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Raiders pre-draft position by position outlook: Defense

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Ezra Shaw

We move to the defensive side of the ball now and take a look at how the current roster stacks up and how it affects the Raiders possible draft plans.

Defensive end

Roster: Justin Tuck, Lamarr Woodley, Jack Crawford, Ryan Robinson, Chris McCoy

Need: High

Draft outlook: After not getting a single defensive end out of last year's draft (they took David Bass with their final pick and cut him before the season), the Raiders must make it a priority in this draft. They brought in some talented players in free agency but none are long term solutions.

Draft pick to watch for: Scott Crichton, Oregon State

Defensive tackle

Roster: Pat Sims, Antonio Smith, Stacy McGee, C.J. Wilson

Need: High

Draft outlook: Sure, this roster might tide the Raiders over this season. Then again, it might not. Sims in on a one-year deal, Smith is almost 33-years old, and the others are backups until proven otherwise. Competition and eventual starter is needed.

Draft pick to watch for: Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh

Linebacker

Roster: MLB Nick Roach, OLB Sio Moore, OLB Kevin Burnett, Miles Burris, Kaluka Maiava, Marshall McFadden

Need: Moderate

Draft outlook: The Raiders found a gem in Sio Moore in last year's draft. He is the only sure thing among the group. Roach is great at the mental side of the middle linebacker job but his play on the field is not quite up to that standard. Burnett is not a sure tackler and is getting up there in years. His weak side linebacker position is in most need of an upgrade.

Draft pick to watch for: Jordan Tripp, Montana

Cornerback

Roster: D.J. Hayden, Tarell Brown, Carlos Rogers, Chance Casey, Chimdi Chekwa

Need: Moderate

Draft outlook: This position is still far from finished. The Raiders spent last year's first round pick on Hayden and added the 49ers two starting corners in free agency. But Rogers is getting up there in years and Brown is on a one-year deal. There is very little in the way of depth behind them either. This position must be addressed in this draft in the first four rounds.

Draft pick to watch for: Terrance Mitchell, Oregon

Safety

Roster: SS Tyvon Branch, FS Charles Woodson, Usama Young, Brandian Ross, Shelton Johnson

Need: Moderate

Draft outlook: Woodson is entering his final season and his replacement must be found either in this draft or the next. Young offers some insurance but has not proven he can be a reliable starter should he need to take over for Woodson or be his eventual replacement. Ross was a disaster last season in relief of the injured Tyvon Branch and an upgrade is needed over him.

Draft pick to watch for: Marqueston Huff, Wyoming

See the position by position outlook: Offense