Now we move inside to the big fellas at defensive tackle. It's a position that has seen a lot of turnover in the past couple seasons and yet the new regime has yet to find a long term answer at either spot. They have high hopes for last year's round six pick Stacy McGee. He sat behind Pat Sims last season at nose tackle and there's no indication he won't remain a backup this season.
New to the roster is Antonio Smith who was at one time one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL but is getting a bit long in the tooth and is a placeholder until the team can draft and develop his replacement. That replacement could be one of these players right here:
Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh - Round 1
The 3-tech defensive tackle of the Raiders dreams. Whether they actually draft him will depend on who is on the board at another position who may be a higher value. He is certainly top ten pick quality and will be the first defensive tackle off the board. His only real knock is his size (6-1, 288). Opposing offenses would focus on stopping him to no avail. He was simply unstoppable. His senior season he racked up and astounding 30 tackles for loss to go along with 11.0 sacks on his way to earning unanimous votes as a first team All American. He also won pretty much every possible award a defensive lineman can win including the Bronco Nagurski Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Award, Outland Trophy, and Rotary Lombardi Award. And of course ACC Defensive Player of the Year. These numbers didn't come out of nowhere either. He has put up great numbers since his sophomore season and those numbers have gotten progressively better each season since. The Raiders couldn't go wrong with this pick.
Timmy Jernigan, Florida State - Round 2
Jernigan is one of the best defensive tackle in this draft and is considered a first-round product by some. The 6-2, 300 pounder is best suited for 3-technique defensive tackle. He showed improved technique and instincts last season to shed blocks and shut down run lanes. He was named first team all ACC and then showed up on the biggest stage of all with a dominating performance to help Florid State win the National Championship.
Will Sutton, Arizona State - Round 3
He was seen as a surefire first round pick after an elite 2012 season in which he had 25 tackles for loss and 13.0 sacks from the interior defensive line. His performance that seasons earned him first team All America honors from nearly every publication in the country. Despite his accolades, he opted to return for his senior season and packed on 40 pounds to his 6-1 frame. That turned out to not be the best idea and his production took a hit. Don't let his weight fluctuation fool you, he did it on purpose. He has a very strong work ethic. Even with a down year, he was still named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. Over the off-season he has set about to take back off the weight he gained and last weighed in at 297 pounds and in the process regained some of his speed and explosiveness.
Caraun Reid, Princeton - Round 4
As you might expect from an Ivy Leaguer, he is very technically sound and his game is polished. He tore up the Ivy League for four seasons but just to prove to scouts that he wasn't just a product of inferior competition, he had a standout Senior Bowl week as well. It would be worth it for the Raiders if only to see him and Cornell alum Kevin Boothe go at it in practice. With Harvard alum, Desmond Bryant, having left last off-season, the Raiders have to re-fill their Ivy League quota on the defensive line.
Ken Bishop, Northern Illinois - Round 7
On one hand, he played against inferior competition in the MAC. On the other hand, he was the best defender on his team and was constantly the focal point of the offense's attention. Despite the attention he received, he still put up good tackle numbers (71) including 9 tackles for loss. He was a junior college transfer who made an immediate impact in his first season with the Huskies including a dominating performance in the MAC Championship game in which he had 8 tackles, three for a loss, and a sack.