Reggie McKenzie’s first draft as Oakland’s general managers might not be a memorable one. Then again, for all we know McKenzie and his staff might have unearthed a future Hall of Famer. Or it could be that all McKenzie’s done is gone out and grabbed enough players to fill out Dennis Allen’s special teams for next season.
Like any draft it’s just far too early to tell.
What we know for sure is that there was a heavy emphasis on defense what with four of Oakland’s six picks being defenders. There’s also an interesting trend of guys with basketball backgrounds becoming Raiders on McKenzie’s watch. We already knew about the recent signing of former Cal State Fullerton baller Andre Hardy before the draft. As Vittorio Tafur points out several players drafted by the Raiders also have hoops backgrounds.
No matter their football experience most of this draft was about building for the future. Not so much in the true football sense. Yes, these prospects will have to be coached up in order to contribute. More importantly it appears as if McKenzie is just trying to create a competitive atmosphere going into camp.
How successful this draft class may or may not be won’t be known for years. Then again, when your first pick isn’t until #95 overall there’s a chance you could know all you need to of this class by the end of the coming season. Either way, time will tell.
Here is the Oakland Raiders 2012 draft class.
Tony Bergstrom, OT, Utah – 3rd Round, 95th overall – Bergstrom might not have been a name on the tips of many draftnik’s tongues…well…expect for the readers of JBB who knew about him almost a month before the draft began. None the less McKenzie’s first pick should be a solid addition to the O-line. Bergstrom was a three year starter at right tackle, a team captain and played in the zone-blocking-scheme so he should fit right in with Greg Knapp’s plans. He’ll likely move to guard where he could become a starter in the near future. He’s a couple years older than his classmates so Bergstrom also has a bit of a veteran quality if any rookie ever had one.
Miles Burris, OLB, San Diego State – 4th Round, 129th overall – Taking Burris in the fourth was viewed as a bit of reach. Chances are Oakland could have still landed him in the 5th but when you have a chance to grab your guy you take him. Burris is a high motor, downhill type of linebacker that has special teams ace written all over him. He’ll also get a chance to compete for snaps too. McKenzie made no secret that outside linebacker is a position of need and as evident by Philip Wheeler’s one-year contract Oakland is still looking for a more permanent solution.
Jack Crawford, DE, Penn State – 5th Round, 158th overall – Crawford is among the aforementioned projects McKenzie and the Raiders have undertaken. He is originally from England and didn’t pick up American football until much later. Still, he’s got some athletic upside and plenty of potential. It seems unlikely you’ll see much from him early on but there is a certain Matt Shaughnessy feel to this pick. This selection is also noteworthy as McKenzie traded down with the Lions in the 5th to get an additional pick in the 7th round. Detroit traded up to land sleeper cornerback prospect Chris Greenwood, a guy JBB had pegged as a potential Raider. Time will tell but maybe the Lions were onto something.
Juron Criner, WR, Arizona – 5th Round, 168th overall – Criner is an intriguing prospect. Anybody that follows the now PAC 12 will be very familiar with his talents. At one point Criner was being talked up as a possible early round pick. Then some inconsistent performances combined with a slow 40-yard dash saw his stock drop. What Criner can do is go get the ball when it’s in the air. This isn’t a guy who waits for the ball to come to him, he attacks it. He also runs very good routes and has good size (6’3”, 224lbs) for an NFL receiver. Could this mean the end of the Louis Murphy era? All will be revealed during those heated camp battles.
Christo Bilukidi, DT, Georgia State – 6th Round, 189th overall – Enter the wildcard. This wasn’t a name that got talked up much leading up to the draft but if things go according to plan you’ll hear plenty of praise for this pick. Bilukidi took one of the most unorthodox routes to the NFL including playing high school hoops in Canada, football at a JUCO in Arizona before finally earning a scholarship at Georgia State. He’s an athletic freak that plays with a high motor. He’s also a massive project as his talents are raw. Who knows what will come of this pick but McKenzie showed some of his inner Al Davis on this one.
Nate Stupar, OLB, Penn State – 7th round, 230th overall – With McKenzie’s additional pick he took a guy that is almost exclusively a special teamer. But at this point in the draft you’re just looking for value. If Stupar can make the 53-man then he’ll earn his keep covering kicks. He only stared 7 games at Penn State but was a special teams fixture. At least he’ll be greeted by familiar faces in Oakland. Including the Stefen Wisniewski pick last year the Raiders have grabbed three Nittany Lions in two years.
Topics: 2012 NFL Mock Draft, 2012 Raiders Draft Class, Al Davis, Andre Hardy, Chris Greenwood, Christo Bilukidi, Jack Crawford, Juron Criner, Louis Murphy, Miles Burris, Nathan Stupar, Philip Wheeler, Reggie McKenzie, Stefen Wisniewski, Tony Bergstrom