As our mock draft rolls into its third day, we have seen a pair of quarterbacks come off the board early, as well as a pair of pass-rushers who should make instant impacts on their respective defenses. With the first pick of the day and the 5th selection overall, I'm addressing what I think the Oakland Raiders and their General Manager, Reggie McKenzie, will do.
The Raiders had three different quarterbacks start games for them in 2013: rookie Matt McGloin (9 starts), Terrelle Pryor (6), and Packers legend Matt Flynn (1). However, they traded with the Texans for Matt Schaub this off-season, so QB is not as critical a need as one would think.
The rest of the offense is.
At running back, the oft-injured Darren McFadden returns on a one-year deal to try to stay healthy for yet another year, while Rashad Jennings departed for the Giants in free agency. The receiving corps consists of former Packer James Jones and a couple of young receivers in Rod Streater and Denarius Moore who I can best describe as "meh." The Raiders also added long-time Buccaneer Donald Penn to man the left tackle position (after the Rodger Saffold craziness fell through) and former Jet Austin Howard to occupy right tackle.
On defense, the Raiders made a number of free agent acquisitions (and had their share of losses). On the defensive line, they added veterans Lamarr Woodley, Justin Tuck, and Antonio Smith, while losing Lamarr Houston to the Bears. Their secondary has a new look this year, with Carlos Rodgers and Tarell Brown crossing the bay from San Francisco. At linebacker, all three primary starting linebackers from a year ago return.
With the 5th overall pick, the Oakland Raiders select:
Player: Sammy Watkins
Position: Wide Receiver
Auburn tackle Greg Robinson is very tempting here, but the Raiders did just spent a substantial amount of money on two tackles in free agency. What they lack is a true playmaker on offense (apologies to James Jones). Watkins instantly gives the Raiders a player who is a threat to reach the end zone on every play. Watkins can play outside or in the slot, and the combination of his youth and talent along with James Jones' toughness and experience will allow the Raiders to be both more dynamic and more consistent at the same time.
Teddy Bridgewater was another player whom I seriously considered, but Schaub still has a few functional years left and I can see the Raiders taking a wait-and-see approach to the quarterback position, possibly looking towards a Derek Carr or Jimmy Garappolo or Zach Mettenberger in the second or third rounds instead.
In my opinion, Watkins is one of the most complete receivers to come out of college football in a while, and the Raiders should be happy to have him. If all three of Watkins, Robinson, and Bridgewater were to have the same grade, wide receiver seems the biggest need for Oakland, and I think Reggie McKenzie will recognize that.
Round One Summary
|1||Houston Texans||Blake Bortles||QB||Central Florida|
|2||St. Louis Rams||Jadeveon Clowney||DE||South Carolina|
|3||Jacksonville Jaguars||Khalil Mack||OLB||Buffalo|
|4||Cleveland Browns||Johnny Manziel||QB||Texas A&M|
|5||Oakland Raiders||Sammy Watkins||WR||Clemson|