For the first time in what now seems like quite a long time, the Raiders have a first-round pick, and will select third overall.
While teams always want to take the best player available, avoiding reaching to fill a need, the Raiders would ideally come out of the draft having helped what are some weaknesses on the roster.
Here is the Oakland Raiders wish list for the 2013 NFL draft.
Louisiana Tech WR Quinton Patton.
The wide receiver position hasn’t gotten very much attention as an area of need for the Raiders heading into the offseason. Based on this past season, it probably should.
The Raiders certainly have some receiver talent that is capable of making big plays if put in the right offense. There is no questioning that.
However, over the past few seasons, the young group has struggled with consistency and staying on the field. Adding pieces to the puzzle and creating competition couldn’t hurt matters.
Where the Raiders will be selecting in the first, and especially considering their other significant needs, it is highly unlikely they would select a receiver even with a trade down.
Even so, the receivers expected to come off the board in the middle rounds still include quite a few interesting names. Players to keep an eye on there would be Tennessee’s Justin Hunter, West Virginia’s Stedman Bailey, Tennessee Tech’s Da’Rick Rogers and Louisiana Tech’s Quinton Patton.
A possible late-round pick expected to play receiver in the NFL that many teams will be interested in is Michigan’s Denard Robinson. While the transition from quarterback to receiver could take time, his athletic ability can’t be overlooked.
Texas A&M T Luke Joeckel.
The Raiders have two young players on the offensive line, LT Jared Veldheer and C Stefen Wisniewski, whom they will surely try to build around for years to come. Outside of those two, each position up front is a candidate for change.
Both G Cooper Carlisle and T Khalif Barnes are getting up there in age. G Mike Brisiel may not be a fit for the power scheme that new OC Greg Olson is likely to install, but only being one year into his four year deal could mean he’ll be back.
In the first round, if the best player available is Texas A&M T Luke Joeckel, he could very well be the pick. Bookend tackles of Joeckel and Veldheer would be a great building block for the future of this offense.
If not, mid-round options include USC C/G Khaled Holmes, UNC T Brennan Williams, SJSU T David Quessenberry, and a name at guard all Raiders fans will recognize, Kyle Long. Long’s stock may continue to rise to the point where he could be off the board by the time the Raiders pick in the third round, but he would be an interesting pick if available.
FSU DT Everett Dawkins.
With Richard Seymour’s contract voiding, and Tommy Kelly no sure thing to be back in Silver and Black, the Raiders’ interior defensive line will be addressed regardless of scheme.
Utah DT Star Lotulelei is clearly the biggest name at the position, and could very well be the best player available when the Raiders select third overall.
Should the Raiders stay in a 4-3 alignment up front, he could certainly fit. However, if their plan is to move to a 3-4, Lotulelei projects as more of a 5-technique end rather than the NT the Raiders would need.
In later rounds, FSU’s Everett Dawkins, Missouri Southern State’s Brandon Williams, USF’s Cory Grissom, and Mississippi State’s Josh Boyd round out what proves to be a deep position. Should the Raiders look elsewhere with their first pick, these players should be in play later on.
San Diego State CB Leon McFadden.
Injuries derailed the Raiders’ stopgap solutions at cornerbacks in 2012. Opposing offenses moved the ball through the air at will for most of the season, making the need at CB that much more obvious.
The Raiders are unlikely to select a cornerback where they currently are in the first round, but should they trade down, a name like Alabama’s Dee Milliner would certainly have to be under consideration.
With this position most likely being addressed in the mid-late rounds, a few players to keep an eye on include NC State’s David Amerson, Georgia’s Sanders Commings, USC’s Nickell Robey, San Diego State’s Leon McFadden, and Boise State’s Jamar Taylor.
One or even two of these players would certainly add some much-needed depth and potential to a Raiders CB group that is currently among the weakest in the NFL.
Texas A&M DE/LB Damontre Moore.
The No. 1 need for the Raiders to fill in this draft is undoubtedly finding a pass-rusher. In fact, they could use more than one. Lucky for them, this draft is thought to be extremely deep with talent in that very category.
Whether the Raiders target a pass-rushing linebacker or defensive end will depend on the scheme that Dennis Allen and DC Jason Tarver choose to use moving forward. However, there are plenty of players that would fit well in either system.
In the first round, and with the Raiders selecting third overall, names to keep an eye on are FSU DE Bjoern Werner, Texas A&M DE/LB Damontre Moore, Georgia LB Jarvis Jones, LSU DE Barkevious Mingo, and BYU DE Ezekiel Ansah.
Should the Raiders go in a different direction with their first pick, there are still many pass-rushers to be had later on. Players likely to come off the board in the middle rounds like Texas A&M LB Sean Porter, FSU DE Brandon Jenkins, and Western Kentucky DE Quanterus Smith are just a few of many intriguing pass-rushers that should not be overlooked.