Saturday, March 30, 2013
Oakland Raiders draft options
By Bill Williamson
We have discussed extensively what the Kansas City Chiefs might do with the No. 1 pick. Now, leading up to the NFL draft (April 25-27), we will take deeper looks at possibilities for the three other teams in the AFC West. We start with the Oakland Raiders, who have the No. 3 overall selection:
EZEKIEL ANSAH, DEFENSIVE END, BYU
Why is he a top prospect? He has a great combination of size, speed and athleticism and is a hard worker.
How would he help? The Raiders have a need at defensive end and he could be an immediate contributor.
What are the risks? Ansah will turn 24 in May and is still pretty raw. There are worries that the NFL game would be too big for him.
How he could be the choice: He’d probably be considered a surprise. He is looked at more as a top-10 selection, not a top-three choice. But if the Raiders think he is the best defensive end, he could be the pick.
ERIC FISHER, LEFT TACKLE, CENTRAL MICHIGAN
Why is he a top prospect? He is a huge, athletic tackle who appears to be NFL-ready.
How would he help? He could be moved to right tackle and, along with left tackle Jared Veldheer, give Oakland a monstrous pair of bookend tackles.
What are the risks? Fisher comes from a small school and there is concern that NFL defensive ends could be too strong for him.
How he could be the choice: If the Raiders are bent on working on the offensive line, he could be the pick.
SHARRIF FLOYD, DEFENSIVE TACKLE, FLORIDA
Why is he a top prospect? Great athlete. He has all the tools. Scouts think he can be a dominant player.
How would he help? He would slide right into the middle of Oakland’s defensive line and become an anchor on a unit that is being rebuilt.
What are the risks? His game film didn’t always live up to the billing. He might look better than he plays.
How he could be the choice: If the Raiders believe his ability is too much to pass up, and if he gets past the first two picks, I think Floyd can easily be the choice.
LUKE JOECKEL, LEFT TACKLE, TEXAS A&M
Why is he a top prospect? Ideal NFL left tackle. Hard worker, wants to be great.
How would he help? See Fisher.
What are the risks? Some worry that he might not be stout or mean enough to be a great NFL player.
How he could be the choice: Many think Joeckel is the best player available. If the Raiders agree and think he is too good to pass up at No. 3, he could be the choice.
JARVIS JONES, OUTSIDE LINEBACKER, GEORGIA
Why is he a top prospect? Many people think he is the most productive and dynamic pass-rusher available.
How would he help? The Raiders are begging for a pass-rusher. They badly need one.
What are the risks? There are medical concerns (Jones has suffered from a narrowing of the spine), and he doesn’t have ideal speed.
How he could be the choice: He will probably drop, so he could be an ideal choice if Oakland trades down.
DION JORDAN, OUTSIDE LINEBACKER, OREGON
Why is he a top prospect? Great size and work ethic. Teams think he has a huge ceiling.
How would he help? Oakland needs great defensive players. Jordan could be one of the best players on this defense when he steps onto the field.
What are the risks? He might never reach his ceiling.
How he could be the choice: He is like Ansah -- a draft riser. But will he go as high as the third pick?
STAR LOTULELEI, DEFENSIVE TACKLE, UTAH
Why is he a top prospect? Great numbers across the board and he produces on the field. Very disruptive.
How would he help? Like Floyd, he’d fill a huge void on a rebuilding defense.
What are the risks? Medical evaluations at the combine discovered a heart issue, but Lotulelei has since been cleared. Still, teams will worry about his long-term health.
How he could be the choice: If Oakland feels good about his health and thinks Lotulelei is a better fit than Floyd, he could be the pick.
DEE MILLINER, CORNERBACK, ALABAMA
Why is he a top prospect? Many scouts think he is the best cornerback available. He has great speed.
How would he help? The Raiders are desperate for help at cornerback and Milliner could be a long-term solution.
What are the risks? Some scouts think that Milliner is not worth the No. 3 pick and that he might never become a great player.
How he could be the choice: If the Raiders believe they must get a young player at this pivotal spot, they could look to Milliner.
BARKEVIOUS MINGO, DEFENSIVE END, LSU
Why is he a top prospect? Classic pass-rusher. Long body, great athlete.
How would he help? Again, this team needs an impact pass-rusher.
What are the risks? He is raw and there is concern his great ability won’t translate to the NFL game.
How he could be the choice: If the Raiders believe Mingo has greater upside than most of the players on this board, I can see the fit. But right now, taking him with the No. 3 pick might be high.
GENO SMITH, QUARTERBACK, WEST VIRGINIA
Why is he a top prospect? He is the best quarterback available in a weak class. He has a good skill set.
How would he help? If Carson Palmer is cut and if the Raiders don’t trade for Matt Flynn and if they don't believe Terrelle Pryor is a long-term answer.
What are the risks? Scouts worry he will never be exceptional. There are a lot of question marks.
How he could be the choice: If the Raiders fall in love, Smith will be a Raider. There is no more important position on the field -- even if it means Oakland takes Smith instead of filling other needs.