COMMENTARY | In less than a week, the NFL draft will be on every fan's television (or should be) as teams look to rebuild for their futures.
The Oakland Raiders are doing nothing else but rebuilding right now and with seven picks in his arsenal, general manager Reggie McKenzie will look to work some of the draft magic he had in Green Bay.
The Raiders need to address several issues in the draft and without a second- or fifth-round pick, trading down remains a definite possibility.
Assuming Oakland keeps its third overall pick, here is my final mock draft of the season:
Round 1 (3): Ezekiel Ansah, DE/OLB, BYUIt's no secret the Raiders need to address their defensive line, first and foremost in this year's draft. The Raiders dumped Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly in the offseason and although the team has compiled a heap of dead money because of it, the Raiders continue to get younger.
Ezekiel Ansah was a stud at BYU, and Raiders head coach Dennis Allen got a great look at him and his raw talent at this year's Senior Bowl.
Ansah has the explosiveness to vastly improve Oakland's defensive line on the end, and his track-star speed adds to his rising draft value.
He would be a great compliment opposite Lamarr Houston.
Round 3 (66): Darius Slay, CB, Mississippi StateThe Raiders were able to temporarily patch up their problems at cornerback by signing Tracy Porter and Mike Jenkins to one-year deals.
However, neither of them seem like long-term solutions, so Oakland needs to look for a cornerback in the third round.
Darius Slay had a great NFL combine by running a 4.36 in the 40-yard dash, one of the best of all the defensive back prospects. He also had a quietly successful final season at Mississippi State next to fellow cornerback Johnthan Banks, who stole the spotlight.
Round 4 (100): Barrett Jones, OL, AlabamaAlabama's Barrett Jones is one of the most versatile linemen in this year's draft. Under Nick Saban, Jones played anywhere and everywhere on the offensive line.
Oakland re-signed Khalif Barnes in the offseason just to build depth on the struggling right side of the line. I mean, there was really no other reason to re-sign him.
Jones' versatility makes him a great pick in the fourth round for the Raiders.
Round 6 (172): Kenjon Barner, RB, OregonAs it stands, the Raiders' backfield consists of a very injury-prone Darren McFadden and newly signed Rashad Jennings.
Need I say more?
Jennings averaged only 2.8 yards per carry last season, and there's no way the Raiders can be confident in his abilities to be successful if (and when) McFadden goes down again.
Kenjon Barner had a stellar career at Oregon and will provide some much-needed depth in Oakland's backfield.
Round 6 (176): Conner Vernon, WR, DukeWith Darrius Heyward-Bey out of the picture, the Raiders need to address their issue at wide receiver.
Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford are both young, exciting receivers, but injuries and dropped passes have prevented both of them from reaching their full potential in the NFL.
Conner Vernon had a stellar season at Duke last year, finishing with over 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns.
The Raiders have three picks in the sixth round and need to fix their wide receiver issues with at least one of those picks.
Round 6 (205): Michael Mauti, LB, Penn StateMichael Mauti's career at Penn State defines toughness. After tearing his ACL in 2011, Mauti bounced back in 2012 and was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award in the midst of the Jerry Sandusky scandal that plagued the Nittany Lions.
Mauti finished top 10 in the Big Ten in tackles, interceptions and forced fumbles.
The only cause for concern here is his health, but this late in the draft the Raiders need to take him if he's available.
Round 7 (219): Nick Kasa, TE, ColoradoWith the departure of Brandon Myers, the Raiders need to address their lack of depth at the tight end position.
David Ausberry is sure to be the guy when the regular season begins, but Nick Kasa would be a good move with their last pick in the draft.
Steven Slivka is a Freelance Writer for the Oakland Raiders. You can follow him on Twitter @StevenSlivka.
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