We move on to the offensive tackles as I work through the positions and players on the Raiders draft radar. Along with the player, I include the round in which the Raiders would be likely to take the player should he be available with their pick in that round.
Each side of the Raiders' line presents each side of a spectrum. On the left side for the Raiders is Jared Veldheer who has held down the job for several seasons and is one of the best in the NFL. On the right side is Khalif Barnes who keeps coming back to the team on one-year deals for lack of better options. He does give the team a good insurance plan should they not find a suitable replacement, but they continue to look. This draft offers some slim pickings in that department as well.
Here are those offensive tackles who show up on the Raiders draft radar:
DJ Fluker, Alabama -- Round 1
The Raiders need a right tackle and Fluker is the top right tackle prospect in the draft. If the team could get their wish and trade down in the first round, Fluker would very much be in play. There has been buzz of late about the Raiders being interested in taking one of the top left tackles at the three pick but I'm not buying it. Fluker is the only right tackle projected in the first round of this draft. After him, there is a big dropoff. At 355 pounds, he is a mountain of a man - and a mountain for defensive ends to trek around. Even with his three seasons as the starting right tackle for the National Champion Crimson Tide, he's seen as having upside. His fellow line mate, Chance Warmack is considered the best guard prospect in the draft but Fluker could also play guard if asked to do so.
Oday Aboushi, Virginia - Round 4
He started his last 25 games for Virginia at the left tackle position. He has also started at right tackle and that is where he is projected as a pro. The 6-5, 310 pound tackle is very physical and aggressive on the field. In the Senior Bowl game, Ezekial Ansah went off, raising his stock considerably. But in Senior Bowl practices, Aboushi held Ansah in check. The one knock on Aboushi was his combine numbers which were among the worst in every category. Raiders scout and former right tackle, Mickey Marvin, was on hand to work with the combine participants. Without knowing what Marvin saw in Aboushi's position drills, it's hard to say how much that performance affected his view of him. We do know that Reggie McKenzie is puts more faith in what he sees on tape, which speaks well for Aboushi.
Braden Brown, BYU - Round 6
A converted tight end who has started every game at right tackle for the Cougars over the past three seasons. He has many of the qualities Reggie McKenzie covets -- he's smart, high character, mature, hard-working, and passionate about football. His background as a tight end shows in his athleticism and quickness to get to the second level and block downfield or outside. Despite packing on extra weight as an offensive lineman, he keeps himself well-conditioned so as to not wear down late in games. Like Raiders' top pick last year, Tony Bergstrom, Brown has been on his Mormon mission.
Emmett Cleary, Boston College - Round 6
Cleary started the first three seasons at Boston College at right tackle before the team decided to give him a shot at left tackle. This 6-7, 313 pound offensive lineman's most appealing attribute to NFL scouts might be his versatility. Over his first four college seasons, he started 38 games -- 18 at right tackle, 8 at left guard and then all 12 games his senior season at left tackle. He is considered to be a very smart and diligent performer who studies his craft. Those are qualities offensive line coach Tony Sparano can certainly appreciate. Cleary's size, durability, and starting experience on both sides of the line is much like Doug Free who was drafted in Dallas while Sparano was the offensive line coach there.