Oakland Raiders - Prospects For The 2013 Draft
David Wilson – Oct 8, 2012
It is never too early to look at the draft, even four games into the season. It is even more important to the Raider Nation when their team is struggling, and there are glaring holes on the roster.
Here is a look at the team needs, and some of the players who might fill those needs in the first round of the draft.
With both starting cornerbacks being low price free agents, and those players being susceptible to injury, Oakland is crying out for a young and talented cornerback. Maybe more than one. They have been destroyed by opposing receivers this year, and cornerback has to be the number one need for this team.
David Amerson – North Carolina State. Amerson is a big cornerback at 6’ 2”, and can match up against any receiver. He has good if not elite speed, but amazing ball skills, making 13 interceptions last year (one short of the NCAA record). He already has three in four games this year. Amerson has great character and drive to succeed, being the first player at practice every day and showing big improvements from season to season. He would be a great fit in Jason Tarver’s new style defense, and certainly fits Reggie McKenzie’s high character mould. Amerson is clearly the best cornerback in this draft should he decide to enter as a junior.
Dee Milliner – Alabama. Milliner comes from the most consistent college football program in the country, and is the best player in the Alabama secondary. So far this year he already has two interceptions and nine pass breakups. In addition to his ball skills and outstanding speed, Milliner is an aggressive defender who contributes readily in run support. A Dennis Allen type of guy. Gone are the days of straight line speed guys who can man to man cover. Now Oakland wants zone corners who can contribute in run defense.
The Raiders might have their left tackle in Jared Veldheer, but have had real problems on the right side. Khalif Barnes has played to a reasonable standard when healthy, but hasn’t been healthy all that much. Having invested so much in Carson Palmer, Oakland should look to protect that investment with a solid right tackle in the draft.
Jake Matthews – Texas A&M. Matthews has very good foot speed and agility for a right tackle, and he is a good pass protector. An aggressive, mauling run blocker, he punishes opponents in the ground game and has great football instincts. If the Raiders continue to run the zone blocking scheme then Matthews has the ability to fit as he is a naturally good cut blocker. As the son of the great Bruce Matthews, he has the best bloodlines there are, and that will certainly drive up his grade on draft day.
Although the Raiders have not had the personnel to move to a 3-4 base defense this year, there is little doubt that Dennis Allen and Jason Tarver would like to go that way somewhere down the line. When they do, they will need a quality nose tackle, and 2013 will be a deep draft for defensive linemen.
Johnathan Hankins – Ohio State. Hankins is a defensive lineman that many teams will like due to his versatility, being able to play inside in either 3-4 or 4-3 defenses. Hankins is a great run defender, and brings better pass rush that advertised. He keeps his pad level consistently low, and takes on the double team successfully. He is just the kind of player to anchor your defense around, and with Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly especially losing their effectiveness, Hankins could be exactly what this team needs.
Continuing to look at that 3-4 switch on defense, Oakland will need linebackers who fit that scheme as well as defensive linemen. They currently don’t have enough either inside or outside.
Jackson Jeffcoat – Texas. Jeffcoat is a college defensive end, but may project best as a 3-4 outside linebacker. To run the 3-4, you need a strong nose tackle and outside linebackers who can rush the passer. Jeffcoat, like Matthews, has NFL bloodlines, being the son of Former Dallas Cowboys defensive end Jim Jeffcoat. Running a 4.67 40, with considerable natural pass rush ability, he has the potential to develop into the star outside linebacker every 3-4 unit needs.
As Oakland does not have a second round pick due the Carson Pamer trade, they are going to have to make their first round pick count. With a lot of both the Pro & College season left, a lot can change, but I don't think many journalists don't have the Raiders taking a cornerback in the first round.
This is the Raiders though, so you just never know...
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