NFL Draft 2011 Results: The Oakland Raiders Saturday Evening Recap of Selections. A Nation Divided?

RAIDERS 2011 DRAFT PICKS

Round Pick Player Position
2 16 (48) Wisniewski, Stefen  OL
 
3 17 (81) Van Dyke, Demarcus  DB
 
3 28 (92) Barksdale, Joseph  OL
(From Patriots)
4 16 (113) Chekwa, Chimdi  DB
 
4 28 (125) Jones, Taiwan  RB
(From Patriots)
5 17 (148) Moore, Denarius  WR
 
6 16 (181) Gordon, Richard  TE
 
7 38 (241) Ausberry, David  WR
(Compensatory Selection)

I last posted on the many uncertainties in this, the 2011 NFL Draft, inherent with Al Davis, our Oakland Raiders, new coach Hue Jackson and the implications of the lockout getting lifted and work ordered to resume only to be summarily ordered to stop again per the stay granted the NFL owners from the appeals court. An overwhelming poll result said Wisniewski would be the likeliest Raider amongst our pre-draft discussions and was correct--no big surprise given that almost everyone was saying it. It wasn't, however, the sexy, vanity pick of the group we all imagined. I do believe Demarcus Van Dyke was predicted by many as the more likely guy over the very popular Buster Skrines in our mocks, and he fits that track star description pundits continue to accurately prognosticate as Al's picks. Obviously with all the uncertainty, there are some things we know about the Raiders that always ring true. As it turns out, we were way off on a few things as well. One could argue as much energy was spent prospecting OLBs and though I was among voices screaming it remains a weakness for us, a few of us, including noontide who left no stone unturned, had reservations the organization was not so in agreement--at least as far as the draft is concerned.

While I won't grade the draft here, I will poll us to see how we feel we emerged this time around, and take a brief look at each pick with projections on how they might fit the 2011 Oakland Raiders, or if they'll be the next Stryker Sulaks and Slade Norris's that don't ultimately make the cut. At the end of the day, whether we like the picks or not, the true measure of their worth will be in their ability to make the roster or lack thereof.

You know the drill: hit the jump to read on!

Stefen Wisniewski, C, Penn St., 6'3, 313. 22

What a way to start. Jackson has already made statements to indicate he'll be the center. A year ago, Saint, Sons, and Spirals heard Satele get the nod of approval from none other than Jim Otto. This looks to mean he'll be kicked out to Guard, as some of us speculated in determining the young Wiz' compatibility with us. It seems a perfect natural fit. The only real digs on him are lacking the ideal lower body strength to excel at this level, but his motor and how he approaches the game in Wisniewski fashion and finishes plays make it likely he'll be a missing link for our offensive front. Read here on noontide's BREAKDOWN OF WIZ

I was ecstatic with this first pick, as I believe most of the Nation is, but some might've had Ben Ijalana ahead of Wiz on their boards. The bloodline alone is enough reason in my book to make this a better decision. I can see Stefen doing a fine job of getting to the second level springing some long ones for McFadden and Bush, and bolstering the pass blocking by bringing what a great center can bring to a solid pass blocking unit. This also frees up Satele to move to Guard, where he'll be an immediate improvement over Cooper Carlisle, and a nice replacement to Gallery. This bully just got meaner right up front, where opponents will attempt to punch us in the nose; this should help us to do more of the punching in the opponents' mouths.

Here's a link to a video from Raiders.com with Jim Otto regarding our 48th overall: OTTO ON WIZ

Demarcus Van Dyke, CB,6'1", 176. Miami

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...this is the sexy pick and the burner. A few of us were pretty vocal about Buster Skrines, while a couple others said it would be this guy. None of us likes the implications taking multiple defensive backs has on the Nnamdi situation, but crying Chicken Little at this junction makes little sense. Still, the worse news we've gotten since the draft began was that the lifting of the lockout would be short-lived and that these guys won't be coming to the facilities Monday. My biggest dig on the guy is his weight. Will he immediately return for us? How does this guy figure into our secondary? Here's noontide's recent BREAKDOWN ON DVD. A 4.28 40???? Like it or not, one thing is for sure: the greatest D backs in history, one of whom is our cornerbacks coach, was among the fastest guys to play the game as well. We also know Al loves his defensive backs. So this one got this pick out of the way, right? I'm among about a nine percent majority that approves the pick, for now, with big expectations on our second overall...

