The Oakland Raiders gained three additional draft picks in the 2012 NFL draft: A third-round, fourth-round and fifth-round selection were awarded for free-agent losses last offseason. The selections are believed to be for the losses of Nnamdi Asomugha, Zach Miller and Robert Gallery.
The compensatory draft selections can't be traded, but will give new Raiders' general manager Reggie McKenzie more opportunity to shape the roster with young players
McKenzie recently had a conference call with local media and said:
...when you set the board you try to set it to where you can have some possible starters through the fifth round... I want to get some good players that we can try to get as many possible starters as possible. Whether they are first year starters, second year or third year starters, I want to get some guys that have the potential to be starters.
Adding three picks between Round 3 and 5 should net the Raiders with three starters or potential starters according to McKenzie. McKenzie has a goal and stated he would draft the "best available player" and that will be the standard by which we grade Matt Miller's latest seven-round mock draft.
Round 3 - Pick 97
Josh Robinson, CB, UCF
Al Davis would be proud as Robinson had the fastest 40-yard dash time at the 2012 NFL Combine at 4.33 seconds and also put up top numbers in the broad jump and three-cone drill. McKenzie will like him because he looks good on tape.
NFL Network's Mike Mayock doesn't believe Josh Robinson will make it out of the first round.
The Raiders signed three defensive backs this offseason and might be looking to find depth at other positions, but Ron Bartell, Shawntae Spencer and Pat Lee all signed one-year deals. The Raiders aren't committed to any of them past 2012 and Robinson is a playmaker and willing to help in run-support. He just needs to clean up his technique.
You could make a case for an outside linebacker like Demario Davis or Keenan Robinson with this pick because of team need. If the Raiders can address that need by signing a linebacker like Philip Wheeler in free agency, it frees the Raiders to bring in a talent like Josh Robinson.
Round 4 - Pick 131
Nigel Bradham, OLB, Florida State
There are players that have enough physical talent to start in the NFL, but lack the awareness or instincts required to put it all together. Bradham might be one of those prospects.
In the era of Al Davis, instincts and awareness were failures in coaching or just a lack of experience. In some cases, Al Davis was right and the player blossomed, and in other cases the player was nothing more than an athlete that couldn't play.
It might be experience or confidence that leaves a linebacker slow to react. Maybe a coach is always in his ear about gap integrity and the player becomes unwilling to leave his gap assignment, trust his eyes and make a play.
Reggie McKenzie will have to decide if Bradham's issues can be corrected and he can become a starter in the league.
The Raiders have plenty of options with this pick, OLB Kyle Wilbur, WR Tommy Streeter and OT Nate Potter are available, but Bradham does have starter potential and that fits what McKenzie is looking for in his first few picks.
Round 5 - Pick 150
Rishard Matthews, WR, Nevada
It seems odd the Raiders would draft a receiver in the fifth round because there is a logjam of receivers in Oakland. So either Matthews is special or this is a wasted pick.
Matthews has nice hands, good size and elevated his game at Nevada to lead the Western Athletic Conference in receptions and receiving yards despite the loss of quarterback Colin Kaepernick to the NFL.
Matthews impressed scouts at the Nevada pro day addressing concerns about his speed by running the 40-yard dash in the mid 4.4s. He also addressed concerns about his route running at his pro day by running crisp routes and catching every pass according to Rob Rang of nfldraftscout.com
Given a little time developing behind the Raiders current group or receivers, Matthews could be yet another late-round find.
The concern here is that Matthews doesn't have the burst or top-end speed to separate from defenders and play at a high level in the NFL, but he might just be worth the pick to find out.
I like the cornerbacks still left on the board in Ryan Steed and Coryell Judie, but in this mock the Raiders already addressed the cornerback position.
Round 5 - Pick 170
Brian Linthicum, TE, Michigan State
The Raiders have three tight ends on the roster each with different strengths. Richard Gordon is a blocking specialist, David Ausberry is an ex-wide receiver and Brandon Myers is the all-around tight end.
Linthicum appears to be a near carbon copy of Myers, even down to the the alcohol-related arrests in college. Linthicum might be a bit better receiver and Myers a bit better blocker, but both are well-rounded.
It's tough to fault the pick and there aren't a lot of players in the early sixth that are clearly better.
Round 6 - Pick 190
Terrance Ganaway, RB, Baylor
The loss of Michael Bush in free agency has mock-draft artists everywhere looking for a late-round power back for the Raiders. That's strange because Michael Bush wasn't a power back himself.
It's really not hard to find a short-yardage back and the Raiders have Rashawn Jaskson on the roster. He's a 240-pound back that is great at moving the pile. Ganaway is also a 240-pound back that can move the pile.
Michael Bush was a good backup running back because he could block. That's not a strength of Ganaway.
A better pick here would be another prospect from Baylor, NT Nicolas Jean-Baptiste.
The Raiders are looking for options at nose tackle and Jean-Baptiste has the size and strength that gives him a chance to develop. McKenzie isn't looking for starters in the sixth round and Jean-Baptiste seems like a decent guy to bet on.
Another player that seems to make sense here is OLB Miles Burris who went undrafted in Miller's mock. Burris will immediately play on special teams and could give the Raiders added depth at linebacker.
Miller gave the Raiders an F in MockOne and me a B for the players drafted. I'm returning the favor and giving Miller a solid B for his latest effort. The Raiders addressed positions of need and capitalized when there was value on the board.