With the philosophy of "Best Player Available" now about to be fully embraced by the Oakland Raiders and the lack of top tier picks, it was hard to predict who the Raiders will be looking to draft. With that in mind I am compiling this list with who in my opinion is the best player who will be available when the Raiders pick.
Yes, Al lived by the best player available policy all along, the difference being it was who HE saw as the best player-- scout consensus be damned. Now we have a GM in place who is going to be looking at a whole array of different components while deciding who he believes is the best available. No disrespect to Al but it seemed like if you were a track star or a workout warrior you were going to be predicted to be a Raider and it usually came to fruition. Now we will look at more than just the workout numbers, we will be looking at intangibles and attitudes more than ever before.
3rd Round Overall Pick #95 (COMP): Greg Childs, WR Arkansas/ Childs is a player that had a serious injury that ended his 2011 campaign pushing him to be a projected 5th round pick before his impressive pro day brought him back up to a possible 3/4 round pick. At 6'2 215lbs Childs has decent size with excelent hands. If he had played his whole 2011 season he was likely to become a 1st or 2nd round pick. He is a value pick at 95 and there is no doubt in my mind that he would be the best player available if he was still on the board when we pick.
4th Round Overall Pick #129 (COMP): Tony Bergstrom, OL Utah/ This is a behemoth of a man at 6'4 313lbs which is not exactly what you look for in a ZBS but he has the quickness to be effective. I would move him inside to a G position, which he showed he was able to do at the Senior Bowl. He has started 3 years at RT for Utah though and could challenge Barnes and Barksdale at that position if we chose to keep him on the outside.. He went on a 2 year mission so he is a little older at 26. He would be a solid pick if available at the end of the 4th round, very mature and good character. We need to add more depth at the OL yet and this is a guy that would be able to fill multiple positions.
A second option for this pick would be Jonathon Massoquoi, a 6'2 262lb OLB out of Troy. He had 31 tackles for losses and 19.5 sacks in two years playing lesser talent in the Sun Belt Conference. He is strong and agile but a bit of an unknown quantity due to his lesser competition. If Bergstrom is gone he would be my choice, and could possibly be the choice anyway due to OLB being a more pressing need.
5th Round Overall Pick #148: Tank Carder TCU LB/ Ricky "Tank" Carder is a fighter. He plays with all heart and even though he is undersized at only 236/bs he is as tough as it gets. He was in a horrible car accident in the 7th grade that would have ended most people's hopes of ever playing sports with a broken back and punctured lung, but he overcame that to be a very productive player on a very aggressive TCU defense. He can play 4-3 outside linebacker or 3-4 inside linebacker making him an excellent fit for a hybrid defense. He impressed the hell out of me in the 2011 Rose Bowl when he was a menace against my Wisconsin Badgers, including the game clinching pass break up near the end of the game.
5th Round Overall Pick #168 (COMP): Terrance Gannaway Baylor RB/ This guy is a beast and stole the show in the 2011 Valero Alamo Bowl with 246 yards rushing against Texas Tech. He is a 6ft 239lb bruiser of a running back which is something we do not have at this moment. He wants to run over people which would make him a great addition as a short yardage back, especially in a one cut and go zone blocking scheme.
6th Round Overall Pick #189 (COMP): DaJohn Harris DT USC/ The main reason Harris is likely to still be available this late is because a Cleveland Browns doctor found a heart defect at the combine. The defect is known as patent foramen ovale, AKA "PFO", which is a flap or valve-like opening that everybody has before birth but on most people it shuts after birth (80% of people it shuts). DaJohn's personal cardiologist has emailed all 32 teams that his heart is in fine condition for him to be able to play.
At 6'3 304lbs he is the size of a prototypical NFL defensive tackle. We need a big guy like him if we plan on playing any 3-4 schemes. He is still a little undersized at 304lbs for a nose tackle but he could possibly still gain some more mass if we need him to. If not he would be good as a 4-3 DT or a 3-4 DE. His scouting report says he would be ideally suited for a heavy rotational defensive line which is something I can see the Raiders doing next year. Dennis Allen likes to keep the offense off balanced and having to adjust to many substitutions does that.
When he puts 100% effort in he can be an extremely powerful force. He is worth this 6th round pick to find out if he is going to decide to give 100% effort all the time, which seems to have been somewhat in question at USC. This is the type of low risk/high reward player that can attract Reggie's attention.