2012 Oakland Raiders Mock Draft (The Known and Unknown)

Joseph McNealCorrespondent IApril 15, 2012

2012 Oakland Raiders Mock Draft (The Known and Unknown)

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    With less than two weeks before the 2012 NFL draft, the Oakland Raiders for the first time in 40 years will not have Mr. Al Davis running the War Room.

    Reggie McKenzie was hired as the general Manager and will be the guy running the show. He is very aware of his limitations this year with picks in Rounds 3 through 6, with two in the fifth round.

    Reggie is known for his ability to find talent late in the draft, and he will need to do so this year. This is a build-up year for him. He will be looking for talent to develop and depth for the team.

    This mock draft will cover the known players per round and projected players that could be picked. It will also cover three undrafted free agents that I could see the Raiders bringing into camp who could make the team.

    Let's get started...

First Round: (Trade) Carson Palmer (6’5”, 235) QB USC

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    When the Raiders made the trade for Carson Palmer, my first thought was they were just taken to the cleaners by the Bengals. This trade made no sense at all to me.

    Why would you pay such a high price (first-round pick in 2011 and a conditional first- or second-round pick in 2013) for a 30+ year old quarterback?

    I just did not understand.

    I started doing some research on Palmer and I was a little surprised at what I found. Let's look at his numbers from last year:

    328 Attempts 199 Completions 60.7 Comp. PCT 2,753 Yards 8.4 YPC 13 TD 16 INT 80.5 QBR

    He put those numbers up in 9½ games with no Training Camp, no OTA’s and on a new team with new teammates.

    I look forward to see what he will do this year with added time to work with his receivers and a healthy Darren McFadden. This offense could be very special.

Second Round: (Trade) Taiwan Jones (6’0”, 190) RB Eastern Washington

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    When the Raiders traded their second-round pick last year, I was assured that they had truly been taken advantage of once again by the Patriots (Raiders traded their 2012 second-round pick to the Patriots for a third- (92nd) and fourth (125th) round picks).

    I think I am very wrong about this now. With Bush signing with the Bears, the Raiders had a huge need for a good back-up running back. Enter Jones.

    Adding this guy really filled a hole. He is a very explosive player with the speed to take it the distance every time he touches the ball. Most people will say the Raiders will need a bruiser, but I think they have one in Rashawn Jackson (6’1”, 240). Jones is a speed guy, but he does run hard and the word is he is now up to 205 pounds.

    With him seeing playing time last year, it will really prepare him to take on a larger workload this year. This could be his breakout year.

Second Round: (Trade) Joe Barksdale (6’5”, 320) OT LSU

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    Barksdale is a interesting pick. He has great technique and has played against top competition in college. He has also played both tackle positions. He is better suited for the Right Tackle position.

    This guy will be in the mix with Khalif Barnes for the starting position. Even if he does not start he will see a lot of playing time this year. He is just too good to stay on the bench.

    With the Raiders going to a zone blocking scheme, Barksdale could take over the starting right tackle position.

Third Round: (Supplemental Draft) Terrelle Pryor (6’6”, 230) QB Ohio State

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    If you are a Raiders fan, you knew this one was coming. When he was granted permission to enter the Supplemental Draft, I knew the Raiders were going to grab this guy.

    He had to sit for four games last year, but now he is going to get his first full year of football. I look forward to see what he can do with OTA’s, Training Camp and preseason football.

    He is one of the bigger, athletic quarterbacks in the NFL and with proper development could be special. Only time will tell, but this guy should be on Carson Palmer’s hip to learn as much as he can.

    He is being given the chance to be the backup quarterback this year.

    This is the known part of the draft for the Raiders. Now let's look at the unknown part.

Third Round: (Compensatory Pick) Josh Chapman (6’1”, 315) NT Alabama

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    This guy is very strong and difficult to move off the line of scrimmage, he occupies double teams and is a true space eater. He has natural girth and a thick trunk and is a nightmare to block one-on-one.

    He stays low and wins most battles for leverage. He is strong and has violent hands with explosive hand punch.

    He can bull rush and overpower blockers when pass rushing. He has a wide base and low center of gravity along with a solid anchor and he doesn't give up an inch of ground.

    He is too stout to be moved around and his base strength is phenomenal, which allows him to eat up blockers, collapse running lanes and keep linebackers clean and allows them to roam free into the backfield.

    He is a lunch-pail type player that is smart and works hard and plays with an impressive motor. He responds well to coaching and spends a lot of time in the video room.

    He has experience in both three and four-man fronts under Nick Saban at Alabama. He can play the zero 3-4 NT or play defensive tackle in a 4-3 as well. He was nicknamed 'The Incredible Hulk' by his teammates because of his maximum bench press total of close to 580 pounds and 630 pound squat.

    This is the kind of player that Reggie wants on the team. He is a hard working, lunch-pail guy that can flat out play football. The Raiders need a true NT and Chapman is it.

    They will show a few 3-4 fronts this year but will be a base 4-3 team. Chapman can play in both. This is a great draft pick even with him coming off of a knee injury.

Fourth Round: Travis Lewis (6’3”, 248) OLB Oklahoma

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    He makes plays from sideline to sideline and almost always knows where to be during plays. He has a nose for the football and finds ways to get to the ball carrier.

    He is excellent in coverage, has fluidity and quickness to cover a lot of ground and possesses good coverage instincts as well. Takes good angles both at the snap and in pursuit and will not give up on plays when away from the ball.

    Shoots gaps with a lot of explosiveness and will often pull blockers off their assignment to get a body on him. He is just a generally disruptive player for opposing offenses and his game translates well to solid production at next level.

