As the Oakland Raiders build their draft boards, it will be interesting to see what they do with the third overall pick in this year’s draft. Do they draft their quarterback of the future, or do they play it safe and pick a sure-fire defensive lineman?
Whichever direction GM Reggie McKenzie decides to pursue, one thing is for sure, the Raider Nation will be scrutinizing this pick for years to come. After evaluating the Raiders roster via free agent acquisitions and releases, I believe they will target Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd.
Floyd has been sky-rocketing up draft boards for the past two months and would clearly fit a need with the Raiders. Although the Raiders signed defensive tackles Pat Sims and Vance Walker, they are no where near Floyd’s skill-set.
In addition, the Raiders let Desmond Bryant walk in free-agency and recently released Tommy Kelly, leaving them with a huge gap to fill down in the trenches. Sure, the sexy pick would be to select West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, as ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay has projected, however that would be the wrong choice for a number of reasons.
For starters, Smith has been inconsistent at the college level, and has done nothing to solidify himself as a top five pick. In addition, the Raiders already have a quarterback in Terrell Pryor that played relatively well down the stretch, so why not give him a shot?
Also, if they do in fact go with the West Virginia product, they will be reaching for a player of need. To date, I have been extremely impressed with McKenzie’s ability to identify talent and not reach or over pay for talent, and this year should be no different. McKenzie will make the right choice and select Floyd. It is no coincidence that McKenzie was at Floyd’s Pro Day, and then thereafter released Kelly. All signs point to Floyd and deservedly so.
With the draft just weeks away, I predict the Raiders to target Floyd and build their defense from the inside out. If this is the case, look for the Raiders to take quarterback Matt Barkley out of USC in the second-round as McKenzie is high on him as well.