Going into the 2013 NFL draft, the Oakland Raiders had many areas of concern. The San Francisco 49ers did not have too many areas they needed to address, but there’s always room for improvement.
I’ll begin with the San Francisco 49ers. As I mentioned, they certainly did not have too many areas of concern. The one main concern they had coming into the draft was at the free safety position. After the departure of a great safety in Dashon Goldson, head coach Jim Harbaugh knew he needed a quality safety to replace him.
As expected, the 49ers selected safety Eric Reid with their first pick in the draft. He was one of the top safeties coming into the draft and was highly regarded as a versatile, strong safety who can make an impact on the field immediately. Some say he has the potential to become a better safety than Goldson, and that’s saying a lot, as Goldson was terrific.
The 49ers drafted many players at positions that could fill future needs. Many of the players they drafted are guys who will not see the field much at all next year, but can potentially become starters on this football team in the next couple years or so. Being behind such great talent right now and a phenomenal coaching staff will allow them to develop significantly.
Great examples are players like RB Marcus Lattimore, DE Quinton Dial, WR Quinton Patton, CB Marcus Cooper, and OLB Tank Carradine. That’s a lot of young talent who probably won’t see the field much next year if not at all due to the fact that San Francisco is very secure at all of those positions as of now.
Now, the big transition from the 49ers to the Oakland Raiders. A team with very little to no concern, to a team with many concerns.
The Oakland Raiders had the third overall pick in the draft but traded down to get more high picks. I thought this was a wise move by GM Reggie McKenzie simply because the 2013 draft was incredibly deep, meaning there were not too many amazing players rather more solid players down the line.
So Oakland decided to trade down and draft D.J. Hayden as their 12th overall pick. Hayden is a guy who is obviously extremely talented. He’s very fast, has tremendous ball skills, and can tackle well for his size. The only downside to Hayden is that he had an awful injury that was a near death experience. Many think that he won’t be the same after the injury he suffered, but I believe he’ll be fine, as Hayden has been fully cleared by the doctors. He says he feels fine now and is ready to get back to business.
Many were concerned about the Raiders defensive line, as it was a big problem throughout the season last year. Oakland did not end up drafting a defensive lineman until the sixth round. So, it’s safe to say the Raiders weren’t perfect in their draft.
The offensive line of the Oakland Raiders had trouble in pass protection and run blocking throughout the year as well, and that was another one of their main concerns. McKenzie quickly addressed this issue by drafting OT Menelik Watson in the second round. This was a great pick by Oakland, as they needed a guy like Watson who can really protect your quarterback and allow your HB to get those extra yards.
Another pick I thought was necessary for the Raiders was Tyler Wilson in the fourth round. The Raiders needed another quarterback on their depth chart and they drafted a good one. Wilson’s a tough quarterback with good footwork and accuracy who can definitely compete for the starting job in Oakland.
OLB Sio Moore in the third round was a steal by Oakland. Moore has the potential to be an outstanding linebacker in this league, expect to see him as a big part of Raider’s defense next year. They eventually decided to draft defensive linemen in the sixth and seventh round, drafting DT Stacy McGee and DE David Bass.
Offensively, the Raiders drafted a couple tight ends (TE Nick Kasa, TE Mychal Rivera) due to the departure of Brandon Myers. RB Latavius Murray was drafted to potentially take Mike Goodson’s spot as backup running back. There aren’t too many concerns at the WR area as Oakland has Jacoby Ford coming back as well, but decided to add another young talent to their package in WR Brice Butler.
Both teams did a good job drafting players and improving areas that needed to be addressed. The 49ers were in a completely different boat entering this draft so it’s hard to say one team had a better draft than the other. However, if I had to choose I would say the Raiders had the better draft. Reggie McKenzie addressed every area of concern in this draft and seems to be do,ing an incredible job at rebuilding this organization. I think he should have picked up a defensive linemen higher in the draft but besides that he made every move the team needed him to make.
We can say what we want and what we think, but at the end of the day we’ll see how these draftees perform. Good luck to them all!