5 Reach Picks Oakland Raiders Absolutely Must Avoid in the 2013 NFL Draft
After making many of the necessary cuts and changes that were held over from previous years, it is time for them to make their mark on this franchise, and do so building it the right way.
While the idea of “reaching” for a player is sometimes overblown, the Raiders’ current situation calls for significant emphasis on avoiding the wrong candidates.
With plenty of needs to fill, depth to add and questions to address, this team cannot afford to get anything but the best possible value where they most need it.
Here are five reach picks the Oakland Raiders absolutely must avoid in the 2013 NFL Draft.
CB Dee Milliner (Alabama)
Dee Milliner is the top cornerback in this draft, and could certainly bring the Raiders instant help at a position that just may be their most glaring need from a talent and depth perspective.
At the same time, the rest of the roster at this point should prohibit them from taking a corner this high.
When looking at the Raiders’ pass rush in 2012, or lack thereof, we can see how difficult of a position the defensive backfield was put in week after week. Drafting a cornerback and failing to add an impact player on the defensive line would do little to change this problem, and that corner likely would not play up to the standards that would be expected of him.
While a given team can have a dominant secondary, a receiver will undoubtedly come open at some point if the opposing quarterback is not disrupted in the pocket.
As good as Milliner may be, drafting him at third overall and expecting him to have an immediate impact on this defense without much help up front would be quite unrealistic.
DE Barkevious Mingo (LSU)
While it is a given that the Raiders need to add a pass-rusher, who it is that sits atop this talented pass-rushing draft class is still up for debate.
Barkevious Mingo could very well prove to be that guy down the road, but despite his athleticism, he isn’t the most polished of pass-rushing prospects just yet.
What’s more, Mingo’s small size at 6’4” 241 pounds could present some concerns as far as being an every-down defensive end and contributing against the run. There may be room to add the necessary size and strength moving forward, but would that impact the speed that sets him apart?
Overall, Barkevious Mingo could easily turn into a dominant pass-rusher in the NFL, but currently projected to come off the board somewhere in the top 10-15 selections, his question marks make him a player that the Raiders should not reach for at third overall.
OLB Jarvis Jones (Georgia)
Jarvis Jones, like Barkevious Mingo, is among the candidates for the top pass-rusher in the 2013 NFL Draft.
On the Raiders’ defensive front, Jones would project as an outside linebacker on early downs and a pass-rusher in nickel situations. Given their recent free-agent signings to fill in the starting linebacker spots, as well as a need for an every-down defensive end, Jarvis Jones isn’t a fit.
At this point in the pre-draft process, we can liken Jones’ projected use in a 4-3 system to that of Bruce Irvin in Seattle. Jones would make a lot of sense if the Raiders were to employ a 3-4 scheme, but that doesn’t seem to be the case as of right now.
With the third overall pick in the draft, the Raiders need to avoid reaching for Jarvis Jones, as their system and current personnel would limit him to a situational pass-rusher role.
Should the Raiders decide against taking a QB like Geno Smith with the third overall selection, their next opportunity to do so would not come until the third round.
While the future of their QB position is certainly something that the Raiders need to address moving forward, the first round is the only time that makes sense to do so, if at all, in this draft.
In Terrelle Pryor, the Raiders already have what we can consider to be a mid-round QB selection of theirs on the roster. Adding another in the middle rounds this year, just for the sake of competition, would take away from some possible key additions at other positions on the field.
In comparison, with the flashes of ability that Pryor has shown, the Raiders would be better suited to have him develop behind Carson Palmer for another season. Adding a quarterback here would just crowd the position, and possibly have the team miss out on an impact player elsewhere.
After releasing Darrius Heyward-Bey, the Raiders will likely look to add a receiver or two this offseason. In the draft, that certainly will not come in the first round, and should not come in the middle rounds either.
Just like the idea of taking a quarterback here, there are far too many other positions in which the Raiders could look to and possibly find impact players.
Like any properly structured team in the new-age NFL, the successful building of a roster starts with the trenches and goes out from there. Even their depth-needy positions in the secondary should come well before that of a pass-catcher.
Sacrificing the chance to add depth and competition at these positions in favor of adding a wide receiver, despite the need, is not something we should expect this new Raiders regime to do.