Well, the 2013 draft is now complete and it is time to take a look at each and every player that Oakland Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie drafted. With the departures of defensive tackles Desmond Bryant, Tommy Kelly and Richard Seymour, the consensus for the first round pick would to be to address the pass rush. McKenzie traded the third overall pick to the Miami Dolphins for the 12th pick in the first round and the 42nd overall pick. With the 12th pick in the 2013 NFL draft, the Oakland Raiders selected DJ Hayden. Hayden is a cornerback from Houston and was the top player on McKenzie’s board. Even though there were plenty of top notch defensive linemen available to help with the pass rush, that need wasn’t addressed in the first round.
Still, the Raiders got a good player and cornerback is also a position that needs upgrading. Hayden is 5′ 11″, 191 pounds and was the number two ranked cornerback in the draft behind Dee Milliner from Alabama. Mike Mayock of the NFL Network had him ranked as the best corner in the draft. After watching some film of him, I liked what I saw. He has a nose for the ball, makes plays and rarely gets beat. It’s possible that he could become a starter on day one. But the amazing thing about this kid is that he almost died on the practice field late last year. During practice, Hayden and another teammate collided and the collision resulted in massive internal bleeding. He was rushed to the hospital and it was discovered the main blood vessel in his heart was nearly torn completely off. The doctors immediately went to work on him and were able to repair the damaged vessel. The road to recovery was pretty long, but Hayden is back at full strength and has been cleared by doctors to play football again. I am really looking forward to seeing him play.
With their second round pick, (#42 overall) the Raiders took Florida State offensive tackle Menelik Watson. When his name was announced, I stared at the television and said “WHAT? Who the hell is that?” Watson is 24 years old and stands at 6′ 5″ and weighs in at 310 pounds. He’s a former basketball and soccer player from England who played one year of football at Saddleback Junior College and then transferred to Florida State where he started in 12 of 13 games. Although he is a raw talent, he is very athletic and has been compared to Michael Oher of the Ravens. Despite bringing back right tackle Khalif Barnes and signing free agent Alex Barron, the Raiders still have a need at that position. You can count on Barnes to have AT LEAST one false start a game and that can be very frustrating. False starts can kill the momentum of a drive. With the zone blocking scheme being scrapped and the power blocking scheme being installed, Watson definitely has a chance to get some quality playing time at right tackle.
With their third round pick, (#66 overall) the Raiders selected outside linebacker Sio Moore from Connecticut. Moore is 6′ 1″ and weighs 245 pounds. Being a fan of Big East football, I knew who this guy was. He’s non-stop energy on the field and always around the ball. He was a three-year starter at Connecticut and racked up 274 tackles, 16 sacks, 44 tackles for a loss and picked off four passes. He has something the 2012 Raider linebackers didn’t have. That would be solid coverage skills. I can’t recall the last time I saw I saw a linebacker from the Raiders pick off a pass. He has played on the weak and strong sides and in a conference call with the Bay Area press, he said “Oakland is getting a real pissed off player. I’ll outwork everyone out there and do everything they ask of me. I’ll even be a special teams war daddy if they need me to.” Hey, I’ll take that. This is now a young team with few veterans and they need some good high energy players.
The fourth round pick, (#112 overall) was quarterback Tyler Wilson from Arkansas. Wilson is 6′ 2″ and weighs 215 pounds. The Raiders coached against him in the Senior Bowl, so they are familiar with his talents. In his junior year, he completed 63 percent of his passes and threw for 3,638 yards, 24 touchdowns and six interceptions. His numbers dropped off a bit in his senior year, but he still managed to complete 62 percent of his passes and throw for 3,387 yards in 11 games. He’s a leader and has been compared to Brett Favre because he can throw the ball from a variety of angles while under pressure. Although he is somewhat mobile, he prefers to stand in the pocket and look for his target. Throws a good mid-range pass, but needs to work on the deep ball.
The Raiders didn’t have a fifth round pick in this draft. But, McKenzie did some wheeling and dealing and they ended up with four sixth round picks. Their first pick of the sixth round, (#172 overall) was tight end Nick Kasa from Colorado. With free agent tight end Brandon Myers heading to the Giants, drafting a tight end was definitely a good idea. At 6′ 6″ and 269 pounds, Kasa is indeed a large mammal. He’s a former defensive end and power fullback and should fit right into the power blocking scheme. In his senior year, Kasa caught 25 passes for 391 yards and three touchdowns. I look for him to be more of a blocking tight end, but on occasion, he’ll go out for a pass. He could end up being a target in goal line situations.
