While the coaching carousel in Oakland continues to spin out rumors and innuendo regarding the fate of Raiders' coach Tom Cable, draft guru Mel Kiper has released his first mock draft of the offseason.
Predictably, the college draft expert says the Raiders will play it safe this year and take Rutgers offensive tackle Anthony Davis.
Here’s Kiper’s analysis on the Scarlet Knight lineman:
“Davis might not be the most complete tackle in the first round, but he is the most naturally gifted and should get better. Great feet, ideal size, and he has the ability to maul defenders in the run game. After a whiff in the first round last year, the Raiders should address a big need here,” he said.
Disappointed in the pick, Raider Nation?
It certainly goes against the fan choice—Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain.
While Kiper believes the ‘Bama star will still be available when the Raiders pick at No. 8, he also predicts that Oakland will try to repair its broken offensive line instead of drafting the "stud" linebacker.
So, are the Raiders missing out on another star in the making, much like they did with Michael Crabtree?
Kiper predicts McClain will be a steal for the Dolphins, who will gladly take the All-American with the 12th pick of the draft.
“A potential home run for Miami, which needs an inside linebacker and could get the best one in the whole draft after the top 10,” Kiper said.
A ringing endorsement to say the least—and if McClain were a Raider he would presumably help solve their horrendous run defense—or at least that’s the conventional thinking.
However, if Tennessee safety Eric Berry is still on the board, the Chiefs won’t hesitate to take him over Okung.
Kiper says Georgia Tech running back Jonathan Dwyer has the power and explosiveness to get the job done. If Dwyer can carry the ball 20 times a game, then San Diego may still have one more post-season run left.
With many more updates to come, here’s a look at Kiper’s first-round projections for 2010 (star indicates underclassmen).
1. St. Louis Rams
Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska
Gerald McCoy*, DT, Oklahoma
Eric Berry*, S, Tennessee
Sam Bradford*, QB, Oklahoma
5. Kansas City Chiefs
Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State
Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
Joe Haden*, CB, Florida
8. Oakland Raiders
Anthony Davis*, OT, Rutgers
Jimmy Clausen*, QB, Notre Dame
10. Denver Broncos (from Chicago)
Dez Bryant*, WR, Oklahoma State
Jason Pierre-Paul*, DE, South Florida
12. Miami Dolphins
Rolando McClain*, LB, Alabama
Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma
14. Seattle Seahawks (from Denver)
C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
15. New York Giants
Carlos Dunlap*, DE, Florida
16. San Francisco 49ers (from Carolina)
Earl Thomas*, S, Texas
17. Tennessee Titans
Everson Griffen*, DE, USC
Bryan Bulaga*, OT, Iowa
19. Atlanta Falcons
Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas
20. Houston Texans
Brian Price*, DT, UCLA
Aaron Hernandez*, TE, Florida
Ricky Sapp, OLB, Clemson
Taylor Mays, S, USC
Navorro Bowman*, OLB, Penn State
25. Baltimore Ravens
Jermaine Gresham*, TE, Oklahoma
Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee
27. Dallas Cowboys
Bruce Campbell*, OT, Maryland
28. San Diego Chargers
Jonathan Dwyer*, RB, Georgia Tech
29. New York Jets
Golden Tate*, WR, Notre Dame
Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State
Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State
Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan