The way to build a winning team is one draft at a time. What can the Oakland Raiders look forward to in the 2015 NFL draft?
Cameron Erving – OT – Florida State
Donald Penn and Matt Schaub are the men of the moment for Oakland in 2014. That doesn’t change the fact that Derek Carr is their future at quarterback, and it would be ideal for the team to find him a future blind side protector. GM Reggie McKenzie has an eye for Florida State talent given their trademark athleticism. So a good name to remember is Cameron Erving. The agile big man was a possible 1st round for the draft this past May but elected to stay in school. That means he could be a polished gem for the Raiders by the time he arrives next year.
Devin Funchess – TE – Michigan
The well has run dry somewhat for the Oakland Raiders in regards to the tight end position. Gone are the days of Dave Casper and Todd Christensen and even the days of Zach Miller and Brandon Myers. The team had no real options at the position last season and didn’t really address it in free agency or the draft. So if it doesn’t sort itself out then the team will be shopping next April or May. Devin Funchess would be a terrific addition. Despite limited blocking potential, the Michigan product is another Graham or Gronkowski type who can cause mismatches in coverage as a pass catcher.
Todd Gurley – RB – Georgia
Based on their coaching philosophies and their free agency moves, it’s clear the Raiders would like to become a team that can consistently run the ball. The problem is they are relying on a stable of questions. Darren McFadden can’t stay healthy. Maurice Jones-Drew has lost a step. Latavius Murray has never played a game. Oakland needs more punch from the ground game and nabbing a talent like Todd Gurley in the 2015 NFL draft would be tremendous. The Georgia running back is the total package: big, strong, fast and versatile. With over 400 college carries, he is already a workhorse type.
Cedric Reed – DE – Texas
Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley were nice additions at defensive end for the Oakland Raiders but at best are mere stopgaps given their respective ages. That means the team can’t afford to wait long before investing at the position in the draft. Cedric Reed out of Texas is a name that is drawing interest. Though he has the look of a player still figuring himself out, the 6’6″ kid is a natural at knifing into the opposing backfield (10 sacks and 16.5 TFL). Some are worried about his limited quickness, but his length and ability to move around the line could make him a legitimate pass rush threat as a pro.
Landon Collins – FS – Alabama
Charles Woodson has had a Hall of Fame career, but at age 37 his time grows short in pro football. The Raiders must prepare for that eventuality at free safety. Landon Collins would be as good an heir apparent as they could hope to find. The Alabama standout finished second on the team in tackles in 2013. He regularly showed the ability to play the run and then drop into coverage to attack passing lanes. The versatility and physical dimensions are all there.