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Offseason review: Oakland Raiders
CB, ORT, G, C, DE, FS
Round 2: Stefen Wisniewski, C
Round 3: Demarcus Van Dyke, CB
Round 3: Joseph Barksdale, ORT
Round 4: Chimdi Chekwa, CB
Round 4: Taiwan Jones, RB
Round 5: Denarius Moore, WR
Round 6: Richard Gordon, TE
Round 7: David Ausberry, WR
Potential free agents of note
CB, FS, ORT, G, DE (depth), WLB (depth)
The Raiders’ needs coming into this year’s draft were obvious, and some still remain issues heading into free agency.
While the cornerback position was addressed with second-round pick Demarcus Van Dyke and fourth-round pick Chimdi Chekwa, both will be hard-pressed to replace veteran Nnamdi Asomugha. Van Dyke posted the best 40-yard dash times of any player at this year’s Scouting Combine, which could help explain why he was selected a few rounds higher than expected. Asomugha, whose contract will void at the start of the new league year, is one of the best man-to-man cover cornerbacks in the NFL. Chris Johnson, who turns 32 in September, is expected to start at corner along with veteran Stanford Routt assuming Asomugha doesn’t re-sign, which seems very likely at this point.
With starting center Samson Satele unsigned, the Raiders addressed his possible departure with second-round pick Stefen Wisniewski. If Satele doesn’t re-sign, the Raiders may have to consider signing another veteran to fill in for at least this season, since Wisniewski will have missed so much practice time leading up to training camp because of the lockout.
While third-round pick Joseph Barksdale is capable of playing inside or outside on the offensive line, he’s expected to compete for playing time at right tackle this season. If the team re-signs Mario Henderson, he figures to start at right tackle, with Jared Veldheer starting at left tackle. The right guard position remains open with starter Robert Gallery set to hit the free-agent market. Gallery’s contract, which ran through the 2014 season, will void because the Raiders failed to pick up a $5.3725 million option from last season.
The running back position wasn’t a need, but that didn’t stop the Raiders from selecting the speedy Taiwan Jones in the first round. Jones, who has decent size, posted a 4.33 in the 40-yard dash during his pro day workout. Jones will provide depth behind starter Darren McFadden, but his role could go grow because of his remarkable speed.
Like running back, wide receiver wasn’t a need, but the Raiders, as is their inclination to do, chose to go with speed with fifth-round pick Denarius Moore. However, it should be noted that Moore, like Taiwan Jones, was highly respected by the scouting community coming into the draft. It’s believed that some teams had as high as a third-round grade on Moore.