Oakland Raiders: 2017 NFL Draft Preview

Chidobe Awuzie

The Raiders are as close as any team with the talent to compete with New England in Tom Brady’s final years. In order to become a real force on defense though they’re going to need some major upgrades inside and their offense has to add a playmaker at the running back position to take some pressure off Derek Carr.

Key additions

  • QB E.J. Manuel
  • OLB Jelani Jenkins
  • OT Marshall Newhouse
  • TE Jared Cook
  • WR Cordarrelle Patterson

Key subtractions

  • CB D.J. Hayden
  • DL Stacy McGee
  • DT Dan Williams
  • QB Matt McGloin
  • LB Daren Bates
  • LB Perry Riley
  • LB Malcolm Smith
  • RB Latavius Murray
  • S Nate Allen
  • TE Mychal Rivera
  • WR Andre Holmes

Priority needs (Offense)

RB…Latavius Murray is gone and that’s a good thing. Murray was just an average talent and the Raiders need a difference-maker to complete the offense. The chances of Christian McCaffrey or Dalvin Cook being available at 24 are slim and unless they want to take a chance with Joe Mixon they’ll have to hold off a bit on a pick here.

Priority needs (Defense)

DT…With two veterans moving on the Raiders need to fill a few holes here because the holdovers are unimpressive. This is a huge issue that needs attention.

LB…Just like the tackle position two vets are gone. Unlike the tackle position the players who left here were more valuable contributors. Ben Heeney’s return from an ankle injury will help, but for an organization with former linebackers at Head Coach (Jack Del Rio) and G.M. (Reggie McKenzie) you would think they would place a premium on this position. Getting a linebacker with solid cover skills like Zach Cunningham would be smart.

Final analysis

The top two needs are clear. The Raiders need major talent upgrades at both the running back and defensive tackle spots. Other secondary needs besides the linebacker position include fullback, a young offensive tackle to replace the aging but effective Donald Penn, another cornerback to replace D.J. Hayden and a future free safety to take over for Reggie Nelson in the next year or two.

Top first-round options

  • CB Chidobe Awuzie
  • CB Adoree’ Jackson
  • CB Kevin King
  • CB Fabian Moreau
  • DL DeMarcus Walker
  • DT Dalvin Tomlinson
  • DT Chris Wormley
  • FS Obi Melifonwu
  • LB Zach Cunningham
  • SS Jabrill Peppers
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