Alright the 2011 NFL Draft results are in for the Oakland Raiders and the rest of the league. One thing is for certain: the Oakland Raiders are going to have the fastest team in the history of teams. The Raiders middle rounds were defined by speed. They got two of the fastest corners in the draft, the fastest running back and a speedy deep threat receiver. While it is easy to get caught up with those "Al Davis" picks, make no mistake about it, the success of this draft is going to be defined by the men they got to mosh around in the trenches.
Offensive line was this team's biggest need headed into the draft, and the Raiders spent two out of their first three picks, and in the first two rounds in which they had picks, on Penn State G/C Stefen Wisniewski and LSU OT, Joe Barksdale. So, say what you want about the Al Davis fetish picks—this team made sure it took care of business first.
The selection of Wisniewski was a no brainer. By almost every account he is a pro ready starter. Hue Jackson has already called him the team's starting center. Barksdale was a bigger surprise. It was a mild reach for Barksdale, but with three-plus years starting experience at LSU and a prototypical NFL body it is hard to find fault with this pick for a team that only has one offensive tackle under contract.
The biggest knocks on Barksdale are his consistency, and most of that stems from a perceived lack of effort. Best case scenario, this guy is the starting right tackle for the next decade, and on a reasonably projected floor for Barksdale he is a guy that just never got it and showed flashes as a guard.
If both of these guys produce this draft is a success, and both of them have the big-time college experience that may allow them to contribute from Week One.
There is going to be plenty of more on this draft, and these player's in the next few days, but jump over for a quick run-down.
Brhynno and I were apparently working on the same thing at the same time. Scroll below to check out his take on the results of the 2011 Draft!
Round 2, 16th Pick: Penn State, G/C, Stefen Wisniewski
He's a Wisniewski through and through. He is athletic, smart and tenacious. He should be a fixture along the line for a long time. Detractors of this pick said the Raiders were reaching, but interior linemen were going higher than projected, and the fact that the similarly rated center from FSU, Rodney Hudson went just seven picks later is an indication they were not reaching at all.
Round 3, 17th Pick: Miami, DB, Demarcus Van Dyke
Van Dyke is a speedster with good height and Nnamdi like long arms. He is a raw, and may have been selected a full round too early. He needs to add some bulk, but his upside is amazing.
Round 3, 28th Pick: LSU, OT, Joe Barksdale
Tons of talent, and very reminiscent of Langston Walker. He just needs to learn to play with fire every play.
Round 4, 16th Pick: Ohio State, CB, Chimdi Chekwa
Chekwa is another speedster with good size. He is a high-character guy and hard worker. He has experience in man and zone coverage, and as Scouts Inc says: "Does a nice job of getting hands on receivers when aligned in press man and appears much more comfortable in this role than in off-man coverage." he can struggle to get off blocks of receivers, but is a decent wrap-up tackler.
Round 4, 28th Pick: Eastern Washington, RB, Taiwan Jones
Jones is a blazer with elite change of direction skills and good hands. He has drawn comparisons to Jamaal Charles. He does have fumble and injury concerns. He will also have to adjust from Div. II college football to the NFL, but he is dynamic in many ways including the return game.
Round 5, 17th Pick: Tennessee, WR, Denarius Moore
Moore is another one of the burners—he is faster than he is quick. He excels on deep routes, but is certainly limited in his route running. At 6' and almost 200 pounds he has decent size. He also has really good ball skills and instincts, but can struggle with drops.
Round 6, 16th Pick: Miami, TE, Richard Gordon
At 6'3" and 262 pounds Gordon has excellent size, and he is considered a strong in-line blocker. He is very untested in the passing game, and he is poor in routes. He does, however, have good athleticism and ran a 4.66 40.
Round 7, 38th Pick: USC, WR, David Ausberry
Ausberry is a big bodied receiver that spent time at WR, TE and FB in college. He is 6'3" and 233 pounds. He is limited in his route running and catching, which is understandable given his limited time as a WR. He certainly has the body for it.
I am going to hold off on grades as everything settles in. It was easy to get worked up watching the draft while thinking "oh that's just another wasted pick on a speedster." But there is much more to this draft.
The Raiders trade with the Patriots brought two extra picks, and that afforded them the luxury of taking a project like Demarcus Van Dyke and drafting someone with the skills of Taiwan Jones even though they are set at RB.
You take away those two "extra" picks and you have the Raiders first three picks as Wisniewski, Barksdale and Chekwa. And that is two offensive linemen and a corner. That is a solid draft strategy, and now the Raiders have two players in that mix with crazy good upsides.
As for rounds 5-7 you take the best player and hope they can make the NFL. Moore is another WR, but he was a tremendous value pick. It was also nice to pick up one of the better blocking tight ends in the draft.