It's hard to believe after waiting so long for the draft to arrive that we are 2/3 the way through it. The Raiders came into the draft with seven picks and as of right now they have made three of those picks while adding an extra pick in the fourth round.
Here is the Raiders haul so far:
Round 1, pick 5 - Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo
Round 2, pick 36 - Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
Round 3, pick 81 (*from Dolphins) - Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi
*Raiders traded the 67 pick to Dolphins for pick 81 and pick 116 (fourth round)
The Raiders top needs coming into the draft were quarterback and pass rusher and they got both of those in the first two picks in Mack and Carr.
Mack can play either defensive end or outside linebacker and will often rush the passer from the linebacker position in a 3-4 set. He was by far the top player on the board when the Raiders made their pick and it was a bit of a surprise that he was available.
The top three quarterbacks all went in the first round. Blake Bortles was rated higher than Carr but he was taken by the Jaguars with the third overall pick. Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater went in the lower portion of the first round - Bridgewater with the final pick of the first round.
Carr was expected by some to go in the first round but with the other quarterbacks all falling farther than many expected, Carr fell out of the first round altogether. The Raiders wanted Carr but never considered trading up to get him. They waited hoping he would be there at 36 and they were right.
In the third round, the Raiders were sitting at 67 until they got a great offer from the Dolphins to swap picks with them in the third round and move down to pick 81. They received the Dolphins' fourth round pick (116) in the deal and now will have two fourth round picks to begin the day. The other pick they have is at 107.
Free agency may have allowed the Raiders the luxury of picking at just about any position but on the first day they focused on the three areas they struggled the most in 2013 - quarterback, offensive line, and pass rush. And they got three players of great value at those spots.
All three players are top four at their position. Mack was the top linebacker in the draft and would be the second best as a defensive end behind Jadeveon Clowney. Gabe Jackson was a second round prospect and considered the fourth best guard in this draft - all of whom were off the board by pick 35.
Mack is considered an instant starter as an outside linebacker and could replace Kevin Burnett on the weakside. He could also share time at defensive end with Lamarr Woodley and Justin Tuck. Carr will have time to learn the position behind Matt Schaub until he can step in as the prospective long term future starter. Jackson has the potential to step in as the starter at left guard right now. If not, he can site behind Kevin Boothe until the team feels he is ready.
Overall it appears from the outset to be the best first three rounds the Raiders have had in quite some time.
And there's still four rounds left and five picks to go.