Monday, April 22, 2013

RaiderAg: The Tops

For what it's worth.  These rankings are total rankings...with the Raiders in mind as to schematic fit (ie Warmack over Cooper...though Cooper has the feet to be an All-Pro for more years).  The Raiders may or may not be in a position to draft all of these guys (2nd round pick missing at the moment).  Also included is a dark horse pick and a pick that would be good for Oakland (in the writer's opinion).

1. Travis Frederick - Wisconsin
2. Brian Schwenke - California
3. Barrett Jones - Alabama
4. Matt Stankiewitch - Penn State
5. Graham Pocic - Illinois

C Dark Horse Pick:  Eric Kush - California (PA)

Nice Pick for Oakland: UDFA for Matt Stankiewitch from Penn State -- Kid is somehow flying a little bit under the radar, even with a name like that.  Stankiewitch in Raider camp would be good for him alongside former Nittany Lion Stefan Wisniewski.  Though with veteran backup Alex Parsons, formerly of USC, it'll be tough treading for any Center coming into Oakland.

1. Chance Warmack - Alabama
2. Jonathan Cooper - North Carolina
3. Brian Winters - Kent State
4. Justin Pugh - Syracuse
5. Larry Warford - Kentucky

OG Dark Horse Pick:  Edmund Kugbila - Valdosta State

Nice Pick for Oakland: 3rd Round (No. 66 Overall) for OG Brian Winters -- There are scenarios where a potential replacement for LG Cooper Carlisle at No. 66 makes a lot of sense for Oakland.  He has good value atop the 3rd Round, and while Nix, Bergstrom and Brisiel are good, they don't have the same Man-Power skills needed to win one on one blocks.

Offensive Tackles:
1. Eric Fisher - Central Michigan
2. Luke Joeckel - Texas A&M
3. Lane Johnson - Oklahoma
4. D.J. Fluker - Alabama
5. David Quessenberry - San Jose State

OT Dark Horse Pick(s):  Tanner Hawkinson - Kansas & Reid Fragel - Ohio State

Nice Pick for Oakland: 3rd (No. 66 Overall) or 4th Round (No. 100 Overall) with Spartan OT David Quessenberry.  A local product with the frame to develop.  Has already demonstrated a good skill set to play OG and possibly RT, a weakness for the Raiders.  While Oakland could have a chance at Eric Fisher at No. 3 Overall, it's likely they'll find a trade down one way or the other and be looking at drafting in the No. 5, No. 7, No. 12 or even lower slot in the 1st Round.  This will leave that hole at RT unfilled and Quessenberry could fill that nicely.

Tight Ends:
1. Tyler Eifert - Notre Dame
2. Zach Ertz - Stanford
3. Travis Kelce - Cincinnati
4. Jordan Reed - Florida
5. Gavin Escobar - San Diego State

TE Dark Horse Pick:  Brian Leonhardt - Bemidji State

Nice Pick(s) for Oakland: 4th (No. 100 Overall) with TE Jordan Reed or TE Travis Kelce should either fall. Both are the pass catching threats needed to help supplement Ausberry/Gordon, and with Oakland likely to go OL/DL with their first two picks, the TE depth is thin.  Then again, the Raiders may make a run at TE in UDFA.  A 2nd Round selection of Zach Ertz is not out of the question with a trade down.

1. Ryan Nassib - Syracuse
2. Geno Smith - West Virginia
3. E.J. Manuel - Florida State
4. Matt Barkley - USC
5. Matt Scott - Arizona

QB Dark Horse Pick(s):  Jordan Rodgers from Vanderbilt or Brad Sorensen from Southern Utah

Nice Pick(s) for Oakland: Whoever Greg Olson likes in the 6th/7th Rounds.  Obviously, we don't know the exact style of offense Olson will implement, but one thing is for'll be adapted to every players' strengths.  A QB with versatility, arm strength, accuracy and the ability to extend the play seem like traits Olson is looking for (or any OC for that matter).

