Reggie Mckenzie has received much praise for his work in the NFL Draft, after he was able to add a few picks in the draft via trade. Mckenzie was able to draft ten players after starting the draft with far less. The raiders high turnover rate has also left room on the roster for 12+ undrafted rookies, but the overall theme from Mckenzie and the Raider’s draft was competition.
At the top of the draft, The Raiders selected D.J. Hayden from the University of Houston. The rookie has been a huge story as he has been able to recover from an extremely rare football football injury. As for the football field, I think Hayden brings a variety of skills to the Oakland Raiders. His combination of size and speed make him a valuable defender in zone or man coverage. His instincts combined with his explosiveness give him the tools to be be an elite corner. If Hayden’s durability isn’t and issue, his work ethic and pure ability could make him the next shut down corner and a steal in the Draft. Reports from mini-camps have shown that Hayden has clearly been the best defensive back on the field.
After trading down in the First round, the Raiders were able to reclaim another 2nd round pick. With the pick they selected Menelik Watson from Florida State. The tackle has an interesting background where he came to the states for basketball. His limited football experience has made this pick a gamble. But his size and athleticism had many people giving Watson a first round grade in the pre-daft. This is a pick Al Davis would love, and Watson’s athleticism adds another element to the Raiders Offensive like that is looking to continue improvement. While little wiz and Valdheer have two of the positions on the offensive line on lock, the other three positions are up for taking. Watson could be the anchor needed to protect the right side of the offensive-line if he continues to learn the game and is able to adjust to the strength of the next level.
Linebacker, Sio Moore from Uconn was drafted by the raiders in the third round. The Self proclaimed best linebacker in the draft has shown that he has the ability to rush the passer and drop in coverage at the collegian level. The confident linebacker adds a tenacity and swagger to an already improved line-backing core. The Raiders hope that this guy will be able to rush the passer in both 3-4 and 4-3 looks. The linebacker will give competition to the free agent addition backers, Roach and Malava, but he will also improve the Raiders special teams.
Tyler wilson out of Arkansas was selected in the fourth round. The quarterback was graded as a high pick until a letdown senior season due to a coaching change at Arkansas. The quarterback adds a skill set different the Matt Flynn or Terrelle Pryror,and possess enough potential to atleast compete for the starting job. Raiders Beat writer Jerry Mcdonald has said Wilson has looked better than previous raiders rookie’s Proyer, Russell, Walter, and Tuisosopo. The quarterback continued to impress media members with his accuracy all around the field, and his command of the huddle.
Overall, I think the Raiders maximized the amount of potential competition with their first four picks. They were able to select four players at key need positions who can become building blocks for them. Eventhough I would have liked to see them select an impact pass rusher or pass catcher, I think Mckenzie adressed other key positions. Hayden and Moore seem like they can be two potential impact players from the get-go, While Watson and Wilson seem like to players with very high ceilings. Overall the Raiders did a good job of adding competition to their roster by selecting players at good value positions. However, their real abilities will not be confirmed until they are in pads and on the field on Sundays.