NFL Draft 2011: Don't Expect the Raiders to Draft for Need in the 2nd Round
With the NFL draft quickly approaching fans are busy speculating what their team will do in the draft.
Here in Raider-Nation a common theme among Raider fans is expecting them to draft for need, I mean that is the smart thing to do.
Being a life long Raider fan though, I feel expecting the Raiders to make a smart, safe and logical decision two years in a row is futile at best.
In recent interviews Hue Jackson has thrown around the term "Best Player Available" a few times.
With that said don't be surprised if the Raiders use their first pick on a luxury pick and grab the best player available, rather than the player that best fits their needs.
Why the Raiders Won't Draft an Offensive Linemen in the 2nd Round
Consensus among Raider fans seems to be that the teams biggest need is the offensive line, so logically they would use their first pick to draft to address that need.
The biggest problem with this train of thought is that your using logic to predict arguably the least logical team in the NFL.
I'm not sure if anyone else has realized this, but the offensive line has been the Raiders biggest weakness since we lost Lincoln Kennedy and Barret Robbins and since then the only offensive linemen we've taken early in the draft are Robert Gallery and Jake Grove.
Recently when asked if the offensive line was the Raiders biggest need Hue Jackson had this to say:
"Well, I will tell you it’s one of our needs..."
And when asked what he felt the strengths in this years draft were he said:
"I think when you look at the draft – obviously all drafts are different – but when you look at it I think the offensive line’s very heavy, defensive line is extremely heavy, I think there are some very talented cornerbacks. I think there are some talented receivers. People will say this is a different draft class as far as quarterback is concerned. I mean, early people would say there aren’t very many. Now you hear as many as seven may go. So it changes every day about what it is. But there are some strengths and there are some weaknesses in this draft, but again, it’s still based on team, what a team needs and how a team values a player and how they see the player when it’s all said and done."
Seeing as this years class of offensive linemen is so "Heavy" that may suggest the Raiders think they can find viable talent later in the draft.
Why the Raiders May Draft a QB
As many of you likely know. The Raiders have visited with draft prospect and QB Colin Kaepernick, so at the very least they are considering using that 2nd round pick on him.
And to be honest it makes sense.
I don't care what excuses you have for Jason Campbell; poor o-line play, inexperienced receivers, injury, whatever... Bottom line is his numbers were less than spectacular and the Raiders passing numbers were towards the bottom of the league.
Also Jason Campbell is in the final year of his contract and it may be time to invest in the future.
Hue Jackson has said that getting to the QB and stopping the run are going to be the Raiders biggest priorities on defense.
What position is responsible for both of these tasks?
Well technically you could argue every position, but the simple answer is the defensive line.
It makes little sense to go with the d-line early in the draft seeing as the Raiders ranked 2nd in sacks in 2010, but when you consider their play against the run beefing up the d-line starts to look like a better idea.
With Zack Miller, tight end is arguably the one position the Raiders need to worry about the least.
Hue Jackson wants to create a bully on offense, and one way he has done that throughout his coaching career is with two and even three tight-end sets.
With a qaulity tight-end to pair with Zack Miller it will not only help open up the run game but the pass game as well. Adding a tight end would add another red-zone threat and if teams focused on the tight-ends it would open things up for the Raiders speedsters outside.
With Michael Huff likely on his way out of Oakland safety may or may not be a need for the Raiders.
With that said saftey is arguably Al Davis's favorite position as the Raiders have drafted roughly a dozen in the last decade.
Ask a Raider fan and they will tell you the Raiders have a young talented group of receivers and they don't need to draft another one.
Look at the numbers though and that young talent begins to look a little suspect.
In my opinion the Raiders would be better suited finding a receiver in free-agency. But with that said if the team is begining to feel Darius Heyward-Bey was a botched draft pick, they may look to add more young talent to their stable of receivers.
Like I said I think the Raiders will use that 2nd round pick on a luxury pick.
Even though the Raiders ranked 2nd in rushing last year it wouldn't be such a terrible idea to pick up a multi-purpose utility back. Someone who could play multiple positions lining up at both running back and receiver and return punts.
Also it is not yet known whether or not the tender offer giving to Michael Bush will be recognied under the new CBA.
These are the Oakland Raiders, if there is one attribute they look for when drafting players it is speed.
Stanford Routt, Darius Heyward-Bey and Jacoby Ford all have one thing in common, they were the fastest player at each of their respective combines.
There is no denying that the Raiders have a need for speed. It is nearly guarunteed that the Raiders will draft atleast one player based off of his speed.
Here's a look at some of this years fastest players.
Taiwan Jones 40-time 4.27
Demarcus Van Dyke 40-time 4.28
Da'Rel Scott 40-time 4.34
Buster Skrine 40-time 4.29
Jeff Demps 40-time 4.29
Noel Devine 40-time 4.35