Oakland Raiders 2014 Draft Preview

 

The Sports Network

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Oakland Raiders are seemingly always wild cards when it comes to the NFL Draft but 2014 could see the organization take a more conventional approach.

General manager Reggie McKenzie could go in a number of directions with the No. 5 overall pick and the Raiders are obviously one of a number of teams in the top five who are unsettled at the quarterback position. That said, Oakland could also use help on both lines as well as a big-play threat at receiver.

McKenzie brought a ton of money into the offseason and did a nice job plugging holes for the short-term, be it trading for veteran signal caller Matt Schaub or signing defensive lineman Justin Tuck, linebacker LaMarr Woodley and offensive tackle Austin Howard.

He and head coach Dennis Allen remain on very short leashes, though, so risking everything on a quarterback like Johnny Manziel or Blake Bortles seems unlikely.

The added incentive to win now should turn Oakland toward a safer prospect and snaring Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins is as secure as it gets in this draft.

If Watkins is gone, that could mean Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack or Auburn left tackle Greg Robinson would fall to No. 5 and both would serve as nice alternatives for the Raiders.

2013 Record: 4-12

Top Needs: QB, OL, DE, WR

First Three Picks: No. 5, No. 36, No. 67

Number of Selections: 7 (1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 7, 7)

CALLING THE SHOTS: McKenzie gets his third and possibly final try to turn around the Raiders after consecutive 4-12 seasons. Part of his madness came to fruition already as he brought $60 million-plus into free agency and snared some big names. The draft remains more important to building a team, however, so McKenzie needs to start scoring more consistently there.

RECENT FIRST ROUND HISTORY: 2013 - D.J. Hayden (CB, Houston); 2012 - none; 2011 - none; 2010 - Rolando McClain (LB, Alabama); 2009 - Darrius Heyward-Bey (WR, Maryland); 2008 - Darren McFadden (RB, Arkansas); 2007 - JaMarcus Russell (QB, LSU); 2006 - Michael Huff (S, Texas); 2005 - Fabian Washington (CB, Nebraska); 2004 - Robert Gallery (OT, Iowa); 2003 - Nnamdi Asomugha (CB, California), Tyler Brayton (DE, Colorado).

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