We have a full slate of Oakland Raiders 2011 NFL Draft grades to dissect. We already discussed Mel Kiper's surprisingly level-headed thoughts yesterday, and as I went through more and more draft grades I found them to be a little more positive than I thought. I fully expected to find a slew of "Al Davis is off his meds" jokes that went something like, "he forgot he was drafting drafting a football team and not a track team."
There were some Al jokes, but they were largely based on the Raiders trade with New England. The Raiders traded their seventh-round selection and their second-round pick in the 2012 Draft for the Patriots third and fourth-round selections. Going strictly by the trade value chart the Raiders got ripped off—even in the almost certain eventuality that the pick will be 32nd in the second-round.
However, the trade value chart is for picks in the same year. Picks in future year's are going to be viewed with declining value. One thing I think people forget is that picks only have value when you use them. It's like money and life—you can't take it with you. Sure this pick will hurt next year, but it will hurt a lot less when the Raiders make another trade with future picks and get back into the second-round. For whatever it's worth the move was greeted with 59 percent approval on our poll. I'll try to remember to ask the question again before next year's draft.
For now, let's just look at the report cards....
Analysis: The Raiders, as expected, added speed on both sides of the ball. You had to expect that. But they failed to add a badly needed developmental quarterback.
Fox has the Raiders coming in at a rock solid B, which is way higher than I grade their rushed draft grades. Really? Their complaint was they didn't add a developmental QB?
Best move: The surprising wideout
Denarius Moore has deceptive speed and is an underrated playmaker. He doesn't have great timed speed, which goes against the Raiders' usual MO, but he is slippery and tracks the vertical pass very well. Moore grew on me and the more tape I watched, the more I liked him.
Most questionable: Getting exploited by the Patriots
The Raiders traded pick No. 219 and a second-round pick in 2012 to the Patriots for picks No. 92 (OT Joe Barksdale) and No. 125 (RB Taiwan Jones). This is typical Raiders, not having a feel for where players are coming off the board and then getting impatient and making bad deals. The Patriots have a habit of exploiting teams like this and there's a reason New England keeps making deals with Oakland. Basically, this became Barksdale for a second-round pick, and that is not appropriate draft behavior.
And I think it is not appropriate draft behavior to forget about Taiwan Jones!
Perhaps the least surprising draft of the year was turned in by the Oakland Raiders. With their first pick, the 48th pick overall, the Raiders selected Penn State star Stefen Wisniewski. If the name sounds familiar, it should, as he's the nephew of former Raider standout Steve Wisniewski. As nice of a story as that is, this is the NFL, not a college fraternity, and legacies don't necessarily warrant a top 50 selection. Of course, Al Davis loves speed and his club drafted precisely that in cornerbacks Demarcus Van Dyke and Chimdi Chekwa, each of whom timed in the 4.3s at the combine. With their second fourth-round pick, the Raiders took another speedster in Eastern Washington's Taiwan Jones. I love Jones' open-field running ability, but with carries split already between Darren McFadden and Michael Bush, where is Jones going to get his touches?
No, Rob Rang, legacies don't warrant top 50 selections, but talent does.
They didn’t have their first-round pick, though the Richard Seymour has worked out well. (We’d argue Seymour has been overpaid, but that’s another matter.) Stefan Wisniewski was a safe legacy pick, but lacks the high ceiling of his Pro Bowl uncle. DeMarcus Van Dyke was a backup in college, but at least the Raiders are now taking their track guys in the third round instead of earlier. Jones saves this somewhat generic draft because he could be a steal and gives an improving Raiders offense another dimension.
Finally a little love for Taiwan.
Best pick: I love third-round pick Joseph Barksdale. He played left tackle at LSU, but will play the right side or guard for the Raiders.
Questionable move: Taking DeMarcus Van Dyke in the third round is a risk. He has great speed, but he is thin. But then again, Al Davis loves speed.
Third-day gem: Fourth-round corner Chimdi Chekwa is a real steal. He will be a better player than Van Dyke.
Analysis: They traded their first-round pick to get Richard Seymour, so they had to wait until the second round. In typical Davis fashion, they took a lot of speed and tough guys.
Joseph Barksdale has a fan! It's fun to see how much people differ on player evaluations. Mr. Prisco hates DvD, but our next guy...
Despite not having a first-round pick, the Raiders were doing pretty well for a while. They filled a huge need at center with Stefen Wisniewski, who could have potentially gone in the first round. They addressed the cornerback position with the underrated DeMarcus Van Dyke. And then... well... Al Davis pulled an Al Davis.
I didn't understand trading for a pick 10 selections ahead of time. That was confusing. The terrible part was that Oakland parted with a 2012 second-round selection. The Raiders were already missing a fourth because of the Jason Campbell deal. So, they better hope they have a really good 2011 season because they won't be able to fill many holes in the 2012 NFL Draft.
In all, I thought Oakland made some really good selections, but my overall grade is going to be relatively low because of the New England trade.
He loves DvD. He is not at all a fan of the trade though, and he'll probably say the same thing next year when the Raiders trade a future pick to get a second-rounder back.