On the eve of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders have a number of options with the third overall selection. Because the draft lacks a franchise changing player or quarterback, no selections are set in stone. That gives the Raiders freedom to play out several scenarios tomorrow evening.
If the Raiders get blown away by an offer, they could trade down. General manager Reggie McKenzie admitted yesterday there is some interest from other team's inquiring about the pick's availability. With the Raiders having a number of needs, mostly on the defensive side of the ball, they could be enticed by moving down and finding players later in the draft. McKenzie will weigh the options of staying or moving depending on the offer and how comfortable he is in finding a difference-maker at three.
If the Raiders choose to keep the pick, they will have a chance at an impact defensive lineman. Although McKenzie believes in the best player available draft philosophy, that player could also fill a need. Oakland's biggest need entering this draft is along the defensive front. They were one of the worst teams in the NFL with only 25 sacks and many of them came from safeties, linebackers, and departed players. In this case the Raiders will take a long look at defensive lineman Dion Jordan, Ziggy Ansah, or mock draft favorite Sharrif Floyd.
Because McKenzie abides by the best player available strategy, the Raiders may look at some offensive line prospects. The team currently has a very good left tackle in Jared Veldheer, but could use a building block on the right side. It seems unlikely that the Raiders take tackles Eric Fisher, Luke Joeckel, or Lane Johnson, but they could be graded much higher on the Raiders' board than teh defensive prospects. One of these offensive linemen will be available when the Raiders select, which could prompt another team to pay a steep price to move up. For the Raiders, if two go in the first two picks, teams will come calling to Oakland's benefit.
There are a few surprise picks the Raiders could choose to make. Cornerback Dee Milliner was a more attractive option before the multiple shoulder surgeries lowered his stock. Star Lotulelei was an early favorite as a potential selection, but his heart condition raised red flags. Oakland traded for Matt Flynn which quieted the Geno Smith momentum. McKenzie is not the risk taker Al Davis was, so it would be shocking if the Raiders choose someone who is not a consensus top pick. After all the buzz leading up to the NFL Draft, the answer will reveal itself tomorrow.
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