Having come out of the first round of the draft with an “impact player” in Khalil Mack – a guy who should be a day 1 plug and play starter for Oakland – the Raiders must now re-group and decide what their next move will be. We will examine some of the most likely possibilities when the Raiders pick :
QB Derek Car, Fresno State: Carr is my odds-on favorite to be the Raiders’ second round pick. There have been multiple reports that the Oakland brass loved his arm – one of the strongest in the draft – and his leadership skills. There are lots of things to like about Carr but he’s still a work in progress – in particular, he struggles with pocket presence when pressured and will sometimes panic when plays break down.
Still, the Raiders can nab him with the 36th overall pick and not feel any pressure to start him right away. Instead, they can sit Carr behind QB Matt Schaub for a year or more while he learns the nuances of the position.
WR Marqise Lee, USC: Lee would have been one of the top players taken had he declared for the draft in 2012, but he returned to school and had a very down year in 2013. The poor year combined with a very deep receiver class has caused him to drop out of the first round.
Lee is still a talented player, though, and could give the Raiders a boost at the wideout position. Receivers take longer to learn the nuances of the NFL than other positions but Lee should be as ready as any college wideout to make an impact year one.
WR Allen Robinson: At 6’3″, 220 lbs, Robinson has the size and hands to be an X receiver for Oakland. He doesn’t have elite top end speed but he has good acceleration and will attack the ball in the air. He fits Oakland’s scheme well and would be a big target for Matt Schaub.
DE Kony Ealy, Missouri: When I started doing my draft prep in January, Ealy was mentioned as a top 5, top 10 guy. Ealy is raw but has the elite size and frame to project well to the NFL. One a 4-3 team, like the Raiders, he would be a defensive end most of the time. However, he has the frame to fill out a bit and could likely slide into defensive tackle on pass rushing downs.
Ealy is one of the only defensive ends in this draft that has the size 4-3 teams look for. He is very much a project but one that can log a lot of snaps while perfecting his craft.
WR Cody Latimer, Indiana: Another big and tall wide receiver, Latimer has good hands and a basketball background, which helps him utilize his size and time his jumps. He is raw but has very good upside and wouldn’t have to step up to be “the man” right away.
DT/DE Timmy Jernigan, Florida State: Jernigan has the versatility that the Raiders love – he can play outside at defensive end on running downs and then push inside to play defensive tackle and even nose tackle on passing downs. He has been productive as a pass rusher, which the Raiders need from their defensive line.
Trade Down: The Raiders could start to build for more picks later by trading down if there are multiple guys they have ranked approximately equal when their pick comes on the board.
DE Scott Crichton, Oregon State: Crichton has good enough size to be a 4-3 defensive end and he was productive in college. When I watched his video cutups, I was impressed with his burst and thought he was strong versus the run, too. He may not make it to the third round but if he does, he’d be a great addition to the team.
DT Will Sutton, Arizona State: Can pass rush from the interior of the line with an explosive first step and disruptive hands. Would be a great pickup for a team that lacks playmakers inside.
WR Jordan Matthews: Depending on where the Raiders go with their second round selection, they may be in the market for a wide receiver, still. There’s no guarantee that Matthews will make it to the third round but he’s well worth a pickup if he does.
Trade Down: Again, Mathews? Yes. I expect the Raiders to trade down in either the second or third round in order to try to get back into the fifth and/or sixth round.