Oakland Raiders Draft: The Best Fit for Raiders at Every Position
At this point, especially after having added QB Matt Flynn via trade, it would make the most sense for the Raiders to address the defensive side of the ball in the first round.
As such, the majority of the following prospects are those who are projected to come off the board anywhere from the mid-late rounds, while some front seven defensive players represent candidates for the Raiders’ first-round selection.
Of course, any first-round trade down would be much welcomed and would allow for the possibility of adding that many more of these players.
Here are the best draft fits for the Oakland Raiders at every position on the field.
Quarterback: Tyler Bray (Tennessee)
After the acquisition of Matt Flynn via trade, it now seems quite unlikely that the Raiders will go with a quarterback in the first round.
Having said that, they won’t necessarily be deterred from taking one later on, and Tennessee’s Tyler Bray would be an ideal mid-round target.
Bray possesses all of the tools to be a successful NFL quarterback but could use some time to develop. Learning an offense for a few years behind a veteran quarterback like Flynn could be a good situation for his future progress.
Selecting a mid-round quarterback that won’t play right away will likely depend on whether or not the Raiders can add a few selections by trading down in the first round. Should they be able to do so, expect Tyler Bray to be a good fit somewhere around the third round.
Running Back: Rex Burkhead (Nebraska)
When healthy, Darren McFadden is still among the NFL’s best running backs. As such, it is quite unlikely that the Raiders look to add depth to the position any time before the late rounds.
In that area of the draft, a runner that makes the most sense would be Nebraska’s Rex Burkhead.
Burkhead is a solidly built power runner that can contribute in the passing game as well. His poor 40-time will have many doubting his ability to succeed at the next level, but his college production should speak for itself.
Rex Burkhead could be one of the late-round steals of this draft, and the Raiders would be in great shape at the running back position with him backing up Darren McFadden.
Wide Receiver: Marcus Davis (Virginia Tech)
As is the case for running back, especially considering their lack of draft picks, the Raiders should not be looking to address the wide receiver position until the later rounds.
Here, the Raiders’ best value could come taking a chance on a big, physical receiver like that of Virginia Tech’s Marcus Davis.
Davis would give the Raiders the big red zone target that they have long been looking for and has the ability to separate downfield as well.
Some inexperience and consistency question marks will likely have him fall to the later rounds, but that is where teams will be lined up to take a chance on the abundance of natural talent that he has.
Tight End: Joseph Fauria (UCLA)
With Brandon Myers now departed via free agency, the Raiders have a glaring hole to fill at the tight end position should they deem David Ausberry not yet ready.
UCLA’s Joseph Fauria could be another mid-late-round target to fill this need, giving the Raiders the pass catching threat they need down the seam.
Standing 6’7”, Fauria has the potential to become quite the red-zone target at the next level, and putting up 12 touchdowns in 2012 speaks very much in favor of that ability. While he may not have the breakaway speed that some of the more dominant tight ends around the league now seem to have, his quickness in small spaces allows him to separate well.
Not having much college experience overall, there may be a transition period of sorts, but Fauria’s physical ability makes him well worth a late-round pick should he even get that far.
Offensive Line: Jordan Mills (Louisiana Tech)
Working under the assumption that the Raiders choose to address the defensive side of the ball in the first round, they would likely look to select an offensive lineman somewhere in the draft’s middle rounds, and even as early as the third.
Should that prove to be the case, there is likely no better fit for Greg Olson’s new power-blocking running scheme than Louisiana Tech’s Jordan Mills.
The 6’5”, 314-pound Mills has been lauded for his size and power in the running game, and the potential for him to play either tackle or guard could make him a good fit in Oakland.
It is entirely possible that Jordan Mills has established himself as at least a second-round prospect. However, should he still be on the board whenever it is the Raiders pick again after the first round, he would be the ideal offensive line prospect for them to add.
Defensive End: Tank Carradine (Florida State)
The most pressing need on the entire Raiders roster is to add players that can rush the passer.
While his current draft stock would have him as a more likely candidate were the Raiders to trade down in the first round, Tank Carradine could present the best defensive end fit for the Raiders overall.
Injury questions aside, Carradine is the premiere pass-rushing talent in the entire draft. Of course the injury concerns will factor into any rankings of which, but Carradine will have a chance to show NFL evaluators that he is well on his way to recovery in his upcoming April 20 workout.
Tank Carradine could be an every-down defensive end for the Raiders, and trading down from third overall to select him would allow them to receive some much needed additional mid-round picks in return as well.
Defensive Tackle: Star Lotulelei (Utah)
Another option for the Raiders in the first round is to address the relatively thin defensive tackle position.
Should they choose to go that route, as many draft experts foresee, Star Lotulelei will be the best option on the board.
Lotulelei is a dominant anchor against the run, and the kind of interior presence that the Raiders could really build the future of their front seven around.
Heading into the draft, question marks surround his potential to be an effective pass-rusher in the NFL. Such concerns may very well be warranted, but his combination of strength and quickness makes it entirely possible for him to make significant improvement in that area with pro coaching.
With his medical concerns now cleared, Star Lotulelei is very likely to be the first defensive tackle off the board and is a very possible target for the Raiders in the first round.
Linebacker: Dion Jordan (Oregon)
After a busy free-agency period, linebacker may now be one area of this Raiders football team that they are relatively comfortable with.
Having said that, Oregon’s Dion Jordan, should he even get to them at third overall, is very likely to be the best player available on the board.
Despite the position now being relatively deep, Jordan’s versatility and overall ability as a football player would make his selection difficult to argue with. While his base position would be as a linebacker, he would still bring value as a nickel pass-rusher as well.
In Dion Jordan, the Raiders would be getting one of the draft’s best overall players, and one that embodies the defensive versatility that head coach Dennis Allen and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver will value moving forward.
Cornerback: Sanders Commings (Georgia)
With both Tracy Porter and Mike Jenkins signing one-year deals as the assumed starters at cornerback, there is a good chance that the Raiders will wait until the draft’s middle rounds to address the position.
Likely to come off the board around that area is one of this draft’s most underrated defensive backs in Georgia’s Sanders Commings.
A big-bodied corner (6’0”, 214 pounds), Commings has the size and strength to compete with the most physical of receivers around the NFL. Any questions about his speed were answered when he put up a 40-time of 4.41 seconds at the scouting combine.
Possibly the best part to Commings’ game is his ability to make plays on the football. In a Raiders defensive scheme that will utilize zone coverage more and more, that becomes imperative.
Should he be available when it comes time for the Raiders to make one of their several mid-round selections, Sanders Commings could be a great value pick at a position of significant need.
Safety: Josh Evans (Florida)
When Michael Huff was released earlier this offseason, the safety position became yet another need for the Raiders.
In this draft, they should certainly look to add a playmaker that can man that deep center field position, and one who can be had in the middle rounds is Florida’s Josh Evans.
Evans has the speed, instincts and ball skills to be extremely effective in coverage but also brings a physicality to run support as well. While he may be somewhat overshadowed by fellow Gator safety Matt Elam heading into the draft, Evans’ contributions to that defense should not go overlooked.
In Josh Evans, the Raiders would be getting very good mid-round value and a possible day-one starter at a position in which they very much need to add talent.