Raiders fans rejoice! Reggie McKenzie had a brilliant day for the Raiders by not only drafting DJ Hayden but also adding the 10th pick in the second round. McKenzie basically recouped the pick that Hue Jackson mortgaged away for the mediocre Carson Palmer. Getting the second round pick in this draft is particularly important because many analysts believe that the top 50 picks are all pretty similar to each other. Luckily there are plenty of players left that can fill some immediate needs for the Raiders this year. The biggest areas of need for the Raiders are running back, tight end, offensive line, defensive line, and safety. Reggie McKenzie has made it clear that he will take the best player available no matter what position they play so the Raiders have plenty of options in the second round. I have made a list of the top 8 players left in the draft and shown how they would fit in the silver and black.Quarterback Geno Smith – I don’t see this as an ideal fit for the Raiders but Geno Smith does have some upside. He would compete with Matt Flynn for the starting job this year but he would most likely be the #2 quarterback going into training camp. Ideally the Raiders would pass on Geno Smith if he is available.
Running back Eddie Lacy – Lacy would be the perfect complement with Darren McFadden in the backfield. The Raiders would have another thunder and lightning type backfield that could compare with Bush/McFadden, Kaufman/Wheatley, and Garner/Wheatley. We all know that McFadden is not the most durable running back so it would be great to have another talented running back in the backfield. Lacy could also be insurance for McFadden just in case he leaves in free agency after next year.
Tight End Zach Ertz – The 6’5 249 pound tight end would start immediately for the silver and black. Although he lacks top end speed he does find a knack for getting open. Hopefully he can be the next Zach Miller type who can be the quarterback’s safety blanket but can also open up holes for Darren McFadden. The Raiders need to find a tight end in this draft and if Ertz falls to them he would be hard to pass up.
Defensive Tackle Johnathan Jenkins – The 6’4 350 pound nose tackle would start immediately for the Raiders. If the Raiders were to draft Jenkins it would be clear that they are planning to run a 3-4 defense next season. The Raiders do have enough versatile players in their front seven now to be able to run the 3-4 so it wouldn’t be a total surprise if they took Jenkins.
Defensive End Margus Hunt – The massive 6’8 Hunt could immediately be a JJ Watt like presence for the silver and black next season. Not only is Hunt massive but he was the third fastest defensive lineman at the combine. He would be able to knock down passes as well as help contain the edge for the Raiders defense. Hunt did not even pick up football until a few years ago because he originally went to SMU to play track and field. The only issue with Hunt is that he is 26 years old which makes him ancient for draft prospects.
Defensive End Damontre Moore – Moore has been one of the biggest fallers in this year’s NFL draft. A few months ago, many scouts had him as a top 10 pick. Damontre would be perfect for Dennis Allen’s hybrid defensive scheme because he can line up as a 3-4 outside linebacker and as a defensive end in a 4-3 scheme. He would immediately become the best pass rusher for the Oakland Raiders. Although Moore is talented, his poor attitude will probably keep him off the team.
Middle Linebacker Manti Te'o – Although it might be awkward that his ex-girlfriends cousin Marques Tuiasosopo used to play for the Raiders. All Kidding aside, Manti Te’o could compete with Nick Roach as the Raiders starting middle linebacker this year. Te’o has shown great instincts and has shown that he can be a ball hawk in coverage. He is a high character guy who would help change the culture in the locker room and I would not be surprised if he is on Reggie McKenzie’s shortlist.
Safety John Cyprien – Cyprien is considered the second best safety in this draft and would join Tyvon Branch as the hardest hitting Safeties the Raiders have had since Atkinson and Tatum (Nowhere close to as hard hitting but the hardest since). The Raiders would have a good young core at defensive back if he were to join the silver and black. The problem with Cyprien is he is more of a strong safety which would make either Branch or him move to free safety.
By Jorge Contreras
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