LAST SEASON Rush Offense - 88.8 ypg (28th)
Pass Offense - 255.3 ypg (8th)
Total Offense - 344.0 ypg (18th)
Scoring Offense - 18.1 ppg (26th)
Rush Defense - 118.6 ypg (18th)
Pass Defense - 235.9 ypg (20th)
Total Defense - 354.5 ypg (18th)
Scoring Defense - 27.7 ppg (28th) MOST PRESSING NEEDS Offense: A healthy McFadden and right tackle
Defense: Pass rusher, linebacker and secondary
Quarterback The Draft Board
5th round Matt Scott, Arizona (6-2, 213),
Zac Dysert, Miami, OH (6-3, 231) 6th round Jordan Rodgers, Vanderbilt (6-1, 212)
No two quarterbacks for the same NFL franchise could be more different than starter Carson Palmer and backup Terrelle Pryor. Neither are the long-term solution, but fixing other holes makes more sense than adding a third quarterback to the mix early, especially with no second-round pick. Not to mention that Palmer has another solid year or two left, as long as he stays healthy.
There are a few late-round options, including Scott. The Arizona product made the most of his one season playing in a spread scheme. He's cool, athletic and poised under pressure. Dysert is more gunslinger than pocket passer, but he would be the consummate No. 3 quarterback behind both Palmer and Pryor.
Running Back The Draft Board
3rd round Stepfan Taylor, Stanford (5-9, 214) 4th round Mike Gillislee, Florida (5-11, 208) 5th round Zac Stacy, Vanderbilt (5-8, 216) 6th round Ray Graham, Pitt (5-9, 199),
Knile Davis, Arkansas (5-10, 227),
Dennis Johnson, Arkansas (5-8, 212) 7th round George Winn, Cincinnati (5-10, 218)
Darren McFadden hasn't played more than 13 games in a season and he's the best offensive player the Raiders possess. GM Reggie McKenzie said he's not going to move McFadden, but the team desperately needs players. Given McKenzie's stance on keeping McFadden, the Raiders will hope to get one full season out of the former Arkansas star. There's not much behind him and virtually no money under the salary cap, so they need to find some mid- to late-round options to back up McFadden.
The old regime would've drafted Onterrio McCalebb, but he's not what the Raiders need. Stepfan Taylor and Mike Gillislee spent the week with the Raiders staff at the Senior Bowl and were impressive. Given McFadden's inability to stay healthy, they are attractive because they're workhorses and as reliable as they come. Zac Stacy might be shorter, but he's patient, tough and strong between the tackles. Graham will be two years removed from his knee injury by mid-season. He's quicker than fast, using his jump cut to make people miss inside, and he's a good receiver. Knile Davis is an enigma. He's a big back with 4.37 speed and has a huge chip on his shoulder to prove he's better than a sixth-round selection. Winn is pure power and solid seventh-round value.
Potential means it hasn't been done yet and that sums up the Raiders' receivers. A ton of potential that hasn't produced. Is that day coming? Not soon enough. Regardless, given the fact that the team has no second round selection and major questions at a number of other spots, wide receiver can't be a draft-day priority. Adding a seasoned veteran would make more sense than a late-round rookie.
Tight End The Draft Board
5th round Nick Kasa, Colorado (6-6, 269) 6th round Philip Lutzenkirchen, Auburn (6-3, 258),
Michael Williams, Alabama (6-5, 269) 7th round Jack Doyle, Western Kentucky (6-6, 254)
Brandon Myers was Carson Palmer's top target in 2012, but he's an unrestricted free agent. As a tight end, he won't command a ton of money, but it might be enough to keep the Raiders from making a legitimate offer. The other roster guys, Richard Gordon and David Ausberry, won't remind anyone of Tony Gonzalez or Anthonio Gates (combined nine catches last year). The position needs an upgrade, but not as much as the defense.
Nick Kasa was a defensive end in 2011 and moved over to tight end in 2012. He sometimes catches the ball like a defensive end. When he manages to catch it, he can fly. Drafting him in the fifth round would be good value. Philip Lutzenkirchen missed much of the 2012 season after a knee injury, but he has great hands and can line up all over the field.
Offensive line The Draft Board
2nd round RT Kyle Long, Oregon (6-6, 313),
RT Menelik Watson, Florida St. (6-5, 310) 3rd round T Terron Armstead, Arkansas Pine-Bluff (6-5, 304),
RT David Bakhtiari, Colorado (6-4, 299) 4th round G/T Brian Winters, Kent St. (6-4, 320),
T/G David Quessenberry, SJSU (6-4, 295),
T Jordan Mills, La. Tech (6-5, 316) 5th round G Garrett Gilkey, Chadron St. (6-6, 314),
RT Reid Fragel, Ohio State (6-8, 308),
RT Ricky Wagner, Wisconsin (6-6, 308)
The Raiders need help at right tackle. At No. 3 in the draft, they will more than likely have their pick, minus Luke Joeckel. But taking a future star left tackle like Eric Fisher and putting him on the right side doesn't make a ton of sense. The other thought is to draft Fisher and move Jared Veldheer to the right side. That's then putting a rookie on the blind side and forcing Veldheer to adjust to playing the right side. The good news is that there are solid middle-of-the-draft options at right tackle and even at guard if the Raiders choose to upgrade opposite Mike Brisiel.
