Yesterday was a day dedicated to the art of fooling people. A joke on April Fools’ Day is expected and normal and people learn to disregard news as light-hearted trickery when it happens on April first.
In regards to the NFL, April 1 also marks the beginning of a period in which fans should disregard the news. Most draft boards are set by the first week of April, which means any news from here on out is purely deceptive or media created hype for an event that means a lot to their bottom line.
Still, the NFL draft is exciting time for fans. Teams are either looking to get back to their winning ways or needing just one or two more pieces to make that playoff push.
It is popular. Fans love it. I love it. We just can’t believe anything from here on out.
I am sure we will probably still hear a lot of information over the next couple weeks. Best thing to do, just ignore it. At very least, don’t put any stock in it.
I will now outline the Raiders greatest need areas as of today, before all the age of misinformation begins.
#1 Need: Offensive Tackle
There is little doubt that any quarterback or running back you put behind a poor offensive line is going to get crushed. Mario Henderson is best suited at right tackle at this point leaving right guard, left tackle and maybe center as significant holes. Raiders need a tackle, probably a stud left tackle if they believe one is available.
Normally, I’d say a zone blocking team wouldn’t draft a lineman so highly, but the need is so great and the talent available should be excellent.
Round 1 Potentials:
- Russell Okung
- Trent Williams
- Anthony Davis
- Brian Bulaga
Round 2 or 3 Potentials:
- Bruce Campbell
- Charles Brown
- Selvish Capers
#2 Need: Defensive Tackle
If it wasn’t for the fact that the Raiders need offensive line help, this would be the Raiders number one need. Instead, the need for a run defending big man in the center of the line is pushed to the #2 need. The Raiders need a tackle to play the role vacated by Gerrard Warren, sometimes known as the nose guard.
Round 1 Potentials:
- Ndamukong Suh (Doubtful to fall)
- Gerald McCoy (3-tech prospect, doubtful to fall)
- Dan Williams (Reach?)
Round 2 or 3 potentials:
- Dan Williams (Possible fall)
- Jared Odrick (3-tech prospect)
- Terrance Cody (better fit in a 3-4?)
- Brian Price
#3 Need: Linebacker
At current, Kirk Morrison and Thomas Howard are restricted free agents, making them at most one-year stop gaps. The Raiders weren’t happy with Howard on the weak side and he was moved to strong side as the Raiders started to favor Trevor Scott. With the addition of Kamerion Wimbley, the Raiders usage of Howard is in question. Expect him to be the primary nickel linebacker with Wimbley or Scott putting their hand in the dirt as a defensive end and Seymour sliding inside to tackle. Ricky Brown could also figure in outside of inside.
Morrison could still be back, but it is clear his tenure as the Raiders starting middle linebacker may be coming to a close. The Raiders desperately need a MLB that can shed blocks if they don’t address the defensive tackle need. Ricky Brown may mount more of a challenge this season if he can stay on the field. It may be time to move on to a draft pick.
The depth is interestingly thin at MLB in a deep draft, but one player I really like is Donald Butler out of Washington. He has been flying under the radar, but he is a leader, smart, instinctive and provides some versatility at linebacker and on special teams.