Oakland Raiders Mock Draft: Buying or Selling Drafttek's Latest Picks

Christopher Hansen@ChrisHansenNFLNFL AnalystFebruary 24, 2012

Oakland Raiders Mock Draft: Buying or Selling Drafttek's Latest Picks

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    The 2012 NFL Scouting Combine is this weekend and serves as the starting line for NFL draft talk. The talk will accelerate faster than DeMarcus Van Dyke and top out at 4.3 speed by the time the draft actually arrives in April.

    We'll get the party started with Drafttek.com's seven-round mock draft. Drafttek uses a computer model to simulate the draft, based on team needs and their draft rankings.

    Each pick will be dissected with pros and cons of each player, and we'll ask questions: Is the player the best available at the position? Is the position a need? Are there other players that make more sense?

    Since the Oakland Raiders only currently have two selections, we'll also break down Drafttek's two alternate picks for each.

    My observations are a blend of what I've seen in the limited amounts of video available and what I've read from the numerous scouting reports I've seen over the past several weeks. Consider it an aggregation of what all draft experts are saying about the players—from ESPN to Yahoo and everything in between. 

    On your marks...get set...(gunfire)...(beep)...(beep)...(beep).

140th Overall: Ryan Steed, CB, Furman

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    Drafttek gives the Raiders Furman University cornerback Ryan Steed with the 140th selection of the 2012 NFL draft. 

    Steed was an ex-basketball player and may have fallen through the cracks to some degree as a football player. Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie is known for his ability to find players that slip through the cracks but have the ability to play at a high level in the NFL.

    We'll glean as much as we can from Steed's YouTube highlight videos. Part one is posted above, and you can see part two here.

    Zone coverage: Steed appears to have a good feel for the zone. He'll read and react to the quarterback and trust what he is seeing. He makes good breaks on the ball and will make big plays.

    He might be susceptible to quarterbacks who can manipulate the coverage with their body language, as he will follow the cues of the quarterback to a fault. NFL-caliber quarterbacks aren't likely to be as forgiving as the competition he faced at Furman. 

    Man coverage: I didn't see a lot of man coverage in the videos, but he's got 32-inch arms and a solid frame. In time, he should be adequate in man coverage, but this area of his game will need to be developed. He's primarily a zone cornerback to start as the coaches work with him on his man coverage techniques. 

    Ball skills: Very good. He's always looking for the ball and reading the quarterback and is able to go up and get passes, taking them away from the receivers. He gets his head around and locates the ball in flight even when he has to turn and run with a receiver. With soft hands, it's not hard for him to catch the ball, which can set up larger returns.

    Strengths: Athleticism, instincts, agility.

    Weaknesses: Speed, technique.

    Conclusion: Drafttek did well here by giving the Raiders a player that some draft experts think should go much higher than the fifth round and at a position of need. Steed could develop into a starter early in his career, and the Raiders shouldn't hesitate to look at Steed if he is available in the fifth round. 

    Is the player the best available at the position? Debatable.

    Is the position a need? Yes.

    Are there other players that make more sense? Certainly, there are a few that aren't as raw as Steed and can get on the field earlier. 

Alternate Pick No. 1: Cliff Harris, CB, Oregon

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    Cliff Harris was kicked off the Oregon football team after being arrested for marijuana possession. He's been ticketed multiple times for driving without a licence, failure to prove insurance and speeding, among other things.

    His character questions aside, Harris has all the skills to be a good cornerback in the NFL. His interviews with teams will dictate where Harris is drafted. He needs to demonstrate that he's matured, or he could find his stock slip even further.

    Still, Harris' talent and ability would make him a good pick in the fifth round, and Reggie McKenzie is no stranger to drafting a player with character concerns.

    Zone coverage: He does a good job breaking on the ball. He times breaks and arrives with good timing. He doesn't shy away from contact, but isn't a big hitter. 

    Man coverage: He doesn't press much and will need to develop this area of his game, but he is good playing off the line, and receivers have a hard time breaking into the open on him. He has fluid hips and doesn't lose speed transitioning from his backpedal. He'll make up ground when the ball is in the air and contends every pass. 

    Ball skills: He has nice, soft hands, and he goes up to get balls at the highest point. He has good timing on leaps and is able to elevate above receivers to knock balls away. Very natural, he looks like a receiver. 

    Special Teams: He has good vision as a punt returner and adequate speed. He sees the holes develop and explodes through them. He could provide another option at punt returner to Denarius Moore. 

    Conclusion: He's not without concerns, but considering the talent level and relatively minor offenses in college, he's well worth the risk in the fifth round. He's less raw than Steed, loves football and has a passion for the game. If his character checks out, he'd be closer to contributing during his rookie season. 

    Is the player the best available at the position? Debatable.

    Is the position a need? Yes.

    Are there other players that make more sense? McKenzie may stay away from a player with character concerns, while Dennis Allen reshapes the locker room. 