The Raiders desperately need a second-round pick. If they get one, Kyle Long is the perfect choice. He wants to be known as Kyle, not Howie's son, and right tackle would give him his own identity. Menelik Watson won't be a relative unknown for long, but the former basketball player is still learning the game. The Raiders coached Terron Armstead at the Senior Bowl and no offensive lineman has the same physical gifts.
Defensive line The Draft Board
1st round DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida (6-3, 297),
DE Damontre Moore, Texas A&M (6-5, 250),
DE Bjoern Werner, Florida St. (6-3, 266),
DE Ziggy Ansah, BYU (6-5, 271),
DE Barkevious Mingo, LSU (6-4, 241) 2nd round DE Sam Montgomery, LSU (6-5, 260) 3rd round DE Corey Lemonier, Auburn (6-3, 255) 4th round DE Lavar Edwards, LSU (6-4, 277)
The Raiders have three unrestricted free agents on the defensive line and one got arrested over Combine weekend (Desmond Bryant). The problem, as noted above, is that cash isn't in abundance in Oakland, but re-signing either Matt Shaughnessy or Andre Carter or both should be a priority for the team. LaMarr Houston led the team with under five sacks last year, so finding someone, anyone who has some speed off the edge to rush the quarterback is a must.
Sharrif Floyd has steadily improved, but it wasn't until the middle of the season that he took his game to a different level. The No. 3 spot is a bit early, but there will be a ton of interest later in the first round, so the Raiders try to move back. Damontre Moore is a ready-made pass-rusher who would fit well opposite Houston. The transition to 4-3 DE was an all-too-important one for Moore and he's a Day 1 starter for the Raiders if they can't trade down. Werner is stronger at the point of attack, but doesn't have the same burst off the edge. Ziggy Ansah won't go at No. 3, but if the Raiders deal down to accumulate picks, grabbing Ansah in the 11 to 15 range would be an A-plus move.
Linebackers The Draft Board
2nd round ILB Kevin Minter, LSU (6-2, 241),
ILB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame (6-2, 241),
ILB Arthur Brown, Kansas St. (6-0, 241) 3rd round ILB Kiko Alonso, Oregon (6-3, 238),
ILB Jon Bostic, Florida (6-1, 245),
OLB Jamie Collins, Southern Miss (6-3, 245),
OLB Zavier Gooden, Missouri (6-1, 234) 4th round OLB Kevin Reddick, North Carolina (6-1, 243) 6th round OLB Ty Powell, Harding (6-2, 249)
Phillip Wheeler is coming off his best year and is an unrestricted free agent. Coach Dennis Allen said he wants to bring him back. Miles Burris has a long way to go at the Will linebacker spot but he's cheap and should improve. There's no telling what will happen with Rolando McClain and his off-the-field issues, but it's clear he's not the future in the middle. However, the Raiders may have no other option until a draftee from this class takes over. Again, the Raiders have no second round pick currently, but if they're able to procure a second, then one of the top three ILBs should be available in the second round.
Te'o didn't set the track on fire at the combine but he moved well in position drills. He's probably more athletic than he showed and is a solid all-around player. But he's not better than Kevin Minter and Arthur Brown is right there with him. Minter's instincts are better than anyone's in the class. Brown showed up at the combine heavy, then didn't run or test on the field. But when he's right, he makes plays all over the field. Jon Bostic and Jamie Collins starred at the combine. Bostic is slow to read and react from the middle, but he can fly. Collins had a double-digit sack season but it was lost in the Southern Miss nightmare.
Secondary The Draft Board
1st round CB Dee Milliner, Alabama (6-0, 201),
CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State (6-2, 210) 2nd round CB Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State (6-2, 185),
CB Jordan Poyer, Oregon State (6-0, 191) 3rd round CB Robert Alford, SELA (5-10, 188),
CB David Amerson, NC State (6-1, 205) 4th round S Shawn Williams, Georgia (6-0, 213) 5th round CB D.J. Hayden, Houston (5-11, 191) 6th round CB Marc Anthony, Cal (5-11, 196)
The focus for the secondary is to find cornerbacks. A lot of them. The Raiders have such a dearth of cornerbacks that Taiwan Jones, drafted as a running back, will compete for playing time.
It will take guts to pick a corner at No. 3, but the Raiders are desperate. Dee Milliner will have surgery after the combine on his shoulder, but should be ready by training camp. He can play both man and zone, tackles well, breaks on the football, competes his tail off and has improved every season. He's not a lockdown corner, but is way ahead of every other corner on the board. Xavier Rhodes is a freak at his size and speed, but there were moments it appeared he was going through the motions. In press man, he'll match any receiver in the league with his size and strength. The coaching staff got a chance to watch Robert Alford at the Senior Bowl and he impressed. He's not a ready-made starter, but should develop into a guy likethe Ravens' Ladarius Webb. D.J. Hayden is a tricky one given the injury he sustained in November (tore his inferior vena cava, the vein that carries blood to the heart), but he should be 100 percent by training camp.
John Harris hosts The John Harris Show for Yahoo! Sports Radio.
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