After working my way through all the offensive positions, we break into the defense at the critical position at which the Raiders so desperately need to show improvement next season -- defensive end.
Let's just assume Jadeveon Clowney is at the top of this list because he is at the top of pretty much every team's list and therefore the likelihood of his being on the board is somewhere between slim and none. Also the likelihood of the Raiders trading up to get him are in that same neighborhood.
Even with the off-season additions of Justin Tuck and Lamarr Woodley, the Raiders need a pass rusher in this draft. There are a few who fit what the Raiders need. Getting one of them will be key to a successful draft. Here they are in all their splendor.
Kony Ealy, Missouri - Round 1-2
He gets a first round grade but not if the Raiders stay at the five pick. If they trade down in the first round, he becomes a real possibility. Otherwise, they would have to hope he is on the board in the second round. And with so few top flight defensive ends in this draft, it seems unlikely he would last that long. Last season, even while fighting off constant double teams, he had 9.5 sacks on the season. He is also consistent with his tackles per game numbers (3.1) and tackles for loss numbers being nearly identical from his sophomore to junior season. The totals only went up because he played in two more games last season than in 2012. The 6-5, 275 pounds defensive end also batted down 13 passes over the past two seasons. Ealy showed up on the big stage too when he had 2.0 sacks and six tackles in his final game at Missouri against Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl. He has the ideal size, great burst off the line, and a nice toolbox of moves to get around blockers. And though he didn't do well in most combine drills, including the 40-yard-dash (4.92) he had the best time in the all-important 3-cone drill (6.83).
Scott Crichton, Oregon State - Round 2
A relentless motor with powerful punch off the line. At 6-3, 260 pounds, he plays with leverage and drive of a player 20-30 pounds heavier. He is ideal for the left end spot with his run stopping abilities and bull rush to close the pocket quickly. The Raiders brought in Lamarr Woodley this off-season to play left end but his number have been on the decline and it's uncertain if he will be able to rejuvenate his career. Crichton would offer some strong competition immediately with eyes on taking over as the starter at some point.
Kareem Martin, North Carolina - Round 3
This 6-6, 270 pounder broke out as a senior after two subpar seasons as the starter as a sophomore and junior. But it was quite a season. He had more tackles (82) and sacks (11.5) last season than he had his previous two seasons combined. He also added 26 tackles for loss. Sometimes it takes a few seasons to get it figured out. Martin appears to have found the key to unleashing his potential. If so, the third round could be a steal.
Zach Moore, Concordia-St Paul - Round 7
With Moore, I'm reminded of the Raiders' draft last year when they chose David Bass with their final pick in the seventh round. He was another small school stud, like Moore, and he looked quite good in training camp with the team. Ultimately the Raiders cut him and he latched on in Chicago, but it showed their willingness to take a flyer on a small school standout in the latter part of the draft. Moore has great size aat 6-6, 285 pounds and he has shown great potential as a left defensive end. It would take the kind of patience the Raiders didn't show Bass last year.