I shall begin by saying that this mock draft for the Oakland Raiders likely contains elements of wishful thinking.
Any Raider fan knows that the glaring weaknesses for the Raiders were pass protection, red-zone offense and a lack of interceptions.
The offensive line will be overhauled this offseason.
The Raiders have hired Bob Wylie and former Raider Steve Wisniewski to coach the line and install the power-blocking scheme, as opposed to the zone-blocking scheme of former coach Tom Cable.
The power-blocking scheme is better suited for second-year players, left-tackle Jared Veldeer and lineman Bruce Campbell.
The ineffectiveness in the red zone could be resolved with better blocking in space as well as the addition of a veteran wideout in the slot and a second tight end.
My view has been that fullback Marcel Reece should see more time as a pass catcher, rather than a blocker, runner and receiver. Drafting a blocking specialist would free up Reece to be a bigger factor in the red zone.
The Raiders hired Hall of Fame defensive back Rod Woodson to coach the cornerbacks. Woodson's experience is expected to increase the interceptions.
I then determined the needs:
- Right Tackle
- Defensive tackle
- Wideout (preferably a veteran)
I decided to follow that list by reviewing the offseason until now.
Al Davis clearly is the ultimate contrarian. When all the other owners are at their worst, he's at his best.
At the current rate, the Raiders could potentially have all their free agents either signed or tendered before a lockout by the owners (if a lockout occurs).
As of now, the only starters who remain unsigned or tendered are cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, safety Michael Huff, and right tackle Langston Walker.
Guard Robert Gallery won't return.
Today, the Raiders have signed or tendered quarterback Kyle Boller, safety Hiram Eugene, linebacker Ricky Brown, guard Daniel Loper and running back Michael Bennett.
I decided to also add that the haters of wideout Darrius Heyward-Bey need to be quiet. Why? Because he's a deep threat, plain and simple.
When the Raiders made DHB the seventh overall pick in 2009, the sports world let out a collective burst of laughter. Al Davis had proved his "craziness" once again.
Times are changing.
I won't delve into this trend too heavily, because as I understand it, most NFL executives now agree as to the importance of a deep threat.
As we saw in the postseason, an offense requires a deep threat on the outside in order to be successful. Even Tom Brady could not succeed without a legitimate deep threat against the Jets.
Thus, I want to see what Heyward-Bey can do under the tutelage of new offensive coordinator Al Saunders.
Speaking of coordinators, the Raiders finally named a defensive coordinator.
That person is former Raiders DC Chuck Bresnahan. I like the experience he brings to oversee new position coaches, Greg Biekert and Rod Woodson.
Bresnahan was defensive coordinator between 2000 and 2003, when the Raiders won three AFC West titles and appeared in the Super Bowl.
He was also the defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals from 2005 to 2007, when the Bengals ended a 15-year postseason drought.
In both cases, Bresnahan put together efficient defenses but could not rely on star players, Darrell Russell in Oakland and Odell Thurman in Cincinnati because both had off-field trouble.