Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is the Senior Football Editor for Rotoworld's NFL Page, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) leads Rotoworld's college football and NFL draft coverage. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential solutions in May's draft.
For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.
No. 1 Team Need: Wide receiver
Michael Crabtree, Rod Streater and Andre Holmes are all in contract years. James Jones, 31, is nearing the end of the line. The Raiders utilized an ultra-conservative, ball-out-quick passing game under 2014 offensive coordinator Greg Olson, but will likely aim to test downfield more under new OC Bill Musgrave. Alabama's Amari Cooper would have been an excellent fit with Derek Carr had the Raiders kept Olson. Under Musgrave, West Virginia's Kevin White may make the most sense based on his ability to win in the "big receiver" game.
No. 2 Team Need: Defensive end
Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie hit a home run with 2014 top draft pick Khalil Mack, a strong-side power rusher whom new coach Jack Del Rio will utilize a la Von Miller. Oakland still lacks a weak-side edge presence following last year's whiff on LaMarr Woodley. Although it's widely considered a foregone conclusion that the Raiders will draft a wide receiver at No. 4, I might actually argue that right end is Oakland's biggest need based on the team's utter lack of starting-caliber options at the position. The Raiders at least have capable bodies at wideout.
No. 3 Team Need: Guard
The Raiders are in relatively good shape at four positions on the line, having moved 2014 right guard Austin Howard back to his natural position of right tackle. Highly-paid Rodney Hudson is the center with Donald Penn coming off a strong year on Derek Carr's blind side, and rising sophomore Gabe Jackson locking down left guard. Right guard is an enormous question mark, with 33-year-old Khalif Barnes currently penciled in as the starter. Musgrave is a big believer in the power running game and will likely push for a lane clearer to fill this gap. Other areas of need for Oakland include corner and three-technique defensive tackle.
Norris’ Mock Draft:
Round 1 (4): WR Kevin White, WVU - As Evan said, White is a fit for where the Raiders are going. He has the potential to be a complete receiver: winning in both the big and small game. White fairs well in contested situations and can pick up yards after the catch. The fourth pick is not too early for a prospect like White even with Amari Cooper still on the board. Do not be shocked if an edge rusher is the pick, possibly Alvin Dupree.
Round 2 (35): EDGE Preston Smith, Miss State - A long term replacement for Justin Tuck is necessary. That is Preston Smith’s comparison, since he wins with power on the outside and speed/agility on the inside. A sub-package pass rushing attack of Smith, Tuck, Ellis and Mack is enticing.
Round 3 (68): G Jeremiah Poutasi, Utah - Teams seem to like Poutasi more than evaluators on the outside. The Utah left tackle projects to guard and right tackle. Poutasi gets by with strength and would form a nice young interior with Jackson and Hudson.
Round 4 (102): CB Alex Carter, Stanford - Reggie McKenzie’s guy D.J. Hayden is the only real name at corner for the Raiders. The team seems to draft corners that are taller than 5’11” with arms longer than 31”. Carter, who has NFL bloodlines, fits those measurements. I’ve seen some suggest a move to safety for Carter.
Round 5 (140): WR Ty Montgomery, Stanford - Back to back Stanford prospects? It was not done on purpose. Montgomery is a manufactured touch player, meaning you can’t trust him to consistently separate in routes or win at the catch point. He is best with the ball in his hands, showing straight line speed and power. His early impact might be on returns.
Round 6 (179): S Brian Blechen, Utah - Charles Woodson cannot play forever. I’m not calling Blechen the heir apparent, but he is a true strong safety with size and a willingness to stick his nose in tackles at the second level.
Round 7 (221): DT Tory Slater, West Georgia - All upside and potential. The former high school receiver is a good athlete who has natural upfield and disruptive ability to close once creating separation. He does take himself out of plays due to a lack of backfield vision.
Raiders Current Offensive Depth Chart
QB: Derek Carr
RB: Latavius Murray
WR: James Jones
WR: Michael Crabtree
WR: Rod Streater
TE: Mychal Rivera
LT: Donald Penn
LG: Gabe Jackson
RG: Khalif Barnes
RT: Austin Howard
Raiders Current Defensive Depth Chart
LE: Justin Tuck
RE: Benson Mayowa
DT: Dan Williams
DT: Justin Ellis
MLB: Curtis Lofton
WLB: Malcolm Smith
SLB: Khalil Mack
CB: D.J. Hayden
CB: Travis Carrie
FS: Nate Allen
SS: Charles Woodson