Oakland Raiders 2011 NFL Draft Review

The Raiders wanted to upgrade the offensive line and drafted Stefen Wisniewski, one of their targeted players. He was their first pick in the draft after trading away their first round pick to New England last year. Several speed players were added in the eight draft choices. Corners DeMarcus Van Dyke and Chimdi Chekwa, running back Taiwan Jones, and receiver Denarius Moore all have big speed. The Raiders added a third round pick (92) in offensive tackle Joseph Barksdale and a fourth round selection (125) in Taiwan Jones in a trade with New England for their second round pick in 2010 and a seventh round pick in 2011 (219). Stefen Wisniewski was rated as one of the top two center/guard combinations in the 2011 Draft. He started at center for Penn State in 2009 and at right guard in 2010. Consistent in his overall play, he is an explosive knee bender who can roll his hips, shock and control, and drive a defender with leverage and strength. Mentally and physically tough, he plays with attitude and aggression. He gains an advantage with his quickness on the snap. Wisniewski will be coached by former Raider and his uncle Steve Wisniewski, the assistant offensive line coach. DeMarcus Van Dyke fits the Raiders’ speed profile and was drafted in the third round. He can run and cover, two major requirements for Raider corners. The slender and angular corner needs more tackling strength. He can run with most receivers down the field. He has good foot quickness and the ability to drive and burst on a ball in front of him and should contribute on special teams coverage. Joseph Barksdale is a three-year starter with long arms. He moved from right tackle to the left side in 2010. He projects to play right guard or tackle. The former Tiger plays with knee bend and light feet which is a positive trait. He can block the pedestrian pass rushers by walling them off and running them up the field past the quarterback. He struggles with the elite pass rushers and has been inconsistent over his career. Chimdi Chekwa is another speed corner with good athletic ability. Smooth in his turns, he has good hip flexibility. He has good size and short area quickness for the position. He shows toughness and is a reliable tackler. He needs pro skill development, but has the tools to play on Sunday and should be a contributor on special teams coverage units. Taiwan Jones certainly could anchor the Raiders’ track team with his sub-4.40 speed. He was drafted as a running back, but we question his ability to hold up to the week in and week out NFL pounding that backs take. He has a sprinter’s slender lower body and an injury history as thick as an Oakland phone book. He played corner in 2009 before he was moved to running back. The Raiders will try to find a spot to get him on the field. Denarius Moore is a vertical speed receiver who runs good routes and catches the ball in his hands. A big play receiver, he averaged over 20 yards per catch last season. He can make the deep overhead catch over either shoulder. He possesses good vision and ball skills and is a very good athlete with positive receiving skills. Richard Gordon is a big tight end who can run. He only had 10 career catches at Miami in a rotation role, but he missed a majority of the 2009 season with a shoulder injury. A developmental prospect, his pro day numbers on 3/25/11 were: 6034, 265, 4.68/40, 1.71/10, 25/BP, 32.5/VJ, 9- 1/BJ, 4.49/SS, and 7.38/3 cone. David Ausberry projects as an H-back type contributor. He caught 64 passes in his career. A backup wide receiver for most of his career, he is a developmental prospect. His pro day numbers from 3/30/11: 6034, 243, 4.51/40, 1.65/10, 23/BP, 36/VJ, 10-1/BJ, 4.48/SS, 7.20/3 cone. GRADE: AVERAGE.

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