As the 2018 NFL Draft draws closer, Notre Dame offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey has emerged as the favorite for the Raiders 10th overall pick barring a trade. While he is widely considered the top player at his position in the draft, there will be better prospects available when it’s the Raiders turn to pick.
But unlike elite talents such as Minkah Fitzpatrick and Roquan Smith, McGlinchey would address the Raiders gaping hole at right tackle which is arguably their biggest need heading into the draft. This brings us to the age old question of whether a team should draft for immediate need, or select the best player available, applying the dilemma to the Raiders 2018 NFL Draft.
Draft for immediate need
The primary justification for selecting a middle-first round talent such as McGlinchey at ten overall is that he would solidify the right tackle position which has long been an issue for Oakland. Adding the two-year starter to the Raiders offensive line would probably give them the best unit in football with Donald Penn, Kelechi Osemele, Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson, and McGlinchey.
That is an incredible group of talent, and quarterback Derek Carr would reap the benefits of a clean pocket. As the past two seasons have shown, the Raiders success is dependent on Carr’s health as they are a completely different team without him.
Improving the offensive line would also help open running lanes for Marshawn Lynch. Jon Gruden is expected to pound the ball with ‘Beastmode’ while setting up the play-action for the passing game. Bypassing a better player for a solid right tackle would only help the cause.
Pick the best player available
The NFL Draft is all about maximizing value, and arguably the most effective way to do that is by selecting the best player available, even if the doesn’t fill an immediate need. For Reggie McKenzie and Jon Gruden, that player will likely come in the form of Minkah Fitzpatrick, Roquan Smith, or Vita Vea. All three prospects are among the best players in the entire draft, but will likely fall due to the early run on Quarterbacks.
There is no question that linebacker and defensive tackle are prominent needs for Oakland, but offense tackle is an even more serious necessity. As for Fitzpatrick, the Raiders have used top picks on safeties in back-to-back years selecting Karl Joseph and Obi Melifonwu.
Still, the Alabama safety is for my money the third best player in the entire draft behind Saquon Barkley and Bradley Chubb. He would be best utilized in Oakland as a single-high free safety with Karl Joseph in the box and Melifonwu playing in the nickel. The move would give Paul Guenther plenty of flexibility in the secondary.
Roquan Smith would step in as the starting middle linebacker, and could potentially play next to NaVorro Bowman if he is re-signed. Vea would instantly become the best defensive tackle the Silver and Black have had since Richard Seymour and would help free up Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin off the edges.
It would be very hard to miss on any of these three players, as each one would give the Raiders an elite talent to add to their defense.
Should Reggie McKenzie and Jon Gruden take the best player available on Thursday night, or address offensive tackle which is arguably their biggest need?
Draft for need, or pick the best player available?
This poll is closed
Best player available