Alternate Pick No. 2: Omar Bolden, CB, ASU

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    Omar Bolden missed the 2011 season and may be undervalued as a prospect because he doesn't have as much tape for teams to dissect.

    He's a bit shorter than you would like as an outside corner, but he can also play slot. Bolden plays with aggression and toughness. 

    He was a team captain at ASU and leads by example.

    Zone coverage: He has excellent burst and speed to transition from receiver to receiver in zone. He's tough and will run through the tackle and provides good initial pop on receivers. 

    Man coverage: He gets overly physical and doesn't get his head around to locate the ball. He will raise flags at the next level if he doesn't improve. He has the speed to stick with faster receivers, but physical receivers will be able to separate because he gets off balance in transition. 

    Ball Skills: He will go up and get the ball when he has the opportunity. He uses his hands very well and is able to tip and knock passes away at the last second. 

    Special Teams: With legit 4.4 speed, he could be primary backup to Jacoby Ford on kick returns. 

    Conclusion: It's surprising that three cornerbacks of such a high caliber are available for the Raiders in the fifth round. Bolden would be an excellent pick who could play right away and develop into a starter with additional time.

    Is the player the best available at the position? Debatable.

    Is the position a need? Yes.

    Are there other players that make more sense? Of the three options Drafttek presented, Bolden fits the best. He's a high-character player that should be able to come in immediately and contribute on special teams and in zone coverage as a third or fourth cornerback. 

178th Overall: Tommy Streeter, WR, Miami

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    It's a bit odd that the mock went to a receiver as the Raiders' second-biggest need. Darrius Heyward-Bey had almost 1,000 yards in 2011, and Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford are hardly pushovers and should be the other starters in 2012.

    While receiver is probably not the Raiders' biggest need, the Raiders could use depth and still don't have a legitimate No. 1 receiver.

    Streeter isn't projected to be anything close to a No. 1, but he does have the physical tools that make him an intriguing prospect. 

    Streeter has good size at 6'4" and 215 pounds. He could be a workout warrior and raise his draft stock with a timed speed of around 4.4 seconds. He's not a natural hands guy, but he does go up and get balls at the highest point.

    The biggest issue I have here is that Streeter isn't even the best available receiver on the board. Brian Quick is being extremely undervalued by Drafttek's mock draft and isn't drafted until the seventh round.

    Is the player the best available at the position? No.

    Is the position a need? No.

    Are there other players that make more sense? Yes.

Alternate Pick No. 1: Mike Daniels, DT, Iowa

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    Drafttek's mock finally departs from the heavy dose of needs projections for one of the alternate picks. Mike Daniels is an undersized, high-motor defensive tackle from Iowa. 

    Daniels is not stout at the point of attack and will need to add more weight without losing his explosive first step. He's a player that earns his pay with effort and eventually forces his way into playing time. It's hard to count out a player that fights for everything he gets.

    In the right scheme, Daniels can earn playing time, but he'll be a liability against the run, and that's what makes him a bad fit for the Raiders.

    The Raiders have not held opponents under 125 yards rushing since 2002, and they will need to correct that problem in order to make the playoffs in 2012.

    With Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly and Lamarr Houston on the roster, the Raiders have the pass rush from the defensive tackle position covered. 

    Is the player the best available at the position? Debatable.

    Is the position a need? No.

    Are there other players that make more sense? If the Raiders draft a defensive lineman, it should be a big nose tackle that can clog up the middle and stop the run. 

Alternate Pick No. 2: Reuben Randle, WR, LSU

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    Reuben Randle would be a good value if he is still available in the sixth round. There are some mock drafts that have Randle going much earlier, and he'll probably go earlier than many expect.

    Randle does everything well, but nothing great. He lacks top speed. He has good hands, but he lets the ball get to his chest at times. 

    He's a good route-runner for a college receiver and one of few that has demonstrated his ability to get off press coverage. He's a plus athlete and a hard worker.

    The Raiders could have another draft steal by drafting Randle, but he wont be available in the sixth round. 

    Is the player the best available at the position? Yes.

    Is the position a need? No.

    Are there other players that make more sense? Brian Quick is still available, and while he may not be better than Randle, he has more potential to go boom.

Grading Drafttek

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    Grade: B-

    The Raiders had three nice options at cornerback in the fifth round, and Drafttek selected the best remaining cornerbacks as likely Raiders picks.

    While some or all of the cornerback listed could be gone by pick No. 140, it's comforting to know the draft is deep enough at cornerback that the Raiders might be able to find a quality option late.

    Drafttek's ranking of receivers hurts its grade, as there are too many quality options available that will be drafted much earlier than Drafttek is projecting.

    Also, it's odd that Drafttek chose a receiver and defensive tackle as the Raiders' secondary needs over offensive line or safety. 

    It wasn't a bad effort, considering that a seven-round mock draft is amazingly hard to complete with any degree of accuracy.