The 2011 NFL Draft is quickly approaching and the Oakland Raiders need to have another solid draft to be in playoff contention next season.
Last season the Raiders had a strong draft that produced immediate results. Rolando McClain and Lamarr Houston were starters and made plays on defense. Jacoby Ford and Jared Veldheer played a big role on offense and special teams.
Oakland does not hold a first round pick this year because of the Richard Seymour trade. It doesn't appear that the Raiders have many holes on their team that need to be filled.
Oakland has ignored the offensive line in recent drafts. The Raiders have drafted three offensive linemen since 2007 and two of them came last year. Compare that with the eight different defensive backs the Raiders have drafted during that same time period.
The offensive line has been a major problem for the Raiders since 2002. They haven't had a Pro Bowl lineman since the early 2000s.
With Robert Gallery leaving and many questions on the offensive line Oakland may be looking at multiple offensive linemen in this years draft. Let's take a look at my mock draft rounds two through seven for the Oakland Raiders.
The Oakland Raiders are hoping that Stefen Wisniewski is still around when they pick in the second round. Steve Wisniewski is one of the offensive line coaches for Oakland and he happens to be the young Wisniewski's uncle.
Stefen has already come out and said that he would love to be a Raider and Coach Hue Jackson had great things to say about Wisniewski when he was asked about him.
Look for the Raiders to take Wisniewski in the second round if he is still available.
In the third round the Raiders should continue to strengthen their offensive line. LSU tackle Joseph Barksdale would make sense in the third round.
He is projected to go anywhere from the third to fifth round. He stands at 6'5" and weighs in at 325 pounds. He is one of the best technicians at his position and is also very athletic. He fared well against tough SEC opponents week in and week out.
Look for the Raiders to add another offensive linemen in the third round.
The Raiders could use a little more depth at the linebacker position. Lawrence Wilson should be available in the fourth round and would make a great pick for the Raiders.
Many people think he is a bit undersized for the linebacker position, but he has great instincts and and his four year career at Uconn cannot be ignored. He had a solid Senior Bowl game with six tackles and has led the Big East in tackles the last two years.
He would add great depth at the linebacker position for Oakland and could eventually find himself starting later on in his career.
Many out there think the Raiders could use a veteran wide receiver. They have a solid unit of young receivers who have yet to fully blossom and reach their full potential. Boise State's Austin Pettis could be available in the fifth round.
This pick would make a lot of sense for Oakland. Tim Brown said during the season that Pettis was one of the best route runners coming out of college this year. He has great hands and comes from a winning program.
He stands at 6'3" and won the all-star skills challenge that included Juilio Jones and other top NFL prospects.
If the Raiders went with Pettis in the fifth round Oakland's receiving unit would be one of the youngest and most athletic groups in the league.
The Raiders should continue to add more offensive line depth in the draft. UConn guard Zach Hurd is a big-time physical player with the size that fits the Raiders' style.
He stands at 6'7" and weighs in at 316 pounds. He made the All-Big East First Team in 2009 and he could be a sleeper late round pick for the Raiders.
If the Raiders draft two or three offensive linemen in this draft, their offense will be moving in the right direction. They have all the speed, size and power in the skill positions but it won't do them any good until they have someone that can block for them.
It seems rare to do a Raiders mock draft without having a defensive back being drafted. Chykie Brown out of Texas would make a great seventh round selection for the Raiders. He comes from a winning program and has the athletic ability to make it in the NFL.
He does need some work on his footwork and basic fundamentals at the cornerback position. Having Rod Woodson as the defensive backs coach is a great place to start.
Look for the Raiders to add a defensive back in the later rounds.
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