The Oakland Raiders franchise has seemed to be approaching this off season quite different then most with their recent acquisitions since the free agency period has opened up. Instead of bringing in young, rich talent; they have decided to bring in aging veterans who have been highly productive in their illustrious careers. The signings may be a short term answer in their positions of need, but what is there long term approach in Oakland? With both newly acquired players, Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley, in their 30’s and on the back end of their careers, one would have to think they have to address their defensive pass rush again in the draft for the future. The whole fiasco involving Rodger Saffold was not what the doctor ordered for the Raiders, which still leaves them in a position of needing a new left tackle after letting Jason Valdheer walk. Running back is still an issue with Oakland re-signing the often injured, Darren McFadden, back with a one year deal. The Raiders cannot rely on the former first round pick to stay healthy, and are still one of the many franchises vying for a new top caliber quarterback; whether if it will happen in the draft is still yet to be seen.
The Raiders organization has been known to gamble on players in the draft and take a very high risk to award approach. They still need their QB who is going to ignite a flame into the black and silver fan base; and instill a hope that the team does not foresee mediocre football in their future seasons. Oakland has been looking to address the offensive line issues and defense in the free agency market so far, leaving one position still waiting to be solved in May’s draft. One quarterback that comes to mind as a big risk to reward player is none other then good ol’ Johnny ‘Football’. Johnny Manziel has a flare and passion for the game that is much needed to revive the Raiders offense. His ability to extend plays is reminiscent of the playing days of some of the greats like Fran Tarketon of the Minnesota Vikings and the pioneer, Doug Flutie. On his bad days he’s compared to a hybrid Tim Tebow, yet both Manziel and Tebow have completely different skill sets that are not comparable. A wide receiver on the opposite side of Denarius Moore would be a welcomed addition in the following rounds; along with possible corners and another running back waiting in the wings when McFadden breaks down during the season.
With all the cap room the Raiders have it has been kind of disheartening to the fan base to see their team not take a drastic approach in restructuring this team. Letting cornerstone, young players go like Lamarr Houston and Jason Valdheer and replacing them with aging, short term players; has got to leave somewhat of a sour taste in their supporters. Their draft may become their key approach to rectifying their decisions and a quarterback like Manziel would create a major buzz in the city of Oakland. Raiders would do the team a great justice by drafting someone like Penn State’s wide receiver, Allen Robinson, in the second round if he is available, while also resolving their backfield issue in the later rounds. A few running backs who may be available in the third round are players like Bishop Sankey out of Washington, Ka’Deem Carey out of Arizona, and Lache Seastrunk out of Baylor. All liable backs who can both catch and receive out of the backfield, while carrying a full workload if needed. The NFL Draft Daily looks for the Raiders to address all key offensive weapons on their team, creating a new dynamic on the field; and creating a whole new buzz around Oakland off the field.
This article is one in a series, published daily, which provides analysis, insight, and predictions leading up to the NFL draft and beyond.
Commentary by Justin Huffman
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