Running Backs:
1. Eddie Lacy - Alabama
2. Giovanni Bernard - North Carolina
3. Montee Ball - Wisconsin
4. Johnathan Franklin - UCLA
5. Stepfan Taylor - Stanford

RB Dark Horse Pick:  Benny Cunningham - Middle Tennessee State

Nice Pick(s) for Oakland: UCF RB Latavius Murray, Vandy RB Zac Stacy, Miami RB Mike James and LSU RB Spencer Ware in the 6th/7th Rounds if available (or UDFA).  As usual, the RBs are deep (see Alfred Morris) and this year is no different.  With the need to rebuild the OL/DL as well as finding impact playmakers on defense, the need to add depth to the RB corps will be necessary.  The oft-injured McFadden coupled with the previously injured and recently acquired Rashad Jennings, then add the young Stanford product of Jeremy Stewart and FB/H-Back Marcel Reece and you've got a funky mix of talent at RB.  A solid, young stud should help solidify the depth chart come September.

Full Backs / H-Backs:
1. Lonnie Pryor - Florida State
2. Mychal Rivera - Tennessee
3. Kyle Juszczyk - Harvard
4. Zach Line - SMU
5. Michael Zordich - Penn State

FB/H-Back Dark Horse Pick:  Dan Moore - Montana

Nice Pick(s) for Oakland: Possibly Tennessee TE/H-Back Mychal Rivera in the 6th/7th Round.  Adding versatility to pair with Marcel Reece will be a good wrinkle for Olson to develop.  Rivera is a California native who had a monster 2012 season, and is looking to continue his recent success.

Wide Receivers:
1. DeAndre Hopkins - Clemson
2. Tavon Austin - West Virginia
3. Justin Hunter - Tennessee
4. Robert Woods - USC
5. Cordarrelle Patterson - Tennessee

WR Dark Horse Pick:  Brice Butler - San Diego State

Nice Pick(s) for Oakland: If the Raiders can land a 2nd Round pick, then Quinton Patton from Louisiana Tech or Markus Wheaton from Oregon State would be great additions.  Otherwise, Chris Harper is a vastly underrated kid who is in the mold of all the top possession WRs in the game, but here's the catch...he's really smart and really fast.

Defensive Tackles:
1. Star Lotulelei - Utah
2. Sheldon Richardson - Missouri
3. Sharrif Floyd - Florida
4. Jesse Williams - Alabama
5. Sylvester Williams - North Carolina

DT Dark Horse Pick:  Lawrence Okoye - Former discus thrower from England

Nice Pick(s) for Oakland: With Oakland either looking OL or DL with their 1st Round pick...a selection of the Utes' Star Lotulelei would provide some size and versatility up front.  Lotulelei had a recent stock drop because of a measured heart condition which has all but been cleared up.  Who knows what GMs are saying behind closed doors, but Lotulelei, when platooned properly (played over 90% of Utah's defensive snaps, compared to Floyd's 66% and who also was surrounded by a vastly more talented supporting cast) in the Tarver scheme in Oakland, could wreak total havoc in opposing offensive backfields.  He is strong, disruptive and can play Nose to 5 technique with solid anchor or penetration. 

Defensive Ends / Pass Rushers:
1. Dion Jordan - Oregon
2. Ezekiel Ansah - BYU
3. Bjoern Werner - Florida State
4. Barkevious Mingo - LSU
5. Datone Jones - UCLA

DE Dark Horse Pick:  Walter Stewart - Cincinnati

Nice Pick(s) for Oakland: As the draft approaches the likelihood that Joeckel & Fisher go 1 & 2 is growing.  This would leave Dion Jordan at No. 3 for the Raiders, who would like to trade down, but could end up filling their biggest need at pass rusher.  Jordan comes from a highly hybrid system in Eugene, and Tarver could think of a bunch of ways to utilize him.  Most notably at pass rusher, but Jordan was asked to do literally everything for the Ducks, even lining up at corner for crying out loud.  If a trade down were to occur, Ezekiel Ansah is another versatile, athletic player who could fit in for the Raiders.  Oakland's DL coach put Ansah through the grinder in Provo a few weeks ago, then had dinner with the native of Ghana.  Certainly, the Raider staff know what they're getting if they bring in Ansah.


