No jaw-dropping selections this time

Published: Sunday, Apr. 28, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Sunday, Apr. 28, 2013 - 7:07 am

ALAMEDA – In the past, one of the best parts of the NFL draft was listening to analysts go delirious over a selection by the Raiders.

A reach, a stretch or any other synonym for a bad pick was the norm when it came to the Raiders.

The only other suspense was wondering when Oakland would draft the player with the fastest 40-yard dash time at the NFL scouting combine.

There wasn't much of that at this year's draft.

General manager Reggie McKenzie made deals, trading down to pick up more draft choices, a must after the previous regime dealt away picks without care for the future.

"The past three days, the one thing we did is we stayed true to the (draft) board," McKenzie said Saturday evening. "And the board kind of dictated a lot of what we did, picking certain players, certain positions, whether it was moving back.

"We tried to assess the value of where we are and let the board help dictate what we do."

The Raiders didn't use their early picks to upgrade the defensive line as expected, but they did address a major need in the secondary by trading down to select cornerback D.J. Hayden.

Trading down was a reason the Raiders addressed so many positions of need.

Oakland began the draft with seven selections but picked up three more in three separate deals during the draft, with two trades coming on Saturday.

There were no moves up that cost the Raiders future picks, as they needed to value selections to rebuild the roster.

The plan was to take the best player available, regardless of position.

"From that standpoint, you just hope that it falls right," McKenzie said.

"If you get one need, one thing about it, we felt like we had a few needs, so I didn't think it was that hard to address certain areas, because we had needs at a lot of spots. We need to upgrade depth in a lot of spots. We knew if we stayed true to the board we would get good players, and that was the whole factor. Make sure we got good players with each pick."

That's especially important at running back, where Darren McFadden has been an explosive player. At the same time, his injury history means the Raiders needed to improve their depth at running back.

Latavius Murray might not be the long-term replacement for McFadden, but he adds a big back that the Raiders lost when Michael Bush left as a free agent before last season.

Without another back, fullback Marcel Reece was probably the best option behind McFadden.

The Raiders managed to address all the skill positions on offense and important areas on defense.

It could be argued that the defensive line should have been a higher priority – Oakland waited until the sixth round to select a defensive lineman. But with so many issues to address, there's plenty of nitpicking that could go on with the Raiders.

Of course, none of this matters today. It won't be known if the draft was a success until these players take the field.

But the Raiders clearly had a plan and executed it. That's a step in the right direction for a franchise trying to change the culture of losing that has dominated for more than a decade.

"The goal is to get guys in that locker room that are all working for a common goal and are on the same page," McKenzie said.

"That's the only way you're going to develop chemistry. Those guys have to come together. Once coaches send the right message and players try to implement it, you have a chance."

RAIDERS REPORT CARD

DRAFT MISSION

To fill as many holes as possible. That included the defensive line, at linebacker, cornerback, depth on the offensive line and depth at running back, wide receiver and tight end.

OUTCOME

The Raiders added players on defense and did so wisely by trading down and acquiring more draft choices. Out of the group, cornerback D.J. Hayden should be an immediate contributor. But the Raiders might have found enough players in key spots to plug holes that can't be filled by simply bringing in free agents. The Raiders found a young quarterback to groom (Tyler Wilson) while adding another running back, wide receiver, offensive tackle and two tight ends. Mychal Rivera is a tight end who can create mismatches and help improve the Raiders' passing game. The Raiders have a ways to go before becoming a contender, but they took steps in the right direction.

GRADE: B+– Jason Jones



THE NEWEST RAIDERS

TYLER WILSON

• Selected: 112th (fourth round)

• College: Arkansas

• Position: Quarterback

• Height, weight: 6-foot-2, 218

• Comment: Wilson's statistics suffered as a senior amid the coaching change and controversy involving Bobby Petrino. As a junior, Wilson was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection.

NICK KASA

• Selected: 172nd (sixth round)

• College: Colorado

• Position: Tight end

• Height, weight: 6-6, 269

• Comment: His first 24 games at Colorado were as a defensive lineman. Started 12 games last season at tight end and caught 25 passes for 391 yards and three touchdowns. He also played for Raiders coaches in the Senior Bowl.

LATAVIUS MURRAY

• Selected: 181st (sixth round)

• College: Central Florida

• Position: Running back

• Height, weight: 6-2, 223

• Comment: Murray's a big back that was timed in 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He ran for 1,106 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior. With Darren McFadden's history of injuries, adding another running back was a good idea.

MYCHAL RIVERA

• Selected: 184th (sixth round)

• College: Tennessee

• Position: Tight end

• Height, weight: 6-3, 242

• Comment: A former Oregon recruit who figures to provide a much-needed mismatch in the passing game. He will give the Raiders flexibility in passing formations with his skills.

STACY MCGEE

• Selected: 205th (sixth round)

• College: Oklahoma

• Position: Defensive tackle

• Height, weight: 6-3, 308

• Comment: A talented player who was dogged by disciplinary problems and inconsistent play as a Sooner. Perhaps the Raiders can provide an atmosphere to allow McGee to flourish.

BRICE BUTLER

• Selected: 209th (seventh round)

• College: San Diego State

• Position: Wide receiver

• Height, weight: 6-3, 205

• Comment: Caught 24 passes for 347 yards and four touchdowns after transferring from USC. He wasn't invited to the NFL scouting combine but ran the 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds at San Diego State's pro day.

DAVID BASS

• Selected: 233rd (seventh round)

• College: Missouri Western

• Position: Defensive end

• Height, weight: 6-4, 262

• Comment: He started a school-record 50 consecutive games. He also established a school record with 39.5 career sacks, 26 coming in his final two seasons.

Follow The Bee's Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the Raiders at www.sacbee.com/raiders.

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