The Raiders didn’t have a first round pick in this class because of the Richard Seymour trade, and that greatly limited their ability to pick up a player who would make a big impact right away. To improve their odds in the draft, they swung a trade with the Patriots in which they gave away their 7th round pick and their 2012 2nd rounder for a 2011 3rd and 4th, so let’s see how they used that.
2nd round, 48th overall pick: Stefen Wisniewski, OL, Penn St.
Oakland’s first pick of the draft continues the Wisniewski tradition of playing for the Raiders. Stefen wasn’t one of the upper echelon lineman of the draft, which is unfortunate for Oakland, but he does have some talent. He will fight for playing time right off the bat and should be a serviceable backup. He doesn’t have great footwork or lower body strength, but he’s a smart player who is consistently in position. He projects to be a guard or center depending on the Raiders need.
3rd round, 81st overall pick: Demarcus Van Dyke, CB, Miami
Assuming Nnamdi Asomugha leaves the Bay Area once a new CBA is instituted (and it seems certain that he will simply because of how many interested parties are out there), Van Dyke will help fill the gap. He has blazing speed, being clocked under 4.3 in his 40 time, but is very, very small. He is a respectable 6’1”, but he weighs only 176 lbs. He will need to add some weight, and that’s not the least of his problems. Despite being a burner, he has some fundamental issues that could lead to his (ironically) being torched. He should contribute on special teams immediately and could see the field as a 3rd or 4th CB.
3rd round, 92nd overall pick: Joseph Barksdale, OL, LSU
Barksdale is massive specimen, at 6’5”, 325, but lacks swift footwork. By spending 2 of their first 3 picks on the offensive line, the Raiders have added a lot of depth, but the starting ability of either player is in question, at least immediately. Additionally, all 3 of these picks are projects for the future; all three have good physical abilities, but their techniques may hold them back. Barksdale is expected to compete for playing time at right tackle in Oakland.
4th round, 113th overall pick: Chimdi Chekwa, DB, Ohio St.
Another safeguard for Nnamdi. Chekwa isn’t a prototype for any particular position, lacking the speed to be a number one corner and lacking the size to be a safety. He isn’t good in man coverage, but has good instincts once the ball is in the air. Unless the Raiders grab a player like Antonio Cromartie, he should make the roster.
4th round, 125th overall pick: Taiwan Jones, RB, Eastern Washington
Jones is a favorite of Josh Buchanon (of jbscouting.com), and he seems to be a poor man’s CJ Spiller. He has big play ability, but consistency and durability will be issues. He ran a 4.32 40 at Eastern Washington’s pro day, so it’s easy to follow the thought pattern here. Unfortunately for him, the Raiders have Run DMC, Michael Bush and Rock Cartwright already, so Jones faces an uphill battle to make the roster, let alone see consistent playing time.
5th round, 148th overall pick: Denarius Moore, WR, Tennessee
At this point in the draft, you’re just trying to find diamonds in the rough and that’s what they might have. Moore is a potential #2 receiver, which is nice except the Raiders already have about 10 wide receivers. He might make the practice squad.
6th round, 181st overall pick: Richard Gordon, TE, Miami
Uh, a backup for Zach Miller, I guess. Gordon only had 10 career starts at Miami, for which I credit injuries and not being great. He should go straight to the PS.
7th round, 241st overall pick: David Ausberry, WR, USC
Ausberry is an imposing target at 6’4” but he lacks top end speed. He has good playmaking ability and could also slot in as a TE due to his size. If there wasn’t such a morass of players ahead of him he could have a chance to make some plays whenever we next have a season.
The Raiders, never failing to disappoint, made some interesting selections that border on reaches. As usual in Oakland, physical ability trumps (lack of) skill, as the Raiders picked up a lot of players who won’t contribute immediately, including two more wide receivers. Oakland will have better depth because of this draft and the Raiders’ first three picks all have an outside shot at starting in some capacity.