Oakland Raiders: High Upside Is The Theme Of Their 2013 Draft


Apr 26, 2013; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie during the 2013 draft press conference at Oakland Raiders headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2013 NFL Draft finally over, the Oakland Raiders added 10 players to their roster over the three day event. They went into the draft with just seven selections, but several trades allowed them to pick up a few more picks to bolster the roster. Let us go ahead and have a look at who they selected and break down the picks.

Draft Picks:

Round 1 (12): D.J. Hayden, CB – Houston: The Raiders added a potential impact player to their the defense. The rumors were that the Raiders were willing to take Hayden with the third overall pick, but the Miami Dolphins wanted to move up and add the 42nd overall pick to swap picks with the Raiders. So, the Raiders were able to get much better value out of their pick, as they got the player the coveted and adding an additional pick in the second round. Hayden is an excellent cover corner with fluid movement skills and great ball skills. He is also a good tackler on the edge. Hayden has the ability to a shutdown cover corner and the Raiders were able to get great value by trading down.

Round 2 (42): Menelik Watson, OT – Florida State: Menelik Watson is possibly the biggest boom or bust prospect in the draft. Watson is originally from Great Britain and came to the United States to play basketball. He eventually switched to football and played one year at Saddleback Junior College before transferring to Florida State before last season.Watson has a tremendous upside at the tackle position. He combines great size and length with great athleticism. The major downside is his lack of experience with only three years of organized football under his belt. So, Raiders coaches will have their hands full trying get Watson to reach his potential, due to trying to not only correct his technique, but trying to build up his football I.Q. and awareness. If he can reach his potential then the Raiders could have a player that grades out eventually with Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel.

Round 3 (66): Sio Moore, LB – Connecticut: In the third round, the Raiders grabbed the highly underrated Sio Moore. Moore is one of the better pass rushing linebackers in the draft. Moore is a player that coaches love to have with his extremely competitive drive and non-stop motor. He is a very disciplined player and plays within the scheme of the defense maintaining his proper gaps. He does not have the ideal size or foot speed that scouts look for, but his intelligence and competitive drive will make him a solid football player for years to come.

Sep 29, 2012; College Station, TX, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback Tyler Wilson (8) throws a pass against the Texas A

Round 4 (112): Tyler Wilson, QB – Arkansas:
Tyler Wilson is my favorite selection that the Raiders’ front office made. Wilson was on the verge of being a superstar following his 2011 season when he completed 63.3 percent of his passes for 3,638 yards with 24 touchdowns and six interceptions in the SEC. During the following off season, Wilson lost his head coach and his top three receivers and it showed as he regressed in his senior year.
Wilson possesses good arm strength and accuracy, especially on intermediate throws. He is also the toughest quarterback in this class, as shown by his ability to stand tall in pocket and take a hit to deliver a throw. He has a tendency to trust his arm a little too much and will force throws into tight coverage. Wilson has the potential to compete for the starting spot in a couple years, if coaches can fine tune his mechanics on the deep throws and work on his discipline on when to try and fit balls into a window.

Round 6 (172): Nick Kasa, TE – Colorado: Again, the Raiders went for a high upside project. Kasa began his career at Colorado as a defensive end, before switching to tight end towards the end of his junior year. Kasa is still plenty raw at the tight end position, but you can see the potential talent he possesses as he moves forward at that spot. He has great size at six feet, six inches tall and he weighs in at 269 pounds. He is still learning the nuances of the route running and catching passes. His blocking ability and willingness to block have caught the eye of scouts, who believe with some cleaning up of his technique He could become a devastating run blocker. Kasa has the potential to become a solid all-around tight end, if he can become a better receiver.

Round 6 (181): Latavius Murray, RB – Central Florida: Latavius Murray is an intriguing prospect due to his size and speed combination. Murray is a big back at six feet, two inches tall and weighs 223 pounds. He caught the eye of scouts during his pro day when he was clocked at 4.38 and 4.40 in the 40 yard dash. Following his workout, NFL scouts started moving Murray on to their draft boards. Murray had a very productive season with 1,106 yards and 15 touchdowns in just nine games. Murray also shows a willingness and some good flashes of pass protection in the pocket. He had great ball security during his time at Central Florida with only a single fumble in his four year career. Murray will provide depth at the running back position and fill a role similar to that of Michael Bush.

