2011 NFL Draft Grades: Report Card for Oakland Raiders' Entire Draft
2011 NFL Draft Grades: Now that the 2011 NFL draft is over, it's time to look at the Oakland Raiders picks and grade them. If you read around the web, you'll probably find many experts that are critical of the Raiders draft this year.
The draft is not an exact science, and we are still years away from knowing whether this was a good or bad draft for the Raiders. One thing I can promise you is that the Raiders don't draft based off Mel Kiper or Todd McShay's opinions.
The Raiders feel they don't have many holes in their roster heading into 2011. They are comfortable with their current roster and wanted to add more depth to it during the draft.
I feel they did what they set out to do and added some extra pieces that will give the Raiders a brighter future.
Let's break down every pick the Raiders made.
Round 2: Stefen Wisniewski, Penn State
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This pick was not a shocker for the Oakland Raiders. Stefen Wisniewski was a guy they wanted from Day 1.
It's refreshing to see the Raiders draft an offensive lineman with their first pick of the draft. That means they are serious about protecting their quarterback and improving the run game.
Wisniewski will give them a polished offensive lineman who is versatile. He could be an immediate starter for the Raiders. He has the ability to play center and guard, which are both areas the Raiders need depth in.
I give the Raiders an "A" because they addressed a major need with the first pick and got a guy they believe in.
Round 3: DeMarcus Van Dyke, Miami
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This was another predictable pick by the Oakland Raiders. If you look at their history, you know the Raiders love speed. DeMarcus Van Dyke was the fastest man at the combine.
Many people were critical of this pick, but this pick could turn out to be a great one. The Raiders have had some great success with later-round picks. Van Dyke gives the Raiders some much-needed depth in a secondary that could lose two veterans this offseason.
I give this a "C" only because it was average. The Raiders did draft based on need, but I'm not sure how much of an impact Van Dyke can have right away. Now, he is a third-round pick so he will have time to develop.
He does have NFL speed, but his size is what could become an issue. This pick could eventually turn out to be a great pick, but only time will tell.
Round 3: Joseph Barksdale, LSU
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Joseph Barksdale is an offensive tackle from LSU who can play both tackle and guard. I think this could have been one of the steals of the draft.
He was a four-year letter winner at LSU and played the final 39 games of his career, which according to the LSU website was the longest active streak on the roster.
He is a durable lineman with great size, and he could be one of the better technicians in this draft class.
It's hard for me not to give the Raiders an "A" for this pick. It addresses a major need for the team, and they get a player who I think can be a longtime starter in the league.
He may not play much in his first year but look for him to be part of a great offensive line for years to come.
Round 4: Chimdi Chekwa, Ohio State
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The Raiders drafted for need again for the fourth straight time when they added Chimdi Chekwa in the fourth round.
Chekwa was a talented cornerback out of Ohio State, and he has the Raiders speed they love. This is another late-round pick that I feel can have an impact. The Raiders love to give their players time to develop.
You can't teach speed, but with a couple years on the bench learning from coach Rod Woodson, both Chekwa and Van Dyke could become solid contributors to the Raiders defense.
I like this pick because it does fill a need, and it gives the Raiders a cornerback with decent size and speed.
I don't see either of the cornerbacks drafted starting this year, but with some time on the sidelines, they can eventually work their way into the starting lineup.
Round 4: Taiwan Jones, Eastern Washington
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Al Davis has always valued speed. So I'm not sure why this pick was a big surprise.
Taiwan Jones was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the fourth round. Jones' stock was rising after his pro day, when he ran 4.32—one of the fastest times for running backs in the draft.
Because the Raiders felt comfortable with the players on their roster, they probably felt it wouldn't hurt to add a player with speed at a position that already has two solid running backs.
Jones could be used in some packages this year but could also be a player used when an injury occurs.
Don't get me wrong, I love this pick, and I'm excited to see what kind of player Jones will turn out to be. I still feel the Raiders could have gone a different route with the fourth-round pick. An offensive lineman would have been my preference.
At this point, they felt comfortable with their first four picks, and they went with another speedy back.
Round 5: Denarius Moore, Tennessee
Denarius Moore was taken in the fifth round out of Tennessee. He has great speed and has the potential to give the Raiders yet another deep threat.
I see Moore as more of a possession receiver that can work the middle of the field. The Raiders do need more depth at the receiver position and adding another young guy is a great way to get it.
The Raiders currently have a roster full of young, speedy receivers that have needed time to develop. I would have liked to see them draft a player with great hands and not-so-great speed. It will be interesting to see how Moore will fit into the Raiders offensive system.
Round 6: Richard Gordon, Miami
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The Raiders drafted tight end Richard Gordon out of Miami in the sixth round. This is a pick that I love. Gordon is a solid run and pass blocker.
He needs to work on his route running, but all that will come with time. He should get plenty of time to develop and perhaps challenge Brandon Myers for the second tight end on the roster.
Nothing like getting a player that can only get better in the sixth round. This was a low-risk pick that could pay off greatly in the future.
Round 7: David Ausberry, USC
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David Ausberry could be one of my favorite picks in the draft. He was the Raiders' seventh-round pick, and he will give the Raiders size and solid hands.
He may not run a lightning fast 40-yard dash, but he can become a target in the red zone with his build. If he can improve on his speed and route running abilities, he can become a huge asset for the team.
I love this pick. He gives the Raiders a different type of weapon as a receiver. They have guys that can beat you with their speed, but this guy can beat you with his size. This is a low-risk and high-reward pick.
Oakland Raiders Overall Draft Grade
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I love what the Raiders did this year in the draft. With their first four picks, they picked players that fit a position of need. They drafted two offensive linemen who could start this year and most likely will find their way in the starting lineup in the next couple of years.
They drafted two cornerbacks with the speed they love. These cornerbacks are not under a lot of pressure to start right away. They'll have a year to get better, and hopefully crack the starting lineup next year.
With their later picks, they took some players with great potential. The Raiders spend a lot of time researching players in the later rounds. So while the average fan may not be familiar with a lot of these guys, you better believe the Raiders coaches know exactly who they are.
Overall, they did a fine job at addressing their needs. Now, it's time to get them on the field and see what they can do.