Every year Reggie McKenzie says he’s not about just plugging holes, but rather picking the best player available. And every year, the Raiders picks come at need positions. But in one draft it’s difficult to address every need.
Coming into the draft the needs were linebacker, cornerback, defensive tackle, offensive tackle, and safety.
The draft picks in the top five rounds went like this: Cornerback (Gareon Conley), safety (Obi Melifonwu), defensive tackle (Eddie Vanderdoes), offensive tackle (David Sharpe), linebacker (Marquel Lee). They traded out of the sixth round and their four seventh round picks can’t be seen as much more than depth at this point.
Not exactly in the order of need, but still addressing every one of the top needs. So, what needs still remain?
Pro Football Focus had their take on it. They’re going with Defensive Interior.
Even though GM Reggie McKenzie drafted Eddie Vanderdoes in the third round and Treyvon Hester in the seventh, the defensive line remains a big concern. Vanderdoes struggled with injuries at UCLA and getting production out of a seventh-rounder is never reliable. With Denico Autry, Justin Ellis, and Jihad Ward all grading in the bottom third of the NFL, getting any of them to produce at above replacement level is asking a lot. With tremendous talent on the edge and in the secondary, improving on the DL will help Derek Carr compete for the AFC Championship this year.
They make a good case here. I might add that nose tackle in particular was a major need and none of their picks in the top five rounds addressed the position. They didn’t address it in free agency either and let go of Dan Williams just prior to the draft.
How big a need the defensive interior is as a whole depends on Mario Edwards Jr. He has had issues staying healthy in his first two seasons and his absence has affected the play of the line considerably. They must generate some pass rush and his and Jihad Ward’s emergence could be the key to that.
The biggest need was middle linebacker, which they didn’t address until the fifth round when they selected Marquel Lee out of Wake Forest. Was he the team’s target all along or did they simply not place a high priority on the position? Hard to say at this point.
With the addition of Sharpe in the 4th round, the Raiders have a lot of bodies at right tackle. He joins Austin Howard and Vadal Alexander who return along with free agent pickup Marshall Newhouse. Howard has seniority, but it’s ultimately anyone’s job.
Positions not addressed in the draft at all include wide receiver, tight end, defensive end, guard, and quarterback.
The only position of that which could have possibly been addressed is wide receiver, where the Raiders have had a need for a slot receiver. They signed Cordarrelle Patterson in the offseason, but he is not a slot receiver.
What is the Raiders biggest need post draft?
This poll is closed