September 29, 2012; Athens, GA, USA; Tennessee Volunteers tight end Mychal Rivera (81) runs after a catch in the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium. The Bulldogs won 51-44. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Round 6 (184): Mychal Rivera, TE – Tennessee:
The Raiders went with a safer tight end selection to pair with Kasa. Rivera is a much more versatile player. He is a smooth athlete with better than expected speed. Rivera has goods hands and will extend his arms to make a catch. He can line up in the slot, on the line, and in the backfield. He is a little undersized at the tight position and will struggle to be an inline blocker and projects to be more of an H-back type player. Safe, late round type selection to create some depth at the position.

Round 6 (205): Stacy McGee, DT – Oklahoma: With all the successes for General Manager Reggie McKenzie, the selection of McGee makes no sense at all. Despite the need at the position, McGee does not seem to fit the mold of player that McKenzie said he is looking to add to his team. McGee does possess good physical ability and the ability to make plays along the line, but his troubled history should have turned McKenzie away. McGee had several suspensions during his career at Oklahoma, including a couple arrests. His motor has often been questioned as he does not seem to finish plays through the whistle. McKenzie believes that McGee has put his past behind when talking to people around him, but I do not know if taking a chance on a guy with this many red flags will pay off.

Round 7 (209): Brice Butler, WR – San Diego State: Brice Butler is another pick made on pure potential. Butler has an excellent blend of size, speed and athleticism. Bulter ran a 4.37 40 yard dash and had 39 inch vertical leap at his pro day. Bulter originally signed with USC before transferring to San Diego State before the 2012 season. He was the second leading receiver for the Aztecs with 24 catches for 347 yards and 4 touchdowns. Butler did not have the most productive collegiate career, but if he can figure it out at the next level with his size and athleticism, he could become a steal for the Raiders.

Feb 23, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Missouri Western State Griffons defensive lineman David Bass speaks at a press conference during the 2013 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Round 7 (233): David Bass, DE – Missouri Western State:
McKenzie addressed his pass rush with this potential late round gem in Bass. Bass had an extremely productive career at division II Missouri Western State with 56 tackles for a loss and 39.5 sacks during his four year career. He has good quickness and lateral movement. His is also a very high character person and leader for his team. The level of competition will be a question mark as he makes the leap to the NFL. He has the potential to be a pass rush terror that will help out the Raiders’ pathetic pass rush.

Notable Undrafted Free Agent Signings:

Conner Vernon, WR – Duke: Vernon was extremely productive during his time at Duke. Vernon is not an explosive athlete, but he has decent short area quickness and could excel a slot receiver role. His hands are great and he could be a chain mover at the NFL level.

Sam McGuffie, WR/RB – Rice:
McGuffie was a highly sought after prospect coming out of high school, but injuries and transfers derailed his career. McGuffie possesses great speed and quickness and could excel in the slot in the mold of a Wes Welker or Danny Amendola. He also has the versatility of playing in the backfield in his career.

Dexter McCoil, S – Tulsa: Dexter McCoil is an interesting project at the safety position. His size is outstanding at six feet, four inches tall and weighing in at 224 pounds. He is a decent athlete, but is not overly explosive and his long stride gives him better than expected range. He is overaggressive at times and is not a great tackler.

The Raiders had a great draft in my opinion. They filled a lot of their needs and they were able to trade down multiple times to add several more selections over the course of their draft. They added several players that should be able to come and provide an impact immediately in Hayden, Moore, and Rivera. They also grabbed several high upside players in Watson, Wilson, Kasa, and Butler.

I think David Bass could the dark horse player out of this group and could become a monster on third down and other passing situations with his ability to get after to the passer. The Murray pick provides much needed depth to the running back position, because Darren McFadden’s health is always a concern. The only miss I think that McKenzie had was his selection of McGee, due to his many red flags and character concerns.

Overall, I think this is a solid draft that added a lot of solid players and a couple potential stars. The only concern is that they choose too many high risk, high reward type players. I would give the Raiders a grade of a B+ for their 2013 draft.