Super Bowl XXXVII featured one of the league’s best offenses vs. the best defense. At the end of the day everybody found out that Jon Gruden’s great defense beats the Raider’s great offense. After a decade of dismal play the Raiders have neither a great offense nor a great defense. This leaves them with the number three overall pick in the 2013 draft. Most NFL experts have the Raider’s taking defensive tackle Sharif Floyd or even trading the pick away. Seems reasonable, after all the offensive situation isn’t too bad. Compared to one of the worst defenses to ever wear the colors, silver and black. In fact the offense is talented all across the board with the exception of the offensive line. Leaving one to ponder, perhaps the Raiders may draft an offensive lineman come draft day.
Anybody who has ever wore spiked shoulder pads or punched a friend for uttering Jamarcus Russell’s name in public can attest to the horror show that was the Raider’s defense. I emphasize the word was because GM, Reggie McKenzie, went all Ty Pennington and remodeled the entire defense. The only three remaining starters are linebacker Miles Burris, safety Tyvon Branch, and defensive end Lamarr Houston. The free agent signings strengthen the linebacker and defensive back corps, but leave the defensive line in rough shape. Not to mention the depth of these positions are about as deep as an episode of MTV’s “The Osbournes”.
The offense on the other hand isn’t quite as bad. As of right now the offense has a list of potentially deadly weapons. Darren McFadden is the face of this offense. A face who has yet to complete an entire season. Of course when healthy he is one of the most dangerous backs in the league. The addition of Rashad Jennings, a back with plenty of upside, goes without saying that the Raiders are prepared to win McFadden-less.
When the running backs aren’t running the ball, a speedy and lethal receiving corps can snag the ball. Lead by draft gems Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford, the receivers are young and prove to be threats after the catch as well. The receivers also have depth as undrafted free agent, Rod Streater showed last season. When all are healthy this unit has the ability to perform amongst the elite, and with three different potential starters at quarterback odds are they land at least a half decent thrower if not a pro bowler.
Injury and poor coaching has kept this unit from coming together and performing up to its true potential (I feel as if I have said that word a thousand times when talking about the Raiders). However, the exile of offensive coordinator Greg Knapp and the addition of his replacement, Greg Olson, shows that the Raiders are returning their offense back to the power running bully that it was under Hue Jackson. First things first, the Raiders must solidify their offensive line.
Jared Veldheer is by far the best hog the Raiders have. He is both, an affective pass and run blocker. The versatile Stefen Wisnewski lands the spot as the next to best blocker. Like his uncle before him, Wisnewski is likely to be a force on Oakland’s offensive line for years to come.
After those two things become a little sketchy. Khalif Barnes and Mike Brisiel both proved to be mediocre fill ins for a team without draft picks. Meanwhile a vacant guard position can be filled by the young and untested, Alex Parsons or Tony Bergstrom.
All of this information brings me to ask myself, will the Raiders draft an offensive lineman at number three? Eric Fisher out of Central Michigan would sure give Darren McFadden some space to work with. Picturing one side of the field being blocked by powerhouse monsters Veldheer, Fisher, and Wisnewski has to be awful tempting if your Reggie McKenzie. If not then why hasn’t McKenzie made any attempts of signing a one year contract with a, bottom of the barrel guard.
Even if McKenzie drafts a defensive tackle on the big day it still leaves Oakland with a mediocre defense and a penetrable offense. Doesn’t it make sense to sign another defensive tackle who has something to prove, and draft a second defensive tackle in a later round. This would certainly make for a much better offense. In the end isn’t it better to be good, possibly great, on one side of the ball rather then pitiful on both sides? The Raiders have made it to the Super Bowl relying on their offense before why not try again.
The clock is ticking and soon these questions will be answered. In my opinion the Raiders will come out on top with Sharif Floyd or Eric Fisher. Both players take Oakland one step closer to the return to greatness.
Comment who you think the Raiders should draft and why!