Day two is wrapped up and the Raiders have three new players. All three of them on defense. Here they are:
Round 1, pick 24: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
Round 2, pick 56: Obi Melifonwu, S, UConn
Round 3, pick 88: Eddie Vanderdoes, DT, UCLA
While several other teams are making trades to move up and down the draft, the Raiders have not made a trade, with all their picks coming at their original draft positions.
There was no question this team needed to focus on the defense in this draft. They were the 26th ranked defense last season and the 5th ranked offense.
Despite the obvious need on defense, they focused on offense in free agency adding offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse, tight end Jared Cook, wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, quarterback EJ Manuel, and most recently trading for running back Marshawn Lynch.
With holes to fill at linebacker, cornerback, and defensive tackle along with depth issues at safety, the expected focus was clear.
Reggie McKenzie always preaches best player available, but his track record of drafting primarily to plug holes continues.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, it just proves that pure BPA picks are basically a myth. It sounds good to say best player available, but this team has to think about shoring up the weak areas so they can compete to make another playoff push next season.
Conley gives the team a third starting caliber corner who can instantly fill the need at slot corner, Melifonwu is pegged as the future at strong safety and competition for the spot right away, and Vanderdoes adds competition to a weak interior defensive line that struggled to find a pass rush or stop the run.
With needs still at linebacker and more depth at safety, I would expect continued focus on defense on day three with an offensive tackle in the mix at some point as well.
The Raiders currently have five day three picks:
Round 4, pick 129
Round 5, pick 168
Round 6, pick 208
Round 7, pick 242
Round 7, pick 244*
*Acquired in a 2016 trade with Seattle for safety Dewey McDonald
Day 3 begins at 9am Pacific (noon ET). Much more fun ahead.