The second pick of the sixth round, (#181 overall) was running back Latavius Murray from Central Florida. Murray is 6′ 3″ and weighs 223 pounds. Although he wasn’t invited to the scouting combine, Murray ran a 4.45 40-yard dash at his pro day and that definitely got some interest from teams around the league. He is a nice complement to McFadden and will be able to grind out the tough yards between the tackles. In four years at Central Florida, he had 453 carries for 2,424 yards and 37 touchdowns. Out of those 453 carries, he had just one fumble. Not only does he take care of the ball, his receiving skills are good too. He caught 50 passes for 524 yards and six touchdowns in his four years at Central Florida. This is an intriguing pick. McKenzie may have found a diamond in the rough with Latavius Murray.
The third pick of the sixth round (#184 overall) was another tight end. The pick was Mychal Rivera from Tennessee. Rivera is 6′ 3″ and weighs 242 pounds. He’s a pass catching tight end who has very deceptive speed. A transfer from Oregon, Rivera caught 76 passes for 1,018 yards and six touchdowns. He also set the Tennessee record for receiving yards for a tight end in one year with 562. That beat the old record of 493 yards set by Jason Witten in 2002. Rivera is also another player the Raiders coached against in the Senior Bowl. Although not as big, he’s been compared to Kellen Winslow Jr. He has “sneaky speed” and can stretch the field for big chunks of yardage.
With the fourth pick of the sixth round, (#205 overall) the Raiders finally took a defensive tackle. Stacy McGee from Oklahoma was the pick. McGee is 6′ 4″ and weighs 299 pounds. There aren’t a whole lot of stats on this guy and that’s because he was nothing but trouble when he was a Sooner. He’s had a DUI charge, been busted for smoking marijuana and countless other violations. He was suspended from Oklahoma indefinitely. My only guess with this pick is that McKenzie saw some promise with his play on the field. I would also imagine he gave McGee an ultimatum. It probably went something like “If you screw up once, you’re gone. We’re giving you a chance and if you blow it, you most likely will not get another chance from any other team in the league. Got it? Good.” To me, this looks more like a guy Al Davis would choose. I hope it works out, but my hopes aren’t too high.
Their first pick in the seventh round (#209 overall) was used on wide receiver Brice Butler of San Diego State. Butler is 6′ 3″ and weighs 214 pounds. He began his football career at Southern Cal and after three years, he transferred out. Apparently he and head coach Lane Kiffin weren’t getting along too well. In his lone year at San Diego State, Butler caught 24 passes for 347 yards and four touchdowns. He’s the son of former Atlanta Falcon defensive back Bobby Butler and he definitely has the size and ability to make the team. The potential is there and I hope he gets a chance to show off his skills.
With their last pick in the draft (#233 overall) the Raiders selected defensive end Davis Bass from Missouri Western State. Bass is 6′ 4″ and weighs 262 pounds. He was a dominant player and played in 50 games. He had a school record 40.5 sacks and 56 tackles for a loss. Very impressive. But, is he good enough for the pro level? In the pros, will he be a defensive end or linebacker? I guess time will tell, but he has a good burst and is very quick off the snap. If he makes the team, he definitely fills a position of need. With only 25 sacks last year, the Raiders need guys that can get to the quarterback. I wish him the best of luck.
This was a good draft and it definitely filled some of the holes that were left by departing free agents. Still, this team is a work in progress. There’s too many positions that need quality players and not enough money to get the players to fill those holes. It has been reported that they’ll be almost 60 million under the salary cap next year and McKenzie can start spending some money on free agents. But before he starts bringing in guys from other teams, he needs to re-sign some key players on the current roster. Players like defensive end Lamarr Houston, left tackle Jared Veldheer and if McFadden proves he can stay healthy, I’d love to see him brought back as well. There’s still a long way to go until opening day in Indianapolis, but it will be here before you know it. I’ll be back before then with some more analysis. Take it easy.
The Raider Guy