This year, in comparison to all too many of the Raiders’ drafts over the past decade, may prove to be very different.
In employing a new and extremely refreshing draft strategy of “best player available,” GM Reggie McKenzie and his staff were able to add many players in spots that gave them great value, and addressed many positions of need in the process.
As with any offseason personnel decisions, initial reactions to which are certainly subject to opinion, but draft report card grades have progressively become one of the biggest areas for debate throughout the NFL calendar.
Here are some of the most noteworthy Oakland Raiders 2013 NFL draft report card grades from around the web.
In his review of the 2013 NFL draft, Chris Burke gives the Raiders a fairly decent grade. He seems to like the picks of D.J. Hayden, Tyler Wilson, and especially that of Sio Moore.
For Burke, the Raiders fell short in their failure to add help in one of their roster’s weakest areas, the defensive line.
“All things beings equal, the Raiders did well for themselves. Except, where’s the D-line help? Oakland failed to address an awful unit until a couple of late Hail Marys.”
In the first few rounds, the Raiders had their fair share of opportunities to address the defensive line, but we can attribute their decisions to look elsewhere directly to a “best player available” strategy.
As such, especially given recent draft strategies and results, they should be more so applauded for sticking to their board and avoiding what would have been a pick of significant need.
Overall, Burke seems relatively impressed with what the Raiders were able to do on draft weekend.
Evan Silva is somewhat critical of the Raiders in terms of the grade he initially gives, but he sees some of their selections as potential impact players or starters right away.
Initially, Silva had some concerns toward the talent-identifying ability of GM Reggie McKenzie and his staff. Much of which was due to their draft and free-agent classes of 2012, but he says that this draft has helped to ease those concerns.
Here, he likes the fits of D.J. Hayden and Tyler Wilson, while also tabbing Nick Kasa, Latavius Murray and David Bass as value picks in the later rounds.
Overall, Silva’s grade for the Raiders may not look great, but the credit that he gives them for several picks in the write up is promising. Again, the main criticism here is the Raiders’ choice to not address the pass rush early on in the draft.
Pete Prisco also seems pretty impressed with what the Raiders were able to come away with on draft weekend, despite heading in with very few picks at their disposal.
As such, he liked the move to trade down and still get a starting cornerback in D.J. Hayden.
At the same time, Prisco’s main criticism of this draft surrounds the seemingly small return the Raiders were able to get for trading down nine spots in the first round with Miami.
While many around the NFL likely share a similar sentiment, the fact is that the Raiders needed to add more picks in a big way. If there was a better deal on the board, you can bet they would have taken it, but evidently there wasn’t.
In a first round where teams saw markedly less value than in recent years, the Raiders did well to move down, add a second-round pick, and still get the player they wanted all along.
Vinnie Iyer is as hard as any on the Raiders’ 2013 draft class, and like many others, the main reason for it is the failure to address what is seen as a significant need on the defensive line.
Beyond which, Iyer gives the Raiders credit for taking talented players in D.J. Hayden and Sio Moore, saying those selections do somewhat soften the blow of choosing not to upgrade the defensive front.
Iyer cites “old Raiders fashion” in their choice to take a chance on a boom-or-bust offensive line prospect in Menelik Watson, and the selection of the once highly-rated QB Tyler Wilson.
As Raiders fans know, this new regime is anything but the same old Raiders. Yes, some of the prospect selections may seem similar to picks the regime of old might have made, but the new best player available strategy allowed them to get value with all of them.
I may be slightly more generous than some other NFL writers around the web when it comes to the Raiders’ 2013 draft class, but I believe that a higher grade is well warranted.
To me, what was most impressive about the Raiders’ draft was their success in trading down to add a second-round pick that they desperately needed amid a complete rebuild, and doing so while still getting the player they wanted all along.
No, they did not address needs up front in the pass rush department, but as this new regime has consistently said, they will always take the best player on their board regardless of positional need.
In fact, drafting with a strategy of filling needs is something that the Raiders did for quite some time prior to Reggie McKenzie taking over as general manager, and was evidently a contributing factor in putting the franchise in the extremely difficult situation it was in.
Did some of the Raiders’ selections from this draft fit some needs? Absolutely. Was that by design? Likely not.
As Raiders fans know quite well by now, the quick fix does not work when building an NFL franchise and it never will.
Overall, the value that the Raiders were able to get with so many of their picks in this year’s draft shows just how effective a “best player available” draft strategy can be, and that this franchise is indeed headed in the right direction.