Raiders 2013 NFL Draft needs

Levi Damien

The complete list of Raiders position needs as they head into the 2013 NFL draft.

The Raiders have been busy this off-season. They didn't have any choice. The team was gutted again with salary dumps and free agent losses. The losses piled up faster than the Raiders could fill them. They currently have 61 players on the team which is the exact number they would take into the season on the roster and practice squad.

That means, there are several positions which still need filling, upgrades, and depth. The most important step in the rebuilding process happens the next three days as the team embarks on the draft. Here are the Raiders draft needs most dire to least.

Defensive Tackle - All three starters from last season are gone. They signed Vance Walker and Pat Sims at each position but Walker is on a one-year deal and Sims is considered a rotational player. Behind them are two unproven young players in last year's round six pick Christo Bilukidi and reserve/future signee Johnny Jones. A solid, long term solution is still needed.

Defensive End -- The pass rush in Oakland was the worst it has been in quite some time. Their sack leaders had 4.0 sacks and now three of their top four pass rushers from last season are gone. Only Lamarr Houston remains. The Raiders signed Jason Hunter to play across from him but Hunter has never been more than a situational pass rusher. Behind them is last year's round five pick, Jack Crawford. The Raiders will need to add another defensive end to the mix or quarterbacks will throw all over them again next year.

Right Tackle -- Khalif Barnes has been re-signed which eases any stress over filling the position. However, this is the third year in a row Barnes has been brought back on a one-year deal. They also signed free agent Alex Barron to compete with Willie Smith. That trio doesn't excite anyone.

Cornerback - It was a busy off-season at corner for the Raiders. It had to be. They didn't have a single corner under contract when free agency started. They have no re-signed three of their own and brought in Tracy Porter and Mike Jenkins. All of them are on one-year deals and none are a sure thing. This regime's first young star corner needs to come from this draft.

Tight End -- Brandon Myers was the Raiders leading receiver last season. He is gone now. David Ausberry and Richard Gordon have not proven they can carry the load. Tight end is one of the few positions which the team did nothing in free agency. Look for that to change in the draft.

Safety - Free safety Michael Huff is gone. Strong safety Tyvon Branch remains. The team signed free agent safeties Usama Young and Reggie Smith but both are insurance plans. Drafting a starting free safety as well as a backup strong safety is still a high priority.

Running Back -- There is Darren McFadden and his approximate 12 healthy games per season. The team also added Rashad Jennings as a capable backup. Both players' contracts will be up after this season. The team needs a third option right now who could be a possible starter for next season.

Wide Receiver -- Darrius Heyward-Bey was cut on the first day of free agency. There are several other potential guys that could step into the number one receiver role such as Denarius Moore and Rod Streater but we just don't know yet. Best place to snag a guy with number one potential is the draft.

Offensive Guard -- The team has a full front five, technically. The question is if they think last year's third round pick, Tony Bergstrom, is the answer at left guard. The team is also high on last year's undrafted free agent, Lucas Nix but as of now, he is the backup right guard behind Mike Brisiel.

Quarterback -- If Carson Palmer is cut or traded, this position of course shoots up to the top of the list. But even with Palmer onboard, the Raiders have just he and Terrelle Pryor which means a third quarterback is needed.

Linebacker - Have four capable starters on the team but could use some depth at middle and strong side linebacker as well as competition.

Yes, I realize this is just about every position on the team, but that's just the situation this team is in. They have more needs than they have draft picks, which is why they would like to trade down and pick up more picks. But consider that the lower positions on this list are far less critical than those near the top and if they aren't able draft a player at the lower positions, it isn't the end of the world.

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