The Oakland Raiders are in full blown rebuilding mode. Or they were. Now they’re actually in “acquiring old talent that makes a 2010 All Star team”. Problem is, it’s not 2010 and having a team led by the likes of Matt Schaub, Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew is no longer impressive. It’s not even cute.
Needless to say, the Raiders have a laundry list of needs heading into the 2014 NFL Draft, and based off of their questionable moves thus far, it may not be long before they have new faces at head coach and in the front office.
Let’s play GM and see what the Raiders should be looking to do come May 8th to make their team better:
Offensive needs: QB, WR, TE
Terrelle Pryor had been traded and Matt McGloin is a backup, at best. The Raiders need to think long and hard about drafting a franchise passer with the 5th overall pick in the first round. If they do, Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles are all very real possibilities. However, word on the street is they’re enamored with Fresno State product, Derek Carr. If so, it’s not completely impossible they just wait and get him in round two.
Wide receiver is also a pretty big need, as Denarius Moore is inconsistent and everyone else is mostly a middling talent. Sammy Watkins would make for a good splash with their first pick, while also filling a need. Mike Evans is certainly a possibility, too, while a deep receiver class could easily have Oakland waiting until the second or third round to try to beef up their passing attack.
Tight end is also an issue, as Mychal Rivera is only decent and no one else on the roster is a long-term solution. Pehaps Austin Seferian-Jenkins or Troy Niklas will be there for the taking in round two or three.
Oakland could also use some depth on the offensive line. They’ve brought in some stop-gaps in free agency, but they could use another guard and tackle. Going with a pure value pick like one of the stud offensive tackles certainly isn’t out of the question to start the draft.
Defensive needs: S, ILB, DT
Charles Woodson is back in Oakland for one more year, but this is probably it for him. He’s no lock to stay healthy all year again, either, so it’s probably time to get another young safety to pair with Tyvon Branch. Oakland won’t do it in the first round, so perhaps they can target someone like Jimmie Ward or Dion Bailey in the second round.
Inside linebacker has been a problem for a while now, so the Raiders will want to address this in the draft. They could shock everyone and take C.J. Mosley at #5, but that’s quite a reach. Chris Borland or Shayne Skov could make sense in the second or third round. Ryan Shazier isn’t an ideal inside linebacker, but if he slides out of the first he’d be pretty tough to pass up.
Defensive tackle is also a need. The Raiders brought back Pat Sims to help stuff the run, but he isn’t an elite pass rusher up the middle. They could target a falling defensive tackle that excels in pursuit, although there should be a pretty big drop-off after round one.
Oakland isn’t going to compete for anything anytime soon. Even if Matt Schaub, McFadden and MJD all regain old forms, they still have the mighty Broncos to contend with. They need to use this draft to land true impact players for the next decade. They should get it started with Sammy Watkins or a franchise passer.
*Photo credit – MC Glasgow via wiki commons.