Oakland Raiders Draft Picks: Results, Analysis and Grades
Raider Nation, the time is almost here for the NFL draft. It's been a long wait, and I'm sure everyone is tired of the rumors and mock drafts by now. Some already have the Raiders penciled in as taking a certain player at No. 5, while others have the Raiders making a blockbuster trade and acquiring more picks. The reality is we don't know what the Raiders are going to do. Last year they surprised many by taking cornerback D.J. Hayden after trading out of the third overall pick. What will they do this year?
Per Jerry McDonald of the Contra Costa Times, Reggie McKenzie recently said, "You draft for the future, not right now." Does that mean Oakland is interested in a quarterback? Many feel the Raiders need to get a playmaker with their first pick, but does McKenzie agree with that? Is he willing to take a quarterback and let him sit a year behind Matt Schaub?
I expect there to be a trade or two and a surprise here and there. Make sure you don't miss out on the action, and keep following this piece as I'll continually update it with the Raiders' most recent moves during the draft.
I like this pick for the Raiders. Its an area of need and many have Ellis rated as a third round talent. So this is good value here.
Oakland Raiders Select OLB Khalil Mack
The Oakland Raiders selected outside linebacker Khalil Mack with the 5th pick in the draft. The Raiders had one of the league's worst defenses last year and Mack along with the other additions in free agency should immediately change that.
I like this pick a lot. Mack was one of the best rated defensive players coming into the draft. He'll give the Raiders pass rush a much needed boost. Pairing Mack with Sio Moore gives the Raiders a strong pair of linebackers for the next several years.
Reggie McKenzie should be a popular guy now as many in the Raider Nation wanted him to draft Mack. For the second year in a row the Raiders have used a first round pick on a defender. D.J. Hayden was the pick in 2013. It's important for Hayden and Mack to have an immediate impact in 2014 or their coach and general manager could be in danger of losing their jobs.
Pick Grade: A
Round 2 Pick No. 36 QB Derek Carr
The Oakland Raiders selected quarterback Derek Carr with their second pick in the NFL Draft. The Raiders needed to come away with a quarterback in this draft and Carr fell right in their laps. Carr was considered the best pure passer in the draft and many thought he would be a first round pick.
Carr will most likely back up Matt Schaub in 2014. Reggie McKenzie has said he is reluctant to start a rookie quarterback and would like to make sure their is enough talent surrounding him. Carr has a few things he needs to work on and a year to develop those skills would be ideal for him and the Raiders.
The Raiders needed to find their quarterback and Carr could be their guy for the next several years. I love this pick. The Raiders were patient and didn't try to trade up to get Carr and he still fell to them. This is another great pick by Oakland.
Raiders Trade Pick No. 67
What Raiders Traded
The Raiders traded the 67th overall pick in the NFL Draft to the Miami Dolphins
What the Raiders Received
The Raiders received two picks for their 67th pick. They now own the 81st pick in the draft and the 116th pick in this draft. This was a good move for the Raiders as they only had two picks left until the seventh round. Now the Raiders own a third and two fourth round picks. This was a good move for the Raiders.
Round 3 Pick No. 81 OG Gabe Jackson
The Raiders selected offensive guard Gabe Jackson. He was one of the top rated interior offensive linemen in the draft. Oakland needs to build their offensive line and have added a good interior piece moving forward. Jackson is a smart player with ideal size.
Jackson is a fundamentally sound player with good size. He could start ahead of Kevin Boothe or Khalif Barnes at guard in 2014. He's that fundamentally sound. This is another good pick by the Raiders as they continue to add good players in this draft.
McKenzie knows the importance of having a strong offensive and defensive lines. He wants to get bigger and wants to pound the football. This pick will help him do that. I would have picked Louis Nix III here, but this is still a good pick.
Round 4 Pick 107 DT Justin Ellis
The Raiders have added defensive tackle Justin Ellis with their first pick in the fourth round. Ellis is 6'1" 334 pound monster with a low center of gravity. He's hard to move off his spot and can occupy blockers.
Ellis should find himself in the rotation along the interior defensive line. Pat Sims, Stacy McGee and Antonio Smith figure to get the majority of the snaps at defensive tackle. However Ellis could find his way into that rotation early and often.
McKenzie is trying to get bigger and stronger as a team and he's added an extra 330 pounds so far in the first round.
Round 4 Pick 116 CB Keith McGill
The Oakland Raiders picked up cornerback Keith McGill with their second pick in the fourth round. McGill is a big cornerback with good length and speed for his size. At 6'3" and 211 pounds. The Raiders needed to add more depth to their secondary and they did that with McGill.
McGill does have some off field issues and concerns. McKenzie isn't afraid to take a player with off field issues as last year he draft defensive tackle Stacy McGee. If McGill stays clean and takes 2014 to develop his skills he could be a steal for Oakland in the 4th round.
The Raiders currently have D.J. Hayden, Tarell Brown, Carlos Rogers, Taiwan Jones and Chimdi Chekwa as their cornerbacks. Adding McGill will give them another young piece for the future. Remember, only Hayden and Jones are under contract beyond the 2014 season. So the Raiders need to make sure they have a plan or players in place beyond 2014.
It's been hard not to like this draft for the Raiders. I like this pick and McGill's potential. The Raiders draft a starting cornerback in 2013 and now they have a big cornerback in McGill they can groom to start with Hayden after the 2014 season.
Round 7 Pick No. 219 CB Travis Carrie
The Raiders have selected cornerback Travis Carrie with the 219th pick in the draft. Carrie is the second big cornerback that the Raiders have taken in this draft, he's 6' 206 pounds. This is another good value pick for the Raiders.
He's an athletic player who returned punts in college. He could be an asset on special teams playing with Taiwan Jones in kick coverage. Carrie would be one of the bigger defensive backs on the Raiders roster and it may be a direction the Raiders are heading in.
I like this pick for the Raiders. They need to have more depth and competition in the secondary. Carrie and Keith McGill will give Oakland some size and athleticism in the secondary.
Round 7 Pick 235 DE Shelby Harris
The Raiders took defensive end Shelby Harris with the 235th overall pick. This is a risky pick for Reggie McKenzie as Harris does have some character concerns. He was dismissed from Illinois State in 2013 due to conduct.
In Harris' last season as a defensive tackle, he recorded 16 tackles for loss, seven sacks and 85 total tackles. That's not bad considering he started all 13 games at defensive tackle. Harris also was a First-Team All-MVFC selection in 2012. So we know he can play football and at least was dominant at his level.
The pick does fill a position of need for the Raiders and it may pay off. The 7th round is where you take some risks on players that may have character issues but can still play football.
Round 7 Pick 247 SS Jonathan Dowling
The Raiders selected safety Jonathan Dowling with their last pick in the draft. Dowling is another 6'3" defensive back that was drafted by the Raiders in 2014. He is also another player that did have character issues in college. He was dismissed from the Florida Gators in 2010.
Here is another case where McKenzie grabs a player late in the draft that had some character concerns. If these young men have learned from their mistakes and became better for it then McKenzie may have found a good player.
This was the third defensive back taken in this draft. It was a position group that needed more players and competition. I think McKenzie did a good job here picking Dowling.