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Oakland Raiders: Begin To Build A Contender In The NFL Draft

The Oakland Raiders calmly sat the entire first day and half waiting to select a pick in the 2011 NFL draft. Day two arrived and the Raiders were ready to make their moves to boost their offensive line and fix their secondary.

Not an exciting draft for the Raiders in day two but they did covered their primary needs. Raiders head coach Hue Jackson was very please about his selections in the draft and so far loves how the draft is turning in the Raiders favor. Maybe the team had a shot at big names like Ryan Mallet or DaQuan Bowers but the Raiders knew coming in the draft what was their plan and stuck to it.

The time came around for their first pick in the 2011 NFL draft and with 48th pick overall they selected a center that could fit right into their plan of improving the offensive line. The Raiders first selection was Stefan Wisniewski center out of Penn St. He is one of the top center’s in this draft.

With considerable one of the worst lines in the NFL the Raiders knew they had to polish up their offensive line. Arguably the best player on the offensive-line guard Robert Gallery is a free agent. Leading him to explore options in the market once the NFL re-opens their doors and ends the lockout allowing free agency to occur.  This opened up the primary need in the offensive line.

Wisniewski will start at center over Samson Satele for the Raiders in the coming season. He is a light frame fitness positional blocker. Wisniewski has the intelligence, versatility, durability and great work ethic to develop into a solid lineman for the Raiders. It also doesn’t hurt that his uncle Steve played 13 seasons with the Raiders in fact he was Pro-Bowl offensive lineman himself. Recently Steve was hired as the Raiders offensive line assistant coach.

With the 81st pick overall the Raiders selected Damarcus Van Dyke cornerback Miami. A bit of reach in the third. The Raiders were sold on him for his incredible speed to turn and run vertical in coverage. They could have waited till the fourth or fifth round on this pick for him to slip to them. But we all know the Raiders tradition there infatuated by speed.

Al Davis must be jumping out of wheel chair on this pick he loves cornerbacks. Just saying this is another primary need for the Raiders and selecting the fastest one in the draft might be exactly what he was looking for. Not knowing if Pro-Bowl corner Nnamdi Asomugha will be back next season or if he will explore free agency they had to go out and get a corner.

Speed is the strongest asset Van Dyke has to offer at the corner position. He is a decent corner with the ability to shadow receivers well. He also has quick feet with a great burst. Van Dyke works hard but is by no means an immediate replacement for Asomugha. He needs to build up his strength and become a better tackler to compete with the receivers in the NFL.

Several picks later the Raiders must have realized something and needed to get on the phone and find a trading partner immediately in the third round and did exactly that. It was a rather odd trade since the Raiders made the trade in advance with the Patriots, swapping picks well ahead of time to secure the late-third round pick. Where trades are normally made as the team giving it up is on the clock. The trade entails the Patriots receive the Raiders’ 2012 second-round pick and this year’s seventh-round pick (No. 219) and the Raiders receive Patriots third (92nd overall) and forth (125th overall) round draft picks for this years draft. Opening up a spot for them to select another added ingredient to the offensive-line in the third round.

This time the Raiders selected Joseph Barksdale offensive-line from LSU to help protect quarterback Jason Campbell and the Raiders ball-carriers. Barksdale is a massive widebodied wall off blocker. He has the combination of great size, strength and athleticism. He uses length and powerful hands to quickly control defenders. But Barksdale needs to show the Raiders he’s willing to succeed and not be lazy as an NFL tackle. If he corrects his flaws with the coaching of the Raiders he will fit right into the offensive-line for the team quite well.

In the second day of this draft the Raiders were welcomed to the show after a long awaiting period. Coach Jackson and owner Davis went to work and ended the day feeling happy about their picks. Maybe they didn’t shine with big name selections like they did last season with Ronaldo McClain and Lamarr Houston but the team did execute in securing their primary needs on the offensive-line and in the secondary. Now they opened themselves to six more selections in day three of the draft giving the team many different directions to go about pursuing different positions.


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One Response to “Oakland Raiders: Begin To Build A Contender In The NFL Draft”

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