NFL Draft 2011: Oakland Raiders Day Two Draft Grades
Many, including myself, thought that Al Davis would trade up in the draft in order to pick Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Instead, Davis added picks in the third and fourth round by giving the New England Patriots a seventh round pick this year and a second round pick in next year's draft.
With their three picks on day two of the draft, the Raiders targeted their most immediate needs at offensive line and cornerback. Here is a look at all three players and what they bring to the Raiders.
Stefan Wisniewski, C, Penn State
With their first pick in this year's draft, the Raiders did what a lot of people thought they would do from the start. Keeping it all within the family, Davis selected the nephew of pro bowl guard Steve Wisniewski.
Stefan Wisniewski is a mauling center with an impressive pedigree. We all know about his uncle, but his father, Leo Wisniewski, played three seasons on defensive line for the Indianapolis Colts.
Stefan was a three year starter at Penn State and played in all 39 games without any injury issues (He is credited with 38 starts because he gave up a start on senior day in order to allow the back up senior to get the start).
He has good size for a center with above average arm length and massive hands. He is not the strongest of guys and can have issues with bigger defensive tackles, but what he lacks in strength, he makes up for in aggressiveness and good technique. He is a guy that plays hard all the way to the whistle and will add a good amount of toughness to the interior of the Raiders line.
The Raiders drafted to their biggest need with their first pick. There could be arguments made for other offensive linemen available at that spot, but the pedigree and the fact that his uncle is an assistant offensive line coach for the Raiders makes the chances of his success much higher.
Demarcus Van Dyke, CB, Miami
With their third round pick, Al Davis did his thing. Once again, the Raiders wind up with the guy who ran the fastest 40 time at the combine.
Van Dyke has good height but could stand to add some bulk to his frame, especially considering how much man coverage he will be playing.
He has the speed to keep up with almost any wide receiver in the league and has good ball skills, getting his head around at the right time and attacking the ball.His biggest problem is limiting separation with wide receivers on their routes. He can stay with a guy running straight down the sideline, but can he react quick enough to limit separation on routes with lots of movement.
Van Dyke is the type of guy who has the physical attributes to be a very good cornerback in the NFL but is on the raw side right now. Hopefully, with a guy like Rod Woodson working with him, he will develop into the number one cornerback the Raiders need.
Once again, the Raiders drafted to need, but there is a much bigger question here as to whether Van Dyke was the right CB to draft at this point. Curtis Marsh and Shareece Wright were also available at that point, and both players are much better at man coverage and conceivably would be more capable of stepping in and playing right away. However, they do not have the same upside that Van Dyke has and Wright has some durability issues.
Joe Barksdale, OT, LSU
With the pick that the Raiders got from the Patriots, the Raiders went back to offensive line with tackle Joe Barksdale out of LSU.
Barksdale has good size and arm length. He is good in pass protection but could have issues with speed rushers as he can sometimes be slow to get into position. However, he will fit right into the Raiders run game as he has the size and nastiness to excel in run blocking.
The Raiders needed to add depth at the tackle position, but this pick might have been a little bit of a reach with James Brewer and Lee Ziemba still on the board. Also, the Raiders could have taken Cannon in the fourth round, a guy that I think could be better than Barksdale.