The Oakland Raiders will see the new regime take on their second NFL Draft beginning on Thursday April 25. Despite the fact that this is not their first trip to the rodeo, it is still much more difficult for anyone to predict who the Raiders will draft than it was in years past when Al Davis still ran everything. Back then, all one had to do was review the combine numbers and you could create a relatively accurate Raiders draft board.
The Raiders are still interested in speed as director of player personnel Joey Clinkscales noted in an interview over the weekend, "We love speed too. But the way a guy plays football is more important than how fast he runs." And therein lies the problem with trying to predict the Raiders draft picks in 2013, we have not yet had enough time to really know the types of players that Reggie McKenzie and his staff fall in love with.
There is clearly some evidence to work with, but it is limited. The Raiders free agent moves give a hint, but they have all been made in the shadow of serious cap issues that needed to be attended to before Reggie could really begin building his team. Plus, while this is his second draft, he had limited picks in 2012 and did not have his first pick until the third round of that draft.
With that being said, there are a few things that can be said when it comes to McKenzie's preferences. He likes hard working team players who do not pose problems off of the field. He looks for bargains rather than the flashy names, valuing a player's football skills over hype and potential (that might never be reached).
But beyond those generalities, it is really hard to tell. We have not seen McKenzie pull the trigger on a first or even second round player yet, so he very may well have a different approach for day one picks than he does for picks that come later in the draft.
All in all, it will never be as easy to predict the Raiders draft board as it was when Al Davis was running things. Reggie McKenzie and his staff will never be as focused on one area of information as Davis was. Given some time, we will all come to know how McKenzie runs his draft and predicting his picks will become easier. But one thing is for certain in the Raider Nation, never again will a player's 40 yard dash time be enough information to make an educated guess as to a Raiders draft pick.