3 Years, Then We'll Know
It will take at least three years to legitimately evaluate the results of the 2013 NFL Draft as it applies to the Oakland Raiders, and to the league's other 31 franchises. That will allow the players a sizable opportunity to perform for their collective teams, and provide a substantial amount of results with which to accurately determine how effective each draft day decision actually was. However, fans and observers alike avoid waiting for that period of time to elapse, and choose to immediately render opinions as the selections unfold. Simply because we enjoy the process of assigning and reviewing draft grades.
For that reason, here is the report card for the Oakland Raiders, with full knowledge that a more accurate assessment can be delivered once a few seasons have transpired. But for now, here is an appraisal regarding how effectively G.M. Reggie McKenzie addressed the team's most glaring deficiencies, how successful he was at accumulating depth, and how proficiently the new additions are expected to perform.
With The Third Overall Pick...
McKenzie’s decision to eschew making a selection with the third overall pick, and instead trade down to acquire an additional pick is very sensible. Especially considering how many glaring needs current exist on the Raiders’ roster. However, it was surprising that he only garnered the 12th and 42nd overall picks from Miami when making that deal, as that simply does not appear to be enough compensation to warrant moving down from such a lofty draft position. Yet he did, and then opted not to select a defensive linemen as many expected. Instead, he utilized that 12th pick on corner D. J. Hayden. That has provided the basis for an extremely positive story, since Hayden has undergone an astounding recovery in the aftermath of his life threatening injury. His presence will also address one of Oakland’s deficiencies, as last year’s secondary surrendered 28 touchdowns through the air. If he remains healthy as expected, his strong coverage skills should enable him to start for the Raiders, and become an effective corner. But the move also possesses a degree of risk, in view of Hayden’s unique health situation.
Moving Beyond Round 1
McKenzie then snared offensive tackle Menelik Watson with the 42nd pick, and the former basketball player should start at right tackle this season if incumbent Khalif Barnes is shifted to guard. McKenzie then continued to concentrate on positions beyond the defensive line by selecting outside linebacker Sio Moore in the third round. He will provide depth, should see some snaps this year, and possesses the potential to play his way into the regular rotation at linebacker. Fourth round pick Tyler Wilson was an intriguing choice in Round 4, and has a genuine chance to start at quarterback this season if the unproven Matt Flynn struggles. It is conceivable that 205 pound running back Latavius Murray could evolve into a contributor, but that should be characterized as a long shot. As are the chances that McKenzie's selections in Rounds 6 and 7 will fortify the team in any substantial manner.
The Final Verdict
If the best case scenarios that were previous mentioned actually occur with Hayden, Watson and Wilson, then this can be considered a successful draft. And it is worth mentioning once again that it is conceivable that Wilson could become Oakland's starting quarterback this season, given the fact that all signal callers on the roster are very unproven. However, McKenzie's failure to inject talent into the defensive line until the sixth round is troubling. And it is destined to provide some difficult moments for the Raiders and their tremendously loyal fan base this fall. First, because their pass rush finished 31st in 2012 with a feeble total of 25 sacks, yet as currently constructed will struggle to even replicate last year’s paltry total. Plus, the razor thin line will also be extremely vulnerable versus the run. More should have been done to avoid these scenarios.
Draft Grade C+
Rd Pick Player Position School
1 (12) D.J. Hayden CB Houston
2 (42) Menelik Watson OT Florida State
3 (66) Sio Moore LB UConn
4 (112) Tyler Wilson QB Arkansas
5 (172) Nick Kasa TE Colorado
5 (181) Latavius Murray RB Central Florida
6 (184) Mychal Rivera TE Tennessee
6 (205) Stacy McGee DT Oklahoma
7 (209) Brice Butler WR San Diego State
7 (233) David Bass DT Missouri Western