The Oakland Raiders are not in an enviable position. Their roster has been gutted, and Dennis Allen/Reggie McKenzie have a lot of work to do out in the Bay Area. The Raiders cut a majority of their notable remaining players, including former first round picks Darrius Heyward-Bey and Michael Huff. The team has a void at nearly every position, and question marks all over the place. They lost a ton of key free agents and were so far over the cap, they didn’t have much money to spend on the better guys available.
I think to this point, they’ve done a great job of filling holes through free agency and setting themselves up well in the draft, but they are still missing a 2nd round pick (Carson Palmer trade) and have a long way to go. Here is a Raiders mock draft through the first four rounds that I think could really help out there squad.
1. First Round, 3rd overall: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
The Oakland Raiders were one of the worst teams in the NFL in terms of getting pressure on the quarterback last year, and their DE position is abysmal. Jason Hunter, who came over as a FA acquisition from Denver, is slated as the starter opposite LaMarr Houston at DE, and that’s unacceptable considering he’s coming off of injury. I think Dion Jordan has as much if not more pass rush potential than any prospect available this year. Dennis Allen was able to work with one of the best young pass rushers in Von Miller in his rookie season with the Denver Broncos, and he saw just how damaging Miller could be from the opposing sideline last year. Jordan paired with LaMarr Houston could give the Raiders a decent edge rush, and by the time they are picking in the third round, all of the top pass rushers will be long gone. This is a logical pick for Oakland, who could also be looking at Sharrif Floyd, Star Lotulelei, or Dee Milliner. Maybe Geno Smith should he fall to their pick.
2. Third Round, 66th overall: Robert Alford, CB, Southeastern Louisiana
The Raiders have a decimated secondary right now. In fact, the secondary is in such a shambles that they intend to move former running back Taiwan Jones over to cornerback. One of their best utility men in the defensive backfield–former first round pick Michael Huff–has been released. I think the next step is for the Raiders to make a move on a solid corner prospect with one of their top picks. Like I said before, it could be Dee Milliner in the 1st round, but the third round is more likely. Alford has pretty average size for a cornerback but is a guy who definitely has a ton of speed, and there are still people in the Raiders’ front office who have an affliction for speed. These first two picks are certainly ones that the late, great Al Davis would approve of in terms of athletic ability. Alford is a guy who comes from a small school and will need to learn the ropes, but he could be a valuable piece for Dennis Allen’s defense going forward.
3. Fourth Round, 100th overall: Jordan Reed, TE, Florida
The Raiders lost their leading pass catcher from last season, which just so happened to be their tight end (Brandon Myers). Reed is another ultra-athletic tight end prospect in the mold of former Gator Aaron Hernandez, now of the New England Patriots. He’s more an extension of the wide receiver position than anything, but the Raiders certainly aren’t going to overlook his ability to contribute in the passing game, which had become a focal point of their offense last season with Carson Palmer. If the team goes with Terrelle Pryor, Reed could be a very valuable outlet from the TE position, contributing also as an H-back.