2011 NFL Draft | Oakland Raiders Team Needs
The Oakland Raiders came out of nowhere in 2010 to be a competitive team, finishing 8-8, and giving hope to Raider Nation. However, the team is starting over yet again after firing head coach Tom Cable, and needs a good draft to maintain momentum heading into 2011.
Oakland has a lot of raw talent on both sides of the ball, but with age and free agency possibly impacting several areas and creating holes, they’ll need a good draft to keep moving in a positive direction under new head coach Hue Jackson.
Biggest Needs: OL, WR, QB
The Raiders could be headed to some seriously stormy waters, as their already suspect offensive line could lose guard Robert Gallery to free agency, and could lose more offensive linemen to that same fate. They need to finally suck it up and target solid offensive line prospects at tackle, guard, and center, unless they can reel some of their talent back in. Since they don’t have a first round pick, they’ll have to do their damage in the second round and beyond, although there is still hope with some solid offensive linemen prospects, such as DeMarcus Love, Stefen Wisniewski, Ben Ijalana or Jason Pinkston.
Wide receiver continues to be a weakness for Oakland. They have tons of speed in Darrius Heyward-Bey, Louis Murphy, and Jacoby Ford, but not a single true number one receiver among them. They could use a guy with some size, for once, like Jonathan Baldwin, Leonard Hankerson or Austin Pettis.
The final question on offense is whether or not Jason Campbell is the true future of this team. Al Davis says he is, but we beg to differ. Oakland could find a stud quarterback like Ryan Mallet or Jake Locker falling to them in the second round, and if that happens, they might be wise to pluck them off the draft board. If not, they can still find quality passers like Pat Devlin, Colin Kaepernick, and Andy Dalton in the second or third round.
Biggest Needs: CB, LB
Oakland let its best cover corner in Nnamdi Asomugha walk, so now what was once a strength could become a major problem area. They might have to by-pass offense with their first pick to grab the best available corner. Then again, they could always snag free agent Champ Bailey for a steep price and have a stop-gap solution for a couple years. A few corners to watch after the first round are Aaron Williams, Ras-I Dowling and Rashad Carmichael.
The Raiders are otherwise fairly solid on defense, but could use overall depth additions across the board. However, they could really use upgrades in their line-backing corps. They drafted middle linebacker Rolando McClain with their first-round pick last year, and could stand to give him some help on the outside. Cliff Matthews, Brooks Reed, and Mark Herzlich are possibilities.
Overall, Oakland is a talented, young team that is headed in the right direction, but they need to quickly fill some major holes before their positive momentum starts to work against them. A great draft class will be needed to avert a major collapse.