Grading the Oakland Raiders Draft


The Oakland Raiders draft is another draft that caught some flack from most analysts, and of course the running joke is that Al Davis doesn’t look at anything, but speed. In the consensus draft grades I broke down the Raiders ended up with a C when factoring 10 different sites and draft analysts.  What do I think of the Raiders draft? Read on to find out.

No first round pick (Richard Seymour Deal).

2nd Round pick Stefen Wisniewski, G/C Penn State

Wisniewski has a difficult name to spell, but that’s really the only fall with this pick. Wisniewski is not considered a great athlete, like Pouncey was, but if you look at their combine results and compare them to Pouncey’s, you’ll see they are very similar. The Wiz actually has more bench press reps, a better vertical jump, longer arms, more weight, a better 3 cone drill, a better 20 yard shuttle, and a better broad jump. The two are very close with their 10 and 20 yard dashes (Pouncey is .04 faster in the 20, and .02 faster in the 10 yard dash). The only numbers better for Pouncey are the 40 yard dashes and height. I’m not sure why Pouncey is considered such a better athlete than Wisniewski, when they test about the same. And I don’t think anyone would argue that The Wiz doesn’t enter the league as the more polished center.

Philosophy A

Some people (like Todd McShay for one) don’t think Wisniewski is better than a fourth round pick, but on my own big board, I have him  rated higher than Mike Pouncey. They are very similar athletes, but The Wiz is a better center right now, also has good blood lines, is heavier than Pouncey and plays just as hard. I like Wisniewski in the second round, and he was a top rated player on many team boards, I imagine in the middle of the second round.  Also, unlike taking an interior linemen in the middle of the first round, taking an interior linemen in the middle of the second round represents good positional value because at that point every year all of the players considered likely to be cornerstone tackles are already off the board

Player Value


Was he THE best player available there? No. Was he one of the best players available, yes. And good positional value. Good player value, just a very nice pick.

3rd Round Demarcus Van Dyke, CB, Miami

This is where all of the “Al Davis can’t see past his stop-watch” comments start rolling in, or “they let Al Davis out of the close again to make the last picks”.  But in all actuality this was a much better pick than people are saying. Van Dyke was pretty good at a big time program and has excellent speed, he also has good height. Leading up to the draft, Van Dyke was quietly being compared favorably to Dominque Rodgers Cromartie. And on the N.F.L.’s draft tracker sight, only 5 more players drafted in round three after Van Dyke carried a higher grade.

Philosophy A

In a very deep cornerback class, taking a talented cornerback in round three is a good idea. Especially with all of the Quarterbacks coming off the board very early.

Player Value: B+

I like to think of “C” has average value at that point, but Van Dyke was better than average value. He has excellent upside, and while there were better players available (Drake Nevis, Jerrel Jernigan, Jah Reid, Christian Ballard for starters) there were also much worse picks around that point. Solid pick, not great.

Round 3 Joseph Barksdale, OL, LSU

Barksdale was one of walterfootball’s criminally underrated players and a pretty good player. Barksdale was drafted right around there and is a nice addition to the Raiders. He’s not the physical specimen they got with Bruce Campbell last year as a guy who is a good technician and solid athlete.

Philosophy C+

Grabbing a guy you think could develop into an offensive tackle in the third round is a great idea. What has to be taken into consideration here is the Raiders mortgaging a 2012 pick for it, as for the player, position, and need of the team it’s a very good idea.

Player Value B+

Barksdale is a better player than Van Dyke on my personal big board and good value here. Now, the best offensive linemen available was probably Clint Boling, but this was very nice value pick for the Raiders, who showed that even though they get screwy from time to time with their picks, they add more talent than people give them credit for. If they had a stable coaching/QB situation I think they could be a force to reckon with.

Round 4 pick: Chimidi Chekwa, CB, Ohio State

Chekwa is a player who is considered a very coach-able player with a great work ethic who could will himself to succeed in the N.F.L.  Based on the NFL Draft tracker only three players had a higher grade drafted in the 4th round after the Raiders pick (Davon House, Taiwan Jones (more on that in a bit) and Tandon Doss). So he also represents good value. People could argue that it doesn’t make a ton of sense to go CB two straight picks, but I have no problem with it, and if we’re completely honest the Raiders have been VERY good at drafting and evaluating cornerbacks even since Al Davis turned 200 15 years ago (couldn’t resist making one lame Davis joke after defending him so much in this post so far).

Round 4 pick Taiwan Jones, RB, Eastern Washington

The Raiders get a big time home run hitter here in Jones. And a player that was very tempting, which they couldn’t resist. No, again, Raiders haters (I’m indifferent to the Raiders) will say they’re just drafting too much speed, which I disagree with. They’re getting good value too. Jones is a home run threat and a good value pick here. Now, it might have been better to try to find a bruiser to pair with McFadden, but at that point in the draft there wasn’t any great bruisers available that represented the same value.

Player Value B+

Round 5 Denarius Moore, WR, Tennessee

This is the first pick I didn’t think was a great pick. The other speedster players were all good values, and while Moore has great upside and can stretch the field they already have a number of those players (Murphy, Heyward Bey, Ford) and I think they would have been better served grabbing a player like Niles Paul, who can add some toughness and plays more like an Aquan Boldin (not as good a prospect though). Paul would have been a nice complement to what the Raiders already have on the roster and would have been a better pick.Some thought he was great value, but I’m not that high on this pick at all.

Player Value D+

Round 6 Richard Gordon, TE, Miami

Ok this is a classic Al Davis pick that I have no problem of people probing and making fun of. This guy played three years and had 10 Career Receptions!  I know he’s athletic, and could also be a very good special teams player, but this is a High Reward-risk pick (There’s no High Risk with a 6th round pick), but still I think there were much, much better players available at that point. The Raiders could have gone with Greg Jones, Tyler Sash, Allen Bradford (the bigger running back I was talking about earlier), Brian Rolle, Jerrel Powe (even though he’s more of a 34 NT, Ross Homan, Steve Schilling, Virgil Green, Andrew Jackson, Greg Romerus, or a number of other different choices I would have preferred).

Player Value C. I was thinking about going a D here, but I generally grade high reward players as a C  and Gordon has great upside, so I have to factor that in, regardless of how much I don’t really care for the pick.

Round 7 David Ausberry USC WR

And the Raiders counter adding the speedster Denarius Moore by adding the sizable Ausberry. A player who is 6’4 243 pounds and was at least moderately productive in college. There were again better players available at this point, but most of the players I liked there went undrafted.

Player Value C

At this point it’s an average value pick as most 7th round players are. Few 7th round players make it in the N.F.L. for any length of time.

Overall Draft Grade B+

I generally weigh the picks in the first 2-3 rounds higher than the rest of the draft because most of the starters in the N.F.L. come from the first two rounds, and a lot of players picked in the third round have more impact early in their careers. I liked what the Raiders did in the 2nd through fourth rounds generally speaking. The trade with the Patriots was a little odd, but the pick was a pretty good pick. Wisniewski is a great pick as is Chekwa, Van Dyke is a better pick than people are giving the Raiders credit for, and Taiwan Jones, though not the pick I would have made at that point, was good value. Overall the Raiders found pretty good value early and filled some needs. I thought this was a better than average draft.

After that I don’t really know what the Raiders were doing and I didn’t like it much. But I thought it was far from the worst draft this year.

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