Raiders 2013 Mock Draft: Full 7-Round Predictions After Start of Free Agency
With the first week of free agency now in the books, we are starting to get a much better idea of what prospects the Oakland Raiders may look to target with their picks in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Having holes on both sides of the ball, GM Reggie McKenzie will need all the picks he can get to rebuild this team. Already without both 2nd and 5th round selections, the Raiders were at least awarded a compensatory pick in the 6th round at the league meetings on Monday.
While there is still quite a bit of time for free agency activity leading up to April’s draft, certain additions in both player and coaching personnel have contributed to the evolving idea of which prospects present a good fit for this team.
After already signing free agent LBs Kaluka Maiava, Nick Roach and Kevin Burnett, as well as DE Jason Hunter, all signs point toward the defense sticking with a base 4-3 look next season. This will have a significant impact on the draft strategy, as certain pass rush prospects will remain on the table while others won’t.
As far as the offensive side of the ball goes, the most glaring holes remain on the offensive line. Picks in this area will have to fit well into new OC Greg Olson’s gap/power blocking scheme, as the transition back to which is essential to the success of star RB Darren McFadden.
With all of these factors considered, including the newly awarded compensatory selection, here is a full seven round Oakland Raiders mock draft updated one week into the free agency period.
1st Round: DT Sharrif Floyd (Florida)
Due to the lack of draft picks and significant number of holes to fill, the best case scenario would be for the Raiders to trade down in the first round, and ideally even more than once for that matter.
Moving back, as it always does, will depend on another team having enough interest to move up. At this point, the chances of that happening remain anyone’s guess, so we will operate under the assumption that the Raiders stay put at No. 3 overall.
In such a situation, the Raiders go with Florida DT Sharrif Floyd.
Floyd has emerged as this draft’s top interior pass-rusher, and if this past NFL season is any indication, those kinds of players have the ability to take over games single-handedly.
Floyd’s best fit is as a 3-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3 front, and with both Richard Seymour and Desmond Bryant no longer on the team, the Raiders could use someone for that spot.
An outside pass rusher will be an option here as well, and as much as many won’t like to admit, quarterback is too. Either way, the Raiders should be building from the trenches out, and Sharrif Floyd is a good fit that can be an impact player right away.
3rd Round: OT Jordan Mills (Louisiana Tech)
For several seasons now while Jared Veldheer has held down the LT position, the other side has been a different story. Khalif Barnes has been serviceable, but with his age and last season’s injury issues, he likely won’t be counted on as the starter moving forward.
Now is the time for the Raiders to upgrade the position, and Louisiana Tech OT Jordan Mills fits their new power blocking scheme as well as any player in this draft.
Mills has the size and strength to be a dominant run blocker at the next level, and his pass blocking was certainly tested to the fullest in Louisiana Tech’s vertical offense.
With still well over a month to go until the draft, the Raiders could very well look to upgrade here courtesy of the free agent market instead. If they don’t, however, targeting Jordan Mills in the third round could give them three young offensive linemen to build around for the future.
4th Round: DE Quanterus Smith (Western Kentucky)
The Raiders’ edge pass rush was virtually invisible in 2012. For their fairly weak secondary to get some relief in coverage, that will need to change in 2013.
The only reason that Western Kentucky DE Quanterus Smith may get this far is due to his season ending ACL injury. Health issues aside, he could very well be the top pure pass-rusher in the entire draft. Considering this year’s crop of defensive end and outside linebacker talent, that is quite impressive.
Of course the Raiders would want to get instant impact from all of their draft picks, but you can’t always expect that. If a pass-rusher with first-round talent like Smith is on the board when they pick in the fourth round, the fit makes too much sense.
Based on the injury prognosis thus far, Smith could very well end up healthy in time for the start of the upcoming season anyway, and make his impact felt immediately. At the same time, even if he were not able to do so, the rare talent that he brings to the table would be well worth the required patience.
6th Round: CB Micah Hyde (Iowa)
Many will be against the Raiders waiting this late to take a cornerback, but barring a trade down, they just don’t have enough picks to address all of their need positions early on.
Here in the sixth round, Iowa’s Micah Hyde provides good value. He has the athleticism, size and length to compete with bigger receivers at the next level, and any questions about his speed would subside in a majority zone coverage defense like the one the Raiders now employ.
Even if he wouldn’t start right away while transitioning to the NFL game, his tackling ability could certainly be put to use on special teams in the meantime.
6th Round (Compensatory): CB Terrence Brown (Stanford)
As a result of the Raiders not taking a cornerback until the later rounds, despite it being quite a pressing need, there is nothing stopping them from doing the same with the very next pick. Here, they go with Stanford CB Terrence Brown.
Brown was the top cover man on the stout Cardinal defense this past season. At 6’1”, 178 pounds, he has solid height for an NFL cornerback, but could afford to add to his frame.
Much like Micah Hyde, selecting Brown here would be good value even if only as a developmental corner that can play special teams in the meantime. His success at Stanford will surely get the Raiders’ attention, as DC Jason Tarver will know him well from his time there.
7th Round: WR Marcus Davis (Virginia Tech)
Marcus Davis is a wideout that has all the physical tools to be successful in the NFL. He possesses the size, speed and athletic ability to beat defensive backs on a consistent basis, but for him, it will be a matter of putting it all together.
Yes, Davis was the one who made it to YouTube for his complete lack of effort blocking on a broken running play this past season, but the NFL could be a different story for him. Much of his potentially successful transition could come down to coaching.
While the Raiders do already have quite a few young, talented players at the wide receiver position, taking a chance on a player with Davis’ physical tools in the seventh round is well worth the addition.
7th Round: RB Rex Burkhead (Nebraska)
With Mike Goodson having signed with the New York Jets, and Taiwan Jones potentially making the move to cornerback, the Raiders will need to find a running back to back up Darren McFadden.
With Nebraska’s Rex Burkhead, the Raiders get great seventh-round value in a hard-nosed, tough running back. His speed will remain a question with teams heading into the draft, but his size and strength could make him a great fit for a short yardage role at least to start his career.
Free agency is always an option to find a running back to help carry the load, but the shelf life of players at this position is quite short. The Raiders would be much better suited addressing the need in the draft, and doing so by selecting Nebraska’s best offensive player in Burkhead.