1. Arthur Brown - Kansas State
2. Kevin Minter - LSU
3. Manti Te'o - Notre Dame
4. Alec Ogletree - Georgia
5. Jamie Collins - Southern Miss
6. Jon Bostic - Florida
7. Chase Thomas - Stanford
8. Kevin Reddick - North Carolina
9. A.J.  Klein - Iowa State
10. Kiko Alonso - Oregon

LB Dark Horse Pick(s):  Travis Long - Washington State & Michael Mauti - Penn State (both coming off injuries but could really produce in the pros)

Nice Pick for Oakland: The Raiders have restructured most of their LB corps which now consists of the Burnett Brothers, Miles Burris, Nick Roach, Kaluka Maiava, Keenan Clayton as well as Goethel/Harris/Kurn.  It's already a decent core of players, but there is room to push out guys like Goethel and Kurn who have battled injuries and struggle to stay on the field.  A pass rushing threat and contain guy like Chase Thomas in the 4th Round (No. 100 Overall) would be a ready made pick for the Raiders.  Thomas is already familiar with former Stanford co-DC Jason Tarver, and should adjust to his systems very quickly.  Thomas is a heady, hustle kind of guy who closes quickly.  Couple him with Burris off the edge at LB and that's some decent depth.

1. Dee Milliner - Alabama
2. Xavier Rhodes - Florida State
3. Jamar Taylor - Boise State
4. Desmond Trufant - Washington
5. Jordan Poyer - Oregon State
6. D.J. Hayden - Houston
7. Leon McFadden - San Diego State
8. Tyrann Mathieu - LSU
9. David Amerson - NC State
10. Darius Slay - Mississippi State

CB Dark Horse Pick:  Aaron Hester - UCLA

Nice Pick for Oakland: If an added 2nd Round pick presents itself, a kid like Jordan Poyer in the 2nd Round would be a solid pickup.  Later in the Draft, say the 4th, Leon McFadden or possibly Tyrann Mathieu, should he drop, would be great playmakers to supplement a rebuilt secondary. 

Free/Strong Safeties:
1. Kenny Vaccaro - Texas
2. Jonathan Cyprien - Florida International
3. Bacarri Rambo - Georgia
4. Eric Reid - LSU
5. Shawn Williams - Georgia
6. Josh Evans - Florida
7. D.J. Swearinger - South Carolina
8. Phillip Thomas - Fresno State
9. Earl Wolff - NC State
10. T.J. McDonald - USC

FS/SS Dark Horse Pick(s):  John Boyett - Oregon and Ray Ray Armstrong - Miami/Faulkner

Nice Pick(s) for Oakland: Bacarri Rambo in the 3rd (No. 66 Overall), he is the ball-hawking safety the Raiders need to help complete their depth at the safety positions.  Rambo has some off the field stuff that was weed related, but much less severe than Tyrann Mathieu.  He's a former quarterback, but his range and ability to come up and make the tough tackle separate him from other free safeties right now. Rambo might fall to No. 100, but it's unlikely with the lack of true playmaking safeties in this Draft.

1. P Ryan Allen - Louisiana Tech
2. P Jeff Locke - UCLA
3. K Caleb Sturgis - Florida
4. K Dustin Hopkins - Florida State
5. P Brad Wing - LSU

P Dark Horse Pick:  Colton Schmidt - UC Davis

Nice Pick(s) for Oakland: It's doubtful the Raiders bring in anybody to truly compete for the position of P/K.  Sebastian Janikowski is perhaps the premier and most consistent deep field goal threat in the NFL and little known punter Marquette King is the future after Lechler.

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