Recently, Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie said the Raiders were ready to head into the season with Stefen Wisniewski as the starting center. But he went on to say that if the right guy was there when they had their pick, he would take him.
But getting a center in this draft would not just be to replace Wisniewski. At this moment, there is no backup either. And considering the importance of the center position plus the fact that not just anyone can do it at a moment's notice, center is a high priority. Preferably one that can also play guard in case Wisniewski stays at center, the team could find a future starter at guard as well.
There are a few decent options in this draft at center. Here are the best available for the Raiders consideration in this draft.
Quinton Saulsberry, Mississippi State Round 5
Most people see Mike Brewster as the top option for the Raiders at center. And if the Raiders were looking for a pure center, you may be right. But the Raiders aren't sure yet if they want Wisniewski at center and Saulsberry is the probably the most versatile offensive lineman in this draft. He is a four year starter at Mississippi State who didn't miss a game in those four seasons. He played right tackle as a sophomore, both guard positions as a junior and center as a senior. He also is known for being a high character guy who "loves to play football" to use Reggie McKenzie's words. He would love this guy. His one knock is that he lacks size and strength which are both qualites he could easily improve.
Mike Brewster, Ohio State Round 5
With all the top pure centers off the board before the Raiders even had their first pick, the next best thing would be Brewster. He is a smart, tough, competitive four-year starter for the Buckeyes. Scouts have seen everything there is to see from him and rate him as generally average in most areas. He is a safe pick for a team looking for a center but with that comes limited upside. Though he has not played other positions, he has the size and strength to do so.
William Vlachos, Alabama Round 6
Seems a bit of an enigma to some. He doesn't look impressive. He is undersized at 6-0, 300 pounds, with short arms, and isn't seen as being especially athletic. But if you watch him on tape, he always seems to hold his own. He's been called gutsy, scrappy, and blue-collar. But sometimes you just have to ignore the measurable and just look at the results, they speak for themselves. He has shown great proficiency in zone blocking and taking on secondary and downfield assignments.