Oakland Raiders 2014 NFL Draft Wrap-up

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Feb 1, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Oakland Raiders former punter Ray Guy is introduced as an inductee for the 2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame class at the 3rd NFL Honors at Radio Music City Hall. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

What Was Predicted Before the Draft

Here is my analysis and recap of what was going on with the Raiders in terms of player acquisition and free agency.

“During this off-season the Raiders picked up a lot of players off of free agency, however at the same time, they had to dump a lot of players to make room for their new acquisitions. Among RB Rashad Jennings, the Raiders’ OT  Jared Veldheer, DE Lamar Houston, DT Vance Walker, OT Tony Pashos and WR Jacoby Ford have all pursued and gained work in cities other than Oakland. Among their biggest losses would have to be RB Rashad Jennings and DE Lamar Houston. Last season in the absence of RB Darren McFadden, Jennings played lights out, rushing for 733 yards and six touchdowns on 163 attempts for a 4.5 yards per carry average in 2013. Yet despite Jennings’ great play, Jennings ended up going to New York to play with the New York football Giants. It still to this day confuses me why the Raiders decided to go with injury-plagued McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew over Rashad. Rashad (in my estimation) proved that he was able to be a full-time starter and carry the offensive load. However, the Raiders must have though otherwise after giving McFadden a contract extension. And for DE Lamar Houston, he played also very tough football last season for the Raiders with 69 total tackles and 6.0 sacks (lead the team).

Although those losses in personnel were pretty big, the Raiders were more than able to accommodate those losses with new and better players. In total the Raiders brought in and signed eight different players from around the league. From Packer WR James Jones, to Houston DE Antonio Smith (pictured above), to RB Maurice Jones-Drew from Jacksonville, to New York Giants’ DE Justin Tuck, to New York Jets’ OT Austin Howard, Steelers’ LB Lamar Woodley and even a pair of CBs (Carlos Rogers and Terrelle  Brown) from the San Francisco 49ers across the bay. With these pickups, the Raiders went out and got something that they desperately needed: a defense. Last season the defense was atrocious for the Raiders. For example their pass defense ranked last or next to last in nearly all defensive passing categories. What was particularly atrocious was their pass defense, specifically their ability to defend passes. Last season the Raiders ranked last in passes defended with only 40 (17 less than 2nd-worst) and second to last with just nine interceptions. With the pickups of San Francisco corners Carlos Rogers and Terrelle Brown, the Raiders will get some much needed secondary help. As well, with Woodley, Tuck and Smith playing on their front seven, the Raiders should be just plain brutal against the run in 2014. As well, with the additions of two offensive additions in WR James Jones and OT Austin Howard, the Raiders are taking a step in the right direction. Matt Schaub is going to need some help so Jones fits in perfectly with the current passing scheme the Raiders have right now. However, I believe with perhaps Sammy Watkins, the Raiders could turn their once 25th-ranked passing offense into a top-10 performer.”

In the end I predicted:
“Although many of the Raiders concerns have been met through free agency, they still have some more work to do with the draft rapidly approaching. For instance, the Raiders could most definitely use a solid tight end or receiver to help out Matt Schaub and the Raiders’ receiving corps. I think that at #5 Sammy Watkins could be the answer to the Raiders’ recent offensive woes. Watkins would be a great pick for the Raiders because of the Raiders lack of a passing offense over the years. With Watkins on the squad, the Raiders will have a great compliment to streaker Rod Streater. Watkins caught 101 passes in 2013 for 1,464 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Tigers. While the Raiders do have some secondary concerns, I believe that the combination of Streater, Denarius Moore and Watkins could be potentially one of the most dangerous in the NFL. As well, since Tracy Porter no longer plays for the team, the Raiders can still use a solid corner back or even short safety to sure up their weak 2013 secondary. For instance, with their 36th overall pick, the Raiders could potentially go out and get Ohio State CB Bradley Roby if he is still on the board. If not, they could also go for SS Jimmie Ward out of Northern Illinois. The key for the Raiders is to go for corners and safeties in the second and third rounds then use their fourth round selection to get an underrated tight end, perhaps a C.J. Fiedorowicz out of Iowa or even Troy Niklas if he is somehow still on the board. Their three seventh round picks could perhaps be utilized best by picking up an underrated QB, offensive guard and even another linebacker.” 

Now my predictions may not have been far off, let’s see how is did comparatively.

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