    He diagnoses plays fairly quickly and is rarely fooled by misdirection or screens. He flashed some good athleticism playing at 230 lbs. at Oklahoma but bulked up prior to the combine, which may have negatively impacted his speed.

    He is an excellent leader, plays with intensity and desire and sets a good example for his teammates. He was extremely productive in his four seasons at Oklahoma, led the team in tackles each season and set freshman school records for most tackles in a season (144) and a game (19).

    He is a productive football player, plain and simple. He is the kind of player that Reggie wants on this team and he could be special playing ILB in a 3-4 or WOLB in a 4-3. He gives the Raiders depth at a position of great need.

Fifth Round (Compensatory Pick) Brandon Hardin (6’3”, 217) FS/CB Oregon State

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    This is another guy that is a football player. He has great size and build and will have no problem with bigger tight ends and receivers in the NFL. He has great speed, ran a 4.38-40 at his pro day.

    He is good at reading the quarterback's eyes and diagnosing plays and is a great in-the-box safety with impressive tackling skills. He is an absolutely punishing tackler. He is great against the run and excels in blitzing both run and pass.

    He is an absolute beast on special teams and make some fantastic tackles. A great physical specimen with exceptional upside.

    He has played cornerback but will be asked to play free safety in the NFL, which will give him the ability to be use his speed and physical ability to be a game changer in a few years. He will need time to develop but should be worth the wait.

    He is the kind of player that Reggie likes in his secondary, big, strong, fast, smart and most importantly, a football player. This guy will be able to learn from Huff over the next few years but will contribute on special teams and certain nickel and dime packages immediately.

Fifth Round: (Compensatory Pick) Vontaze Burfict (6’3”, 250) ILB Arizona State

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    He had pretty good production in three years at Arizona State (228 tackles, seven sacks, four forced fumbles, one interception). Has very good size for the position and can hold up against bigger blockers and is strong enough to take down larger backs.

    Has good pre-snap instincts and likes to jump snap counts and explode into the backfield. He loves to hit and plays with good lower-body explosion. He drives through tackles to finish off ball carriers.

    He is a very intense player and does not shy away from contact, he plays with a very high motor. Scrapes well through traffic and uses athleticism and quickness to get around blockers while keeping eyes on ball carrier.

    He is instinctive in most aspects of the position and maintains gap responsibilities and doesn't often bite on play action.

    He is one of the more intimidating inside linebacker prospects in recent memory and plays with a mean streak, and his intense playing style has drawn comparisons to Ray Lewis.

    He is versatile enough to play in multiple schemes in the NFL, and has a reasonably high ceiling if he can keep his head on straight and maintain his conditioning.

    That is the good, now the bad. His combine workouts were terrible (5.09-40, 8'8" broad and 30" vertical).

    His pro day workouts were not much better either. He only benched 225 16 times which is low for a linebacker of his size. He ran again on March 30 and posted a 4.80, and he was down to 245 pounds.

    He has been labeled a head-case that loses control, and he has received penalties on the field for losing control.

    With all that said, he is a good football player that needs a coach to keep him focused. This is where Dennis Allen comes into play. He will help get the most out of this young man and I think the Raiders will end up with one of the biggest steals in the draft.

Sixth Round: Cordarro Law (6’2”, 261) OLB/DE Southern Mississippi

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    He has a great first step and fires off the ball very well and is excellent at anticipating the snap of the ball. A handful to block, very quick and powerful when engaging with offensive linemen.

    Good pass rush ability and knows how to get after the passer and does whatever it takes to get a sack. He has solid closing speed; when he gets close to the quarterback there's a good chance that he'll get the sack.

    He is very adept at forcing turnovers; his pass rush ability makes quarterbacks throw the ball early for interceptions or hold on to it where he can force a fumble. He is very good at penetrating the line of scrimmage and finishing plays there, as he had 22 tackles for a loss in 2011.

    He always plays at full speed and has a relentless motor. He never gives up on plays and is always pushing himself to get better. He is football smart and has great awareness and a high IQ. He should be able to contribute as a situational pass rusher early in his career.

    This guy really turned it up last season and will contribute this season. I think in a year or two, quarterbacks are going to hate this guy when they play the Raiders.

    That is the unknown. Now lets look at the undrafted free agents that I see the Raiders bringing in.

Jordan Bernstine (5'11", 210) SS Iowa

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    This guy is a flat-out baller. The only thing that is stopping him from being drafted is his injury concerns. He was one of the hardest hitters in college football last year.

    He had a very good pro day. He ran a 4.34 40 yard dash along with flashing a 41 inch vertical leap, and a 10-7 broad jump. He also showed upper-body strength by benching 225 pounds 18 times.

    The Raiders hosted him for a private workout on April 12. Reggie is going to bring this guy back as a UDFA and give him a shot at making the team.

Steven Baker (6'8", 315) RT East Carolina

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    This big man is so unknown that I had to go with the ECU logo instead of a photo of him. The interesting thing about this guy is he has great size but only started his senior season after an injury. He is very athletic and is a project to say the least.

    The Raiders brought him in for a visit. There is something there with this guy, so I see them bringing him back as a UDFA.

Darius Fleming (6'2", 245) OLB Notre Dame

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    This guy is the perfect definition of a "tweener." He has experience playing in both a two- and three-point stance. He could add depth to the linebacking corps or be a good special teams guy.

Get It Done!

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    Mark, Reggie and Dennis will have to hit a home run this year to help the team win. They will have their work cut out for them with their first pick coming at the end of the third round.

    I think they will.