded three sacks against Florida.
The Raiders can also go with LSU's Barkevious Mingo or Florida State's Bjoern Werner.
After the first round, the Raiders will not pick again until the third round due to their acquisition of quarterback Carson Palmer last season. Quarterback may have been an option here, but since they invested so much in Palmer it may not be time to give up on him yet.
Also, despite the disappointing 3-7 record, Palmer is having his best season in recent years with the Silver and Black.
The Raiders have struggled in many areas this season, but especially their pass defense. The secondary has been awful and GM Reggie McKenzie will need to strengthen it here in the third round.
Rutgers corner Logan Ryan should be available here and would be a valuable pick to help improve that secondary.
Ryan has good size and speed at corner and would be a great addition for the Raider Nation.
Oakland has struggled with the defensive back position since the departure of Nnamdi Asomugha.
Offensive line is also an area the Raiders must improve on and they can find some help here in the fourth round.
After drafting Jared Veldheer and Stefan Wisniewski in 2010 and 2011 respectively, there are some nice pieces on that Raider line and Kent State product Brian Winters would be a solid addition to this developing Raider line.
In his sophomore season of 2010, Winters started every game for Kent State, showcasing his durability, which is something the Raiders need after suffering so many injuries this season.
At 6'6", Winters is a big guy and can help improve a Raiders running game that has been a disappointment this season.
Although the Raiders do not have as many picks as McKenzie would like, this is an opportunity for the Raiders to improve their roster greatly.
In the sixth and seventh rounds of the draft, the Raiders can address their needs such as the secondary, offensive and defensive line. It also may be wise to select a running back with Darren McFadden having a down year and again missing time with injuries.
I would like to see the Raiders select a quarterback somewhere in this draft, but Carson Palmer deserves another chance because he is having a solid season. There is always hope that Terrelle Pryor may develop and one day be the starter in Oakland.