After analyzing the draft needs of all 32 teams, PFT will review how well each team addressed those needs. Up next: The Oakland Raiders.
Who they got:
Round 1: D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston.
Round 2: Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State.
Round 3: Sio Moore, LB, Connecticut.
Round 4: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas.
Round 6: Nick Kasa, TE, Colorado.
Round 6: Latavius Murray, RB, UCF.
Round 6: Mychal Rivera, TE, Tennessee.
Round 6: Stacy McGee, DT, Oklahoma.
Round 7: Brice Butler, WR, San Diego State.
Round 7: David Bass, DE, Missouri Western.
Where they hit: Hayden, who survived a freakish life-threatening internal injury suffered in November, could be the Raiders’ top cornerback in short order. With the second-rounder acquired from Miami, the Raiders added Watson, a tackle prospect with upside. Moore is a good scheme fit, and Wilson could prove a very good value if he plays to his best collegiate form.
Where they missed: The Raiders didn’t draft a defensive lineman until Round Six. There’s playing time to be had for ends Bass and Jack Crawford (2012 fifth-rounder) and tackles McGee and Christo Bilukidi (2012 sixth-rounder) behind the Raiders’ veteran starters, but Oakland could use a little more help at both line positions. In McKenzie’s defense, the Raiders have numerous needs, and on first analysis, he did quite well to add talent and depth in this draft.
Impact rookies: Given the state of the Raiders’ roster, all 10 drafted rookies have a chance to make the team, and several could earn game-day snaps of consequence in Year One, so we’re going to cast a slightly wider net than usual here.
Hayden has the best shot to start. He should compete with Tracy Porter and Mike Jenkins right off the bat. Moore is also a player to watch; the Raiders have revamped their LB corps this offseason but don’t have any standouts. A talented fresh face has a chance to make an impact early at this position. Watson’s best opportunity to start in 2013 is at right tackle, but that’s no sure thing, given his lack of experience.
Rivera is a potential sleeper, given the Raiders’ lack of a clear-cut top target at tight end after the departure of Brandon Myers. And then we come to Wilson. Matt Flynn will get first run at the starting job. Wilson will have to be a quick study to challenge Flynn and Terrelle Pryor. However, it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
Long-term prospects: Give McKenzie credit — this roster has improved at numerous positions compared to where it stood earlier in the spring. In the best-case scenario for the Raiders’ Class of 2013, these three things happen: 1) Hayden is a starter-caliber player from the get-go; 2) Watson and Wilson build on their potential; 3) the Day Three picks other than Wilson provide solid depth, with one or two panning out better than Oakland expected.
Make no mistake: the Raiders have a lot of catching up to do in the AFC West. However, there’s vast opportunity for some young players to seize some key roles. The Raiders have to hope more than a few rise to the occasion.