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The Raiders were ever-so briefly thought to be a quarterback needy team during this draft season. No, a quarterback desperate-team. But then came Matt Flynn, and a crisis has been at least temporarily averted.

Is Flynn the future? Maybe, probably, or maybe not. As it pertains to this draft as a whole, though, the move to acquire Flynn was much more meaningful than a single quarterback joining a single team. Like the Cardinals — Oakland’s trading partner in the Carson Palmer deal — the Raiders knew there was a very good chance they’d be in a position to select this draft’s best quarterback. Although there’s still a faint chance that could happen, they showed their lack of desire to pursue Smith by finding another solution.

That’s been the theme throughout the top 10. Along with the moves made by Oakland and Arizona at quarterback, the Chiefs traded for Alex Smith. There’s been a dominant effort to avoid Geno Smith, or any first-round quarterback, which is the ultimate commentary on this year’s draft class at the position.

Instead for the Raiders, the early focus will turn to the large men on the interior of the defensive line. After a defensive gutting this offseason which included exits for Tommy Kelly and Richard Seymour, along with Matt Shaughnessy, Philip Wheeler, and Michael Huff, the priority for a defense that finished 31st in sacks this past season with 25 should be pressure up front.

But which brute bruiser provides the best value at third overall? I asked Levi Damien from Silver and Black Pride that question. And then I asked four more questions.

1. Earlier on in this draft season Sharrif Floyd was a common pick for the Raiders at third overall, and he’s still slotted there in some mocks. But now if they go with a defensive tackle, Star Lotulelei may be favored, and Floyd will fall. Who do you prefer?

Star Lotulelei makes more sense for the Raiders. He’s more versatile and a more proven commodity. The position he fits best is nose tackle, and currently the Raiders don’t have a solid starter at that position.

2. A defensive end is another possibility. If Dion Jordan makes it past the Jaguars, is that an automatic pick? Even if he doesn’t, Ziggy Anash and maybe Barkevious Mingo will also be tempting.

As far as fits for the team, Ansah makes the most sense, as Jordan and Mingo are both considered 3-4 outside linebacker types and the Raiders run a 4-3 base. However, Ansah is also the biggest risk. He has the least production of all the top picks. I don’t see the Raiders taking a DE at the three pick.

3. Then there’s the quarterback question, which again centers around what the Jaguars do. If they pass on Geno Smith, I think the best move for Reggie McKenzie would be to field trade offers and then draft a developmental quarterback after the Matt Flynn trade. Agree? Or do you think Smith is in play for the Raiders?

Smith is not in play for the Raiders. I don’t think they look at Smith even if they trade down in the first round. I agree that they should look to draft a quarterback in the mid-to-late rounds.

4. Another direction is a tackle, with one of either Eric Fisher or Luke Joeckel almost definitely available. However, selecting one of the draft’s premier left tackles will require moving Jared Veldheer to right tackle. Will the Raiders wait to address their offensive line? If they can somehow get a second-round pick back (Cincinnati has Oakland’s second rounder as part of the Palmer trade), Kyle Long or Menelik Watson would fit in nicely.

It makes no sense to move Veldheer to right tackle. He is one of the better left tackles and he is coming up on the final year of his rookie deal. A move to right tackle would be a waste of talent, and will all but ensure he leaves as a free agent to become a left tackle somewhere else. For that reason, right tackle is what they will look to draft, and none are worth the third overall pick.

If they can trade down in the first round, a guy like D.J. Fluker is a possibility. Otherwise, they’ll be content to wait until the mid rounds to address the position and roll with Khalif Barnes if need be.

5. What other needs should be addressed?

Cornerback, safety, tight end, running back, wide receiver, offensive guard, linebacker.

Comments (4)

  1. This rebuild is going to take forever, especially since they keep trading picks, releasing and missing on 1st round picks (fabian washington, michael huff, jamarcus russell, darius heyward-bey, rolando mcclain) althought rolando mcclain is a retard so it made sense.

  2. I am a die hard Raiders fan. I think they should consider the mobile QB acquisition. After watching the 49ers/Seahawks/ Redskins,etc, the emergence of more mobile QBs help rebuilding teams greatly. It takes some pressure off the OL trying figure out these complex blitz packages.Like the patriots,their OL have been together for yrs and the pocket passer can grow with his line. They know him,he knows them. Takes lots of pressure off the defense. With a lot of 3 and outs. If I was Oakland GM, my 1st priority would be Geno Smith or the mobile QB. Actually I would go after Tyrod Taylor,ask the Ravens GM,they not letting him go!!!!!

    • Tyrod Taylor is terrible. him and Terrel Pryor are probably equal in ability or lack thereof, except Pryor is 6’5 and taylor is 6′ on a good day.

  3. Looking at the needs, it’s obvious that we have a direct NEED at at least 10 positions (DT, DE, LB, CB, FS, QB, RB, WR, RT, OG). It’s going to be so hard to criticize Reggie on this draft because anyone we draft fills a need.

    That being said, I like the moves we have made at DT, DE, LB, and CB this offseason. The classic idea of building through the draft goes hand-in-hand with the classic idea of building from the line out, both on defense and offense. I like that we are in a position to immediately help our DT, but trading down would allow us to vastly improve our DE, OG, and RT spots depending on the deal.

    I would love to see us pick up some more Wiz-type hard-nosed linemen on both sides. All of Raider Nation would love to see some hard-nosed guys with a nasty streak suit up, the way it used to be!

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