The Oakland Raiders finished the 2013 season with a record of 4-12. A pitiful year low-lighted by a quarterback controversy and the oft injured Darren McFadden being injured again. The 2014 season gives all fans a glimmer of hope that a bad year will give them a high enough draft pick that will impact the team positively immediately. Will the 2014 Oakland Raiders make the playoffs, that’s a long shot but they definitely look to improve.
Oakland Raiders Free Agency signings
The off-season saw a busy Reggie McKenzie and his front office team try to balance the loss of 9 players to free agency and the free agent signing of 13 new players. The highlights of these signings include: 32 year old Houston Texans QB, pair of 31 year old; OT Donald Penn and DE Justin Tuck, 27 year old OT Austin Howard, 29 year old LB Lamarr Woodley, 32 year old DE Antonio Smith, 29 year old CB Tarell Brown, 30 year old WR James Jones, 29 year old RB Maurice Jones-Drew, 30 year old Kevin Boothe, 32 year old CB Carlos Rogers, 29 year old RB Kory Sheets, and 27 year old DE C.J. Wilson.
Age is the common denominator of GM Reggie McKenzie signings
This was a disaster of a free agency. Most teams struggle to keep getting younger. Oakland went OLDER. Every player they signed seems to be a player on the back 9 of a long career. Not saying they won’t make an impact, but how long till the grueling season catches up. No one can afford driving a car with the prospect of all tires going flat at once. The Oakland Raiders are that car. The only chance Reggie McKenzie and the Oakland Raiders have of surviving this debacle is for them to have a PERFECT draft. Losing 9 players is a disaster, replacing them with 13 players is a total revamp of a team. The whole locker room changes dynamically and players will have to wear name tags the first week of camp because no one knows each other. Tempo will have to be built from day 1 and who knows how long that tempo will last with players dropping out as the season progresses.
2014 NFL DRAFT PICK RECAP AND ANALYSIS
Khalil Mack LB, Buffalo Round 1 Pick # 5
Stud linebacker fell in their laps with Jacksonville knocking talent down the board by drafting Blake Bortles. Day starts off lucky for the Oakland Raiders.
Derek Carr QB, Fresno State Round 21 Pick # 4
Huge impact player with skills that should make him a starter in a year or so. Needs some work but will benefit greatly sitting and learning from Matt Schaub. May get his feet on the field quicker if Schaub starts throwing INTs like last year.
Gabe Jackson OG, Mississippi State Round 3 Pick # 17
Huge mountain of a man that can be an effective inside anchor. Above average run and pass blocker and football intellect will make him a starter from the first game into the next decade. Great Pick
Justin Ellis DT, Louisiana Tech Round 4 Pick # 7
Another wide bodied player that will effectively anchor the defense interior and present a huge issue for a RB to get through. Will need a NFL conditioning program and the desire to make his place as a starting player. Above average pick.
Keith McGill CB, Utah Round 14 Pick # 16
6’3″ 210 lb cornerback that is the wave of the future with excellent speed and the ability top press cover, he will be a welcome addition to the Oakland secondary. NFL coaching will get the talent to meet his raw skills and will be a playmaker in the near future Great Pick.
Travis Carrie CB, Ohio Round 7 Pick # 4
Reggie likes a particular attribute player and he is like Keith McGill, with size and speed. Same issues will need some coaching on technique. Should contribute immediately on special teams and could be a great nickel defender since he has above average tackling skills,and pedals downhill fast. EXCELLENT PICK.
Shelby Harris DE, Illinois State Round 7 Pick # 20
Passed over Michael Sam here to take this undisciplined Defensive End who sat last year after being dismissed from two schools. This is the ultimate low risk high reward player. If he gets his act together he is a huge pick. If not, he will be pressing license plates as a guest of some state. Too early to tell if it’s a good pick or a bust. Most likely a BUST.
Jonathan Dowling SS, Western Kentucky Round 7 Pick # 32
A ball hawking Strong Safety. 6’3″ 190 that plays much bigger than his size. Likes hitting people and it shows. Natural mean streak that fits well into the Silver and Black uniform. Is a definite problem child but if the Raiders can tame him, they have a 2nd rounder for the price of a cup of coffee. Can’t grade it cause he could be a cellmate of Aaron Hernandez before this gets published.
Analysis and overall draft grade
After a crazy off season, Reggie had a good day, especially benefiting from a board that came to him keeping him pretty quiet and predictable most of the day.
Draft Grade: B+
Had a good day drafting and capitalized on the board when it was his turn to draft.
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