It’s draft time. We’ve had our experts tell you who will be drafted, but now it’s time for you to throw on your GM cap and vote which player should be drafted where. Each day we will present an argument for each player and why the respective team should pick them. Then, it’s up to you. You make the pick. The next day, we will compile the results and you can see who is off the board. Disagree with all of the options? Be sure to write in your pick below in the comments section. Ok, let’s get into it. The Oakland Raiders are on the clock.
The new era in Oakland is in full swing and one thing is crystal clear: The Raiders are moving past high-cost, underachieving players. In the past month, Oakland has cut loose Rolando McClain, Tommy Kelly, Michael Huff and traded quarterback Carson Palmer. Undoubtedly the Raiders will eat nearly $50 million in dead money in 2013, but will have $69 million in cap space in 2014.
Don’t expect the Raiders to go on a spending spree in 2014, it’s not general manager Reggie McKenzie’s style to do so. Instead, the Raiders could be in a position to lockdown some of their own players including Denarius Moore, Lamarr Houston, Jared Veldheer and Stefen Wisniewski.
The Raiders acquired quarterback Matt Flynn in a trade with the Seahawks, but is he the long-term answer?
Ideally, the Raiders would love to trade this pick away, but they are in a position to get nearly any player they want and they have several glaring holes on their roster. Running back Darren McFadden is the only first-round pick on the roster from the last decade. It’s crucial that the Raiders draft a player that will come in and contribute immediately, but it’s almost equally important that it’s a “safe” pick.
Florida DT Sharrif Floyd
The Raiders must replace Richard Seymour, Desmond Bryant and Kelly. Also, they’d like to get younger on the d-line as they got gashed on the ground last season ranking 28th in the league. Floyd would make a huge difference. He gets off the line quickly and has the strength to take on multiple blockers. While in Green Bay, McKenzie witnessed the value an impact defensive tackle (B.J. Raji) can add and he’s trying to mirror the success he had while he was there. Is Floyd the centerpiece to build around?
Utah DT Star Lotulelei
Like Floyd, Lotulelei has premier size. He weighs 15 more pounds than Floyd and measured in with much longer arms at the Combine. Some NFL teams view arm length as a critical measurement and Lotulelei has a two-inch advantage on Floyd. Measurements aside, Lotulelei was absolutely dominant in his last two seasons in Salt Lake City and shouldn’t have any problem transitioning into the next level.
West Virginia QB Geno Smith
Flynn will be the Raiders 22nd quarterback to start a game since their move from Los Angeles to Oakland. Don’t believe us? Here’s the proof. Smith isn’t an elite prospect, but he could grow to be an efficient passer. The Raiders have a ton of needs, and although the quarterback position is arguably the most important, Flynn could prove to be a viable stopgap. Should the Raiders reach on Geno?
Alabama G Chance Warmack
Drafting an offensive guard with the No. 3 overall pick is a bit wacky, but Chance Warmack looks to be a very polished product. The Raiders have a solid nucleus on the offensive line and adding Warmack could be the missing piece that turns this unit into a strength. Warmack has paved lanes for likely three first-round running backs (Mark Ingram ’11, Trent Richardson ’12 and Eddie Lacy ’13?) during his time in Tuscaloosa and could do the same for McFadden. This almost makes too much sense.
Florida State DE Bjoern Werner
Werner’s draft stock has fallen off a bit, but Oakland could take a chance on the Florida State pass rusher. The Raiders need help at the defensive tackle position, but Werner could be the dynamic piece they’ve been looking for. He has drawn some comparisons to former Raider great Howie Long and could have an instant impact in defensive coordinator Jason Tarver’s unit.
Disagree with all the options? Make sure to write in your pick in the comments section.