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Thursday, January 3, 2013
Early draft look: Raiders

By Bill Williamson

With the Oakland Raiders’ season over, let’s take an early look at where the team might be heading in the draft.

First pick: No. 3

Top draft needs: Cornerback, linebacker, defensive line, safety, offensive line.

Possible first-round picks: Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, Texas A&M defensive end Damontre Moore, Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones, LSU defensive end Barkevious Mingo, Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner.

Intangibles: While the Chiefs are in a bad spot because of the lack of draft talent compared to their needs, the Raiders are in a great spot. This is a defense-rich top end of the draft and the Raiders badly need help at every layer. At worst, they will get the third-highest-rated defensive player on their board. They just have to stack their board and pick the best fit. At least three of the above players should be available to Oakland -- a can’t-lose situation. The one wrinkle is that Oakland could decide to trade down because it has a lot of needs and doesn’t currently have a second- or a fifth-round pick. That said, the opportunity to get an impact defender could be enough to sway Oakland to keep its top choice.