Stefen Wisniewski will be there for the taking but Oakland will pass on the Penn State guard.
Instead, Al Davis will roll with the highest-rated cornerback on the board to ensure that the team has an insurance policy for the likely departure of free agent cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.
Last April, the Raiders had one of their best drafts in team history because they found players that filled needs and did it at a high level.
If Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers continues to slide, Mr. Davis may have to take a chance on the defensive star, even though he doesn’t fill a need for the Raiders.
When Oakland picks today at No. 48, the team is likely going to have a chance at quarterback Andy Dalton, defensive tackle Marvin Austin, TCU guard Marcus Cannon, wide receiver Randall Cobb and Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph, as well as Ras-I Dowling.
The joker in the deck is Colin Kaepernick—just how serious are the Raiders about trying to land him?
In the 15 picks between New England at No. 33 and Oakland at No. 48, the best available quarterbacks are Ryan Mallett, Kaepernick and Dalton.
Buffalo should stick by Ryan Fitzpatrick as its quarterback. Cincinnati picks at No. 35 and might take Dalton, the Cardinals have the 38th pick and are looking for a big arm, while Washington’s turn comes three slots later at No. 41.
Mallett could be the man for Arizona.
With star Larry Fitzgerald in the final year of his contract, the team needs to find a quarterback that can sling it around the park like Kurt Warner used to. Perhaps Mallett’s talent is enough to make the Cardinals forget about his character flaws.
This would leave Washington with a possible choice of either Dalton or Kaepernick, and I can’t see Shanahan going with Dalton—the TCU quarterback is pro-ready, but he doesn’t have the athletic ability that Kaepernick has.
While in Denver, Shanahan brought in Jake Plummer for his mobility and athleticism, and the same could be true with Kaepernick.
If this scenario plays out, the Raiders might be forced to go after Dowling, even though he’s not the player they really covet.