Every draft guru from ESPN to the NFL network were positive the Raiders needed to go defensive tackle with our 1st rd selection, but the Raider's brass had other ideas. Going against the grain, the Oakland Raiders methodically went about the business of filling out their roster, and had a very solid draft. The biggest surprise of the day may have been, with an immediate need in so many areas the Raiders seemed content to draft some developmental players, with very high ceilings that will take some time, patience,and coaching, rather than some of the big names on the board that may have a more immediate impact.
Oakland opened with what was possibly the biggest surprise of rd 1, and definitely the biggest comeback story of day one, by taking D.J. Hayden, CB from Houston. A talented pass defender, and feisty defender in run support, who's college career was cut short by a freak injury in practice. Hayden suffered a blow to the chest which ruptured a vein in his heart, and left him fighting for his life, then fighting for his football future, and now fighting to prove he was the best CB prospect in this draft. Given the tenacity, and pure grit this young man has shown in his battle to return to the football field, I would'nt bet against him.
After moving back in the 1st, and picking up a 2nd rd pick the Raiders followed up by taking the raw but talented OT Menelik Watson. Watson played RT at Florida st., but was the fourth ranked LT prospect in the draft due to prototypical size, explosive movement, and excellent feet. He is a project, but the ceiling may be as high as any OT in this draft.
Not what most people expected from the Raiders, but corner has been a revolving door since the loss of Asomugha 2 years ago, and RT has been addressed 1 yr at a time for several years now. Oakland has finally been able to address the corner, and tackle positions. Moving to solidify the positions for the future rather than continue to address them year after year with a series of one year contracts.
Oakland came back in the 3rd and took the ultra competitive Sio Moore LB from Connecticut. A tough strong willed defender who along with 7th rd DE David Bass from Missouri Western St. will hopefully help bring some pass rush to a Raiders defensive unit that struggled to get pressure on the QB last season.
In the fourth the Raiders selected QB Tyler Wilson from Arkansas. A fearless, strong armed QB, who has more guts than sense at times, but in the right system, could develop into a solid NFL QB.
With multiple Picks in the 6th rd the Raiders addressed the TE position selecting Nick Kasa from Colorado, a converted DE that flashes the ability to get down field in a hurry ,Kasa is an aggressive blocker, that needs to work on his hand placement in run blocking, and work on catching the ball away from his body, but could develop into a full time NFL TE. Oakland also spent a 6th rd pick on TE Mychal Rivera from Tennessee. Rivera is not much of a blocker, but has soft hands , and showed the ability to get separation underneath. Not much of a deep threat but can be a nice security blanket underneath, running drag routes and such.
In the 6th the Raiders also selected Latavius Murray, RB, Central Florida to add depth behind the oft injured McFadden, and Stacy McGee a DT from Oklahoma who possesses the talent to be a rotational defensive lineman if he can stay out of trouble.
In the 7th rd the Raiders wrapped it up selecting Bryce Butler, WR, San Diego St. a USC transfer with some upside, and the earlier mentioned David Bass. All in all a very solid draft for the Raiders, as they move forward to June 1st when they will receive some cap relief from the release of Michael Huff, and most likely finish filling their roster out then. Grade B