Overall, again, the biggest problem I have with this pick is that there are myriad other guys I'd have taken there, namely, a game changing OLB, but again, if the organization isn't on the same page with a lot of us here regarding the position, we're crying over spilled milk. I'll remain hopeful that something has been going on and Al and Hue know of a certain free agent who will return. I hope it doesn't indicate we feel we are good at Will and Sam entering the season.

Joseph Barksdale, OT, 6'5", 325, LSU.

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As I read from someone here ealier today, he does look like a younger Langston Walker. This 28th overall pick in the third from the Patriots at 92 is my second favorite pick to Wisniewski. A big strong kid that lots of mocks had us taking with our first pick or even second one in the third round, big Joe rounded out my wish to come away with at least two lineman, and also attempted to address it with a guy who can perhaps make a bid for the RT spot. The first blurb in noontide's BREAKDOWN ON BIG JOE highlights a major concern on his ability to pass block. If he's a step slow at times in college, things don't look promising for him in this league. I believe we'll ultimately have to kick him inside, and he at the least provides depth at the RT spot, and might figure to be a solid guard in the future. I'm still a little bummed we didn't go after Cannon with a later pick, and that NE did, but we'll need guys right away. I am happy that NE's moves make it probable some of their talent up front becomes free agent talent that I hope we consider for real. It looks as though we're now checking in about 65 % approval on this pick. While it may not thrill many folks, there's really not much to hate about the pick or the kid. I look forward to seeing what he brings to the table, and hope to see some action in camp and preseason. Let's hope this kid's work ethic is a little more like the more recent Tiger to join our team... Hey Sons, what was his caveat index???? never mind. I don't wanna know...

Chimdi Chekwa, 6'0", 190, CB, Ohio St.

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Is it me, or does he look high right here? Nice mug shot, bro! Gotta collect myself here... Well it appears I'm in the minority who disapproves with this one, namely for my questions in his ability to man up. His resume does however make him look like a nice nickel back, perhaps against multiple receiver sets and slot guys, and in dimes maybe as an additional cover safety. Here's noontide's BREAKDOWN ON CHIMDI

What can I say when his scouting reports are filled with: "can be.... gets a bit this.... too high... is blank but..." And the kicker: "will be overdrafted because of his size/speed numbers."

Touche. Done talking about this guy for now. Let's just say I find moderate solace in that we have more picks than I anticipated we would, and we already got our two blockers. I said I'd be happy if we got two blockers and addressed the OLB spot...something to help with that inability to stop the run with any consistency. We will eventually do that, right? or will we...

Taiwan Jones, 6'0" 198, RB Eastern Washington

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via static.nfl.com

Interestingly enough, the discussion here on noontide's BREAKDOWN ON TAIWAN turns quickly to a discussion about how this pick probably could've better been an OLB to help out with this perceived notion we have here that our guys can't stop the run. It ultimately settles on how this speedy, soft-handed addition to our already prolific offense will create matchup problems and be a nice spell RB and that our improved offense and our defensive line gelling and improving will help the rush defense. Okay... not sure I'm buying what they're selling there, but I like how we don't get all sour grapey when we find ourselves to be wrong about the organization's decisions, and somehow find a positive and a reason to believe they did good. Also, I'm with the voices who say there's not too much of anyone else we desperately wanted (OLB being the exception, any OLB!), and that some had this kid valued much higher than late fourth. I also kinda relegated myself to the possiblity when someone here posted on his workout, and how he ran sub 4.3. Okay. I voted approved, and we're just under 70% there. I must admit, I am a bit puzzled, as the signings of Cartwright and Bennett, the likely return of Michael Bush and recent addition of Rankin back to the practice squad, whom I believe fits nicely in Hue's offense as depth, and of course the studly DMac. I guess you can't really wait until the late rounds to take the fastest guys if you want 'em. Moving on...

