2016 Oakland Raiders Pre-Draft Needs


PFS Staff
After an active free agency period, what positions can Oakland shore up in the draft? | Photo Credit: foxsports.com

Two short months ago in our first look at the Silver and Black's outlook heading into the 2016 season, the squad definitely had its holes. Safety, linebacker and right guard were at the head of the list then, but free agency has certainly had its impacts on the bottom line of the roster. Right guard? Well, Kelechi Osemele will certainly slide in effectively, or Gabe Jackson will switch sides. Safety? The additions of veteran Reggie Nelson and youngster Brynden Trawick will provide for the depth there. With that said, here's the latest on the Black's Holes deepest, darkest desires:

 

1. Linebacker

The only holdover from the previous list, middle and weakside linebackers remain in need of some steadying presence. At the position, the Raiders released Curtis Lofton, who was generally inconsistent when on the field, and signed former Ram Daren Bates. Bates was typically a special teamer during his time in St. Louis, earning a captain's nod in 2015. It's very possible that he sticks there long-term for Oakland and doesn't make much of an impact on the field on defense. The Raiders still need to find their presence in the middle to run the defense.

 

2. Running Back

Latavius Murray is the undisputed lead back in Oakland (barring a shocker selection of Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott) moving forward into his fourth year. His 1,066 yards and 6 TDs rushing propelled the offense next to Derek Carr. Behind him, however, is a newly re-converted CB (Taiwan Jones); the generally ineffective Roy Helu, Jr.; a kickoff return specialist (George Atkinson); and two true fullbacks who added 146 yards on the ground (Jamize Olawale and Marcel Reece). They will need to find a running mate for Murray, and if they get the right man, who can turn the situation into a committee.

 

3. Cornerback

Former division rival Sean Smith was an excellent addition to bolster this secondary, but Oakland is lacking depth behind him. David Amerson was a surprisingly impactful signing via Washington last year, but D.J. Hayden has never lived up to his #12 overall selection in 2013. Travis Carrie, Neiko Thorpe and Keith McGill have also had their struggles and all are far too much of developmental prospects to really have an impact on the starting lineup this upcoming year. In such a passing league, there's no situation in which another pass defender would be a bad idea.

Written by the Pro Football Spot Oakland Raiders Staff. Follow us on Twitter: @spot_raiders





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Definitely linebacker and running back could be impact positions for the team. They definitely need some secondary depth to strengthen their pass defense. 

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I think they've done enough in FA (Smith, Nelson) that they'll probably target a linebacker or Zeke with their first-rounder. Certainly doesn't mean they can't go CB in the 2nd. 

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2 hours ago, Richard Kagan said:

This team needs a strong offensive line to protect it's talented quarterback.

Huh?  The Raiders' O-line as it stand now is considered one of the top O-lines in the NFL.  And that's not looking at who they draft in a couple of weeks.

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3 hours ago, Rybcon said:

Huh?  The Raiders' O-line as it stand now is considered one of the top O-lines in the NFL.  And that's not looking at who they draft in a couple of weeks.

I was about to say their O-line is like definitely Top 5 in the NFL right now...

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Oakland is certainly in the best position they've been in for 14 years. Certainly a presence like Ragland could push them even farther. Daren Bates is a special teams demon, but has no real value on defense.

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Am I just tripping or do the Raiders need a little something more on the DL? Justin Ellis is AFAIK pretty good and obviously Khalil Mack is a boss. But what else is there in the trenches? I ask because Kansas City's offensive line is looking pretty darn good and if Reid stays dedicated to the running attack that helped turn 2015 around then the rest of the West is going to need to have good run defense.

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10 hours ago, Augustine Harmon said:

Am I just tripping or do the Raiders need a little something more on the DL? Justin Ellis is AFAIK pretty good and obviously Khalil Mack is a boss. But what else is there in the trenches? I ask because Kansas City's offensive line is looking pretty darn good and if Reid stays dedicated to the running attack that helped turn 2015 around then the rest of the West is going to need to have good run defense.

Didn't KC lose some of their O-line?  And Reid abandons the running game faster than guys leave girls at spring break.

Raiders have a very good D-line with Mack, Edwards, Irvin & Smith and I bet they pick up another player in rounds 1 or 2.

But right now it's all on paper.  A lot to see before September.

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4 minutes ago, Rybcon said:

Didn't KC lose some of their O-line?  And Reid abandons the running game faster than guys leave girls at spring break.

Raiders have a very good D-line with Mack, Edwards, Irvin & Smith and I bet they pick up another player in rounds 1 or 2.

But right now it's all on paper.  A lot to see before September.

KC lost G Jeff Allen but acquired RT Mitch Schwartz, which allows them to move Jah Reid to G, where he looked really good when plugged at that spot. They lost Donald Stephenson as well at tackle, but he wasn't that good. And Reid really committed to the run in several tight games. I'll have to look up Edwards and Smith.

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5 minutes ago, Rybcon said:

PFF had the Raiders D-line ranked 4th in the NFL at the end of the 2015 season.

That's a start point for sure. Did they include Mack in there? I'm not saying the line is bad, just that it'll need to be pretty good if Reid decides to stick with a run attack.

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3 minutes ago, Augustine Harmon said:

That's a start point for sure. Did they include Mack in there? I'm not saying the line is bad, just that it'll need to be pretty good if Reid decides to stick with a run attack.

 

7 minutes ago, Rybcon said:

PFF had the Raiders D-line ranked 4th in the NFL at the end of the 2015 season.

I mean that the PFF rank is a good starting point. Don't take that as end-all-be-all in any case.

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They also have Ellis to plug the middle. We all have off season hopes for our teams. I think the West will come down to KC and Oakland.  Oakland is up and coming and will need to gel further as a team.  They're very young.  

KC has maxed out and will stay the same or decline. Smith isn't going to get better, Reid has never committed to the run and I don't think the KC D will keep teams from scoring allowing Reid to run.

But, hey!!  It's April and we haven't even seen the draft yet. B)

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4 minutes ago, Augustine Harmon said:

 

I mean that the PFF rank is a good starting point. Don't take that as end-all-be-all in any case.

I didn't. We all love our teams.

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I don't know what else they need, this team is already formidable on paper based on the free agent signings and performance last season.  The Raiders are starting to look like the dominant teams of the past.  I would agree with assessment that they need an additional running back and a corner back to solidify the secondary, especially with the retirement of Charles Woodson.

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