Oakland Raiders: An Unusual 2012 Mock Draft
Free Agency is in full swing and the Oakland Raiders have yet to sign anyone. With needs at cornerback, the Raiders stood in the background and let Cortland Finnegan and Brandon Carr sign with other teams. Other big names have signed as well, which makes you wonder what the Raiders have up their sleeve to help them reach the playoffs in 2012.
While some fans choose to panic, I am encouraging my fellow Raider fans not to. The free agents the Raiders have been linked to may not be flashy names, but are more than capable. General Manager Reggie McKenzie will craft the Raiders into his team.
A bigger concern for Oakland is the NFL draft. With almost no picks until later rounds, how do the Raiders plan for the future, which is McKenzie's philosophy. McKenzie was recommended for this job by his mentor Ron Wolf for his talent for talent evaluation. Raider fans will know if McKenzie is worthy of the adoration as he tries to find some diamonds in the rough.
Oakland is expected to get at least two and maybe four compensatory picks. The picks should be pretty high as well considering the Raiders lost three of the top fifteen ranked free agents in 2011.
This mock draft will play it conservative and assume just two compensatory picks. One in the third round and one in the fourth round.
Keep a level head Raider nation.
This mock draft is a bit unorthodox, but stay with me.
Third Round Comp Pick: Dequan Menzie, CB, Alabama
I have the Raiders taking a position of need with Dequan Menzie.
I would not draft Menzie because I think he has the potential to one day be a shut down corner, no, instead, I want him because he can play the nickel position right away.
Teams in desperate need of corners like the Raiders rarely go after nickelbacks because typically they are backup type players, not an every down type corner. But let's focus on why Menzie is the best pick for the Raiders.
The Raiders have been linked to Ron Bartell and Tracy Porter of the St Louis Rams and New Orleans Saints respectively. Both of these corners can be had at a reasonable price. Plus, safety Michael Huff will be moving over to corner this year too. Throw one or two of the free agents and Menzie and the Raiders secondary will be looking good heading into 2012.
Menzie will be a steal wherever he gets drafted.
Here's to hoping that's Oakland.
Fourth Round Comp Pick: Michael Brewster, C, Ohio State
The first pick not weird enough for you? Okay, how about this one?
I think we all know the Raiders are done with Samson Satele. How to fill that void? Well, if it was up to me, I would slide Stefen Wisniewski over to center for the next ten years and call it a day. But I can understand why the Raiders don't necessarily want to rush into that decision.
Jared Veldheer and Wisneiwski had some chemistry on the left side of the line and with a new blocking scheme, chemistry goes a long way. Besides, Wiz made the All-Rookie team at guard.
The hole at center is where this pick comes in. A three-year starter at Ohio State, Brewster was a strong blocker in both pass protection and run blocking. A leader amongst his offensive lineman, Brewster was considered the best center in the nation at one point.
That was until the Senior Bowl. A rough Senior Bowl week caused Brewster's draft stock to fall.
He also had a very average combine.
This tells me two things. One, he does not test well. For whatever reason, as much talent as he has, if you take the pads and cleats away, he panics. Two, with his solid athleticism on the field, he would be perfect as a center in a zone blocking scheme.
The Raiders are trying to lock up Right Guard Mike Brisiel as he had a visit on Thursday, to replace Cooper Carlisle. If they can do that, it would give them the veteran that can show the rest of these youngsters how to play in the new system.
Fifth Round: Josh Chapman, NT, Alabama
The player I have at this spot may not be seen as an unusual pick, but if I were Reggie McKenzie, I'd trade the fifth round pick for a 2013 fourth round pick and try and get an additional 6th round pick for 2012.
I try not to put players the Raiders have no chance in getting on my mock drafts, but I do think the Raiders have an outside chance at Josh Chapman.
Chapman is projected as a third or fourth round pick, but coming off of knee surgery, I think his stock falls. A lot like how Da'Quan Bowers and Marcus Cannon's stock fell after their health concerns last year. Both were highly touted, yet still got drafted later than their projections.
With all the uncertainty about whether the Raiders will play a 3-4 or 4-3, I wanted to pick a player who would be versatile enough to do both.
This is where Chapman comes in. He is tough against the run and can rush the passer. He played the majority of the 2011 college season on an injured knee including the National Championship, where his defense pitched a shut out.
With Alabama having their Pro Day last week, Chapman went almost unnoticed, which is why I have him taking a fall to the fifth round. However, if the Raiders drafted him earlier I'd be all for it.
Sixth Round: Jacquies Smith, DE/OLB, Missouri
In the sixth round I have the Raiders going for a linebacker. Honestly, I do not care if they go inside or outside, I just want a linebacker.
I do however think the Raiders will go to a 3-4 defense and will need a pass rushing OLB. Not sure if the Raiders have one on their current roster, as I am not a Trevor Scott fan, but let's take a look at Jacquies Smith.
Jacquies Smith was supposed to be the next Aldon Smith (no relation) for Missouri. That did not quite happen.
I think Smith will play outside linebacker in the NFL level whether it be in a 3-4 or 4-3 system. He has natural length at 6'3 and pass rushing skills, but at only 253 lbs, I do not think he is going to be a guy who puts his hands in the dirt and power rushes left tackles.
If you are looking for a vocal leader for your defense, Smith can definitely be that guy.
Reggie McKenzie has his work cut out for him. The Raiders may come out of this draft with just four players, and therefore, they will need to be creative.
I think the most unusual pick is Michael Brewster at center.
Deqaun Menzie would be a solid addition. Do not expect him to be an All-Pro or maybe even a starter. But keep in mind that slot receivers gave the Raiders headaches in 2011.