Apr 11, 2012; Alameda, CA, USA; Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders 2014 NFL Draft: Will Reggie McKenzie Shock Raider Nation with the #5 Pick?


Going into his third NFL Draft, Reggie McKenzie remains very much a mystery to Raider Nation. Looking back at his previous two drafts, we can get a glimpse into the mindset and draft philosophy of McKenzie. Judging on last years picks, Raider Nation may be in for a surprise in 2014. The question remains…Could Reggie McKenzie shock the NFL world with the #5 pick?

In the past, so-called experts and fans had a field day predicting the draft picks of the late, great Al Davis RIP. Although Al Davis was a rogue on draft day, he also became predictable when selecting “Height, Weight, Speed” guys he fell in love with. Remember his scholarship players?

Al’s philosophy was draft raw physically talented players and let the Coaches develop and bring out the talent. Problem is, when you change coaches every two years or bring in the wrong coaches, player development goes out the window.

Reggie has not followed suit with Mr. Davis in the coaching department. Despite rumors after the season, Dennis Allen remained the Raiders Head Coach, providing much-needed continuity in Oakland. Still, judging Reggie on his first two picks of the 2013 Draft, it appears he may have taken a page out of Al Davis’ book of drafting.

Last year I agreed with one of my favorite “draft guru’s” Mike Mayock, in naming DJ Hayden the best cornerback going into the draft. Hayden not only had the physical skill set to develop into a top flight cornerback, but he possessed a willingness to tackle and competitiveness in his gameplay. Check out this play from 2011!

Menelik Watson was another physical stand out, who many experts predicted could sneak into the 1st round. Reggie grabbed him in the second round and Watson was immediately pegged to replace Barnes on the right side. What Watson lacked in experience and football IQ, he more than made up for it with immense physical talent and potential. Watson athleticism coming out of college was his big selling point. A moldable player who projected as a future left tackle in the NFL.

Despite playing on the opposite sides of the ball, and having drastically different body types, there is one thing Hayden and Watson have in common….They were both raw Projects.

Hayden and Watson have potential to be great NFL players, but both coming out of college required time and patience for them to make an impact.

Hayden was coming off a devastating life-threatening injury, missing the end of his senior season. Not to mention making the jump from University of Houston into the NFL. Watson was raw coming out of college. Even if he had started for the Raiders in 2013, the Raiders knew there would be growing pains.

Apr 26, 2013; Alameda, CA, USA; Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Apr 26, 2013; Alameda, CA, USA; Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Which begs the question….Why would Reggie McKenzie draft two players with his top two picks who would not be impact players in 2013?

Reggie showed he does not mind selecting a player who needs time to develop, and Reggie will pick “his guy” regardless of draft projections. Reports surfaced shortly after the 2013 Draft which indicated Reggie McKenzie and the Raiders were so high on DJ Hayden, that they would have selected him with the #3 pick.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Hayden and Watson and think they have the potential to be great players. But drafting two players who would not provide instant impact in 2013, was either a mistake by first time GM Reggie McKenzie, or a calculated move in a weak 2013 Draft. I’ll let you decide.

In the 1st and 2nd rounds last year, two players I projected to the Raiders were Star Lotulelei and Kyle Long. Obviously hindsight is 20/20, and I am no expert, but wouldn’t these players have had a bigger impact in 2013, than Hayden and Watson???

Long of course was long gone by the Raiders second round pick, indicating how much teams valued him. Still players like Kawan Short, Margus Hunt, Larry Warford and Tyrann Mathieu, players I was really high on were still available.

Once again I am “No” expert, this is just me playing armchair GM. Which I am pretty proficient at, at least on Madden, HaHa…

In the end the decision to select DJ Hayden and Melelik Watson does provide insight into the type of players Reggie covets in the draft.

The consensus according to most draftniks is the Raiders will either reach for quarterback or select the  “Best Player Available” with the #5 pick. The BPA variable includes the obvious choices, Sammy Watkins, Greg Robinson, and Khalil Mack.

But there is a third option….Can Reggie throw a curve ball and draft someone at #5 that no one has on their radar?

In the draft players fall and players rise, no one can predict it. In 2013 Shariff Floyd was all but certain to go to the Raiders at #3, instead teams including the Raiders did their homework and realized the value was not there for Floyd. He ended up dropping in the draft landing with the Vikings at #23.

The Raiders trade down, and the Dolphins surprising select Dion Jordan at #3, despite a huge need at Tackle. Jordan was rated high in the pre-draft rankings, but was still a surprise pick on draft day. Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland was desperate, and reached on a player. Ireland has since been fired.

Will Reggie get desperate at #5? If so, who could that player be? Who could be the pick no one saw coming?

Nov 9, 2013; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A& Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 9, 2013; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A& Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

The first name that comes to my mind is Mike Evans.

If Sammy Watkins is off the board, Evans could make a lot of sense for the Raiders. Matt Schaub had a big target in Houston with Andre Johnson, and adding a safety blanket and red zone threat like Evans could be magic. In most mock drafts I’ve seen Evans as high as #8, but I’ve also seen him as low as #18 to the Jets.

Evans is a perfect candiadate to shake up the draft and be that one prospect who flies up draft boards.  NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah is one person who believes Evans could have a bigger impact than Sammy Watkins in his rookie year.

Another name is HaHa Clinton-Dix out of Alabama. In a close race with Calvin Pryor as the top free safety in the draft, Clinton-Dix would be a welcomed addition to the Raiders secondary. Old Man Charles Woodson played well last year, but a replacement is sorely needed. Clinton-Dix has been rated as high as #10 to Detroit and as low as #24 to Cincinnati. Clinton-Dix is not considered a Top 5 talent, but if players like Watkins, Clowney and Mack