In an ideal situation the Raiders would trade down to get more picks in the upcoming draft. However, it is unlikely that the Raiders would get enough value to trade down. Most pundits have Reggie McKenzie taking Florida defensive tackle Sharif Floyd with the third pick but I think he would select either Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel or Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher. During Reggie McKenzie’s press conference on April 23rd he stated that he would draft the best player available which Joeckel and Fisher clearly are. There has been a lot of talk about the weakness of the Raiders defensive line but the poor play of the offensive line has plagued the franchise for years.
Pairing Joeckel or Fisher with offensive tackle Jared Veldheer will give the Raiders two dominant offensive tackles that could anchor the offensive line for a decade. Not only will they free up holes for Darren McFadden but they will give new quarterback Matt Flynn precious time to find a speedy wide receiver down the field. Giving Matt Flynn the safety net of two great offensive tackles will help his confidence immensely. While the Raiders offensive line play was below average last year, right tackle Khalif Barnes had another atrocious season for the silver and black. Barnes would either commit false starts or holding penalties in key situations which hurt the anemic offense.
Sharif Floyd would help fill a need for the Raiders but he would not be a game changer for the struggling franchise. The Raiders need a player that will help change their identity and I think Joeckel or Fisher would be that type of player. Every great team builds around their big boys up front and this is exactly what Reggie McKenzie would want to do. It is likely that Fisher and Joeckel will be picked with the first two picks but if they are available I expect McKenzie to take one of them.
By Jorge Contreras
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