Denarius Moore, 6'0" 194, WR, Tennessee

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Okay, I knew we'd have some sprinters drafted, but didn't think we'd get a relay team in the first six picks. At least the other two are linemen. Hate on Mayock for yelling "height, weight, speed..." when the Oakland Raiders are mentioned all you want, but he might be onto something considering these guys are all within five pounds of each other, right around six feet, and run in the low 4.3s. Here's noontide's BREAKDOWN ON MOORE. The numbers don't lie, and this is why these four picks--though a majority of us remarkably approved of them all--leave an odd taste in our mouths. It does appear that most of us, despite that familiar bad taste, are prepared to back up Hue Jackson. It might just be that we don't wish to believe he is the latest Al Davis lackey. At any rate, it's too early to say, and I'm not one to project doom and gloom until it's manifested itself on the field. The positive is, we're getting into later picks here, and we also know we need help at the WR spot. It's no longer prudent to believe Chaz will ever remain healthy for an entire season, and this guy, limitations and all, might just figure a nice third option, both lined up slot, and maybe in motion. I like the size, but would have preferred someone who fit the possession receiver mold a little better. All in all, though, I'm okay with this pick. We certainly are no longer starved for returners after Ford, and there's no danger of a backup FB having to perform those duties. He's currently looking about 60% approved here by voters; let's hope it's not because the poll listed the last name of a guy and made voters think it was a misspelling of his first name (I'm kidding, of course!).

Richard Gordon, 6'4", 266. TE, Miami.

Here's a link to noontide's BREAKDOWN ON GORDON and a link to an AP article on Mercury news: LINK.

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I love this pick. It's another blocker to help this bully establish dominance and exertion of our offensive will on opponents. Kinda looks like Lawrence Taylor in the pic: a little intimidating and kinda says 'bully,' huh? We have our nice balanced, excellent pass-catching TE in Miller, and this guy will add a nice addition to the other side and in jumbo formations. While noontide mentioned he can replace Khalif, I can envision him being used in addition to Khalif in those three tight end jumbo sets in short yardage, and I can imagine us being stronger with the influx of line talent as well. Excited about the group of blockers up front. I believe this draft is a home run alone in that we addressed the most glaring weakness we have in O line. Barely a majority in approval of this pick; I'm less critical of the later ones (still want a certain lb! there's a few on the board!). 

Final pick 241st overall:

David Ausberry, 6'3, 235, WR, USC

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Here's a link to noontide's BREAKDOWN ON AUSBERRY . A small linebacker-sized wideout... hmmm, but what Raider draft is complete without a Trojan? This guy fits the big flanker I talked about in my visions for Hue Jackson's bully--a big body that could act as almost a TE on the flanks, but he's just a few picks away from Mr. irrelevant, and on a deep Trojan roster, saw little action on the NFL's thirty-third squad. Maybe we'll be surprised to see him get any action at all. What do you project for our WR corps this year? Will Murphy emerge as a dominant force? Will Ford get even better? Who will round out our top three, and what will the depth chart look like? Are Johnnie Lee Higgins, Nick Miller, and Todd Watkins finally gone? How about guys named Shaun Bodiford and Damola Adenji? Relegated to practice squad? And does Darrius Heyward-Bey finally earn a rightful roster spot, or do we keep throwing him a bone and wasting it?

I was quite surprised to hear some say that WR isn't a need for us. While I believe in the young talent, the presence of an actual corps has been missing here for quite some time. I hope a few of these guys can prove to be steals and a true corps emerges.

Once again, not happy without an OLB, but I'm remaining hopeful for whatever this season will bring, and am for the moment, trusting the organization to be more right about the linebackers than we speculate. I have no doubt Biekert will have the guys at least playing smarter and making much fewer mistakes, and by midseason to be making plays they weren't before with increased field awareness and ability to quickly read and react. They must learn to work together as well. I'd have to say, I am pleased about the help for the O line, but remain pretty ambivalent about the rest of the draft thus far. Could've been better, could've been worse. Still puzzled about no linebackers, but we will know if that was the right thing to do or not sooner than later, and free agency awaits. I can see it being possible that none of the crop was suitable for the organization, and that we might have our eyes on free agents. At least I hold out hope for the possiblity.

Be sure to check out the video interviews on Raiders.com. All players and coach Jackson weigh in on it all.

Here's a link to Raiders.com Draft Central, for more info: LINK

Raiders Draft History

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