As the 2014 NFL Draft approaches at a snail's pace, it is of the upmost importance that the Oakland Raiders find players that can contribute and impact the game. On their current roster, the Raiders have 22 players drafted by the team to varying degrees of impact. It will be up to general manager Reggie McKenzie to bolster this roster through the draft. The Oakland brass has been clear that they feel this is the way teams are built.
Looking at the 22 players that remain on the roster, who were drafted by the Raiders, it leaves some to be desired. Now, there are circumstances that made it more difficult. Oakland gave up two first round picks in an ill-advised trade for quarterback Carson Palmer in 2011 and 2012. This year, they will reap a seventh-round pick because of the Palmer trade to the Arizona Cardinals. They also were without a second round pick in 2012 because of a draft day trade with the New England Patriots. Numerous other mid to late round picks were tossed around for players. The team has not been judicious in keeping picks, rather trading them for players, who are gone.
McKenzie did some serious house cleaning once he became the new general manager two seasons ago to clean up from previous short falls. That second-round pick that went to the Patriots was to trade up for tackle Joe Barksdale, who was cut. The Supplemental third-round choice in 2012 was used for quarterback Terrelle Pryor and he was dealt weeks ago for a seventh-round pick. Here is the list of current players drafted by the Raiders who are on the roster.
Projected starters on offense: Center Stefen Wisniewski, running back Darren McFadden, wide receiver Denarius Moore, offensive tackle Menelik Watson, kicker Sebastian Janikowski and tight ends Mychal Rivera/David Ausberry. Guard Kevin Boothe was drafted by the Raiders and was brought back this offseason via free agency.
Depth players on offense: Running back Latavius Murray, tight end Nick Kasa.
Depth players on defense: Defensive tackle Stacey McGee, linebacker Miles Burris, defensive end Jack Crawford, cornerback Chimdi Chekwa, and cornerback Taiwan Jones.
Borderline roster players on offense: Wide receiver Brice Butler, wide receiver Juron Criner, and guard Tony Bergstrom
Borderline roster players on defense: None
The Raiders have made some nice undrafted free agent signings like fullback Marcel Reece, wide receiver Rod Streater, punter Marquette King, and quarterback Matt McGloin.
This shows the importance of stability and accountability in the front office as well as being able to evaluate talent that is solid no matter who is running the show. The bottom line is the Raiders have to do a better job in the NFL Draft. If they want to build through the draft, they have to make better decisions in trades because that falls on the front office as well. This is a massively important draft for McKenzie and Oakland. They spent serious money to build through free agency and now it is time to replenish young talent in the draft. McKenzie identified some talent in the 2013 draft who are projected starters this season. However, the jury is still out on his first two picks, Watson and Hayden because injuries disrupted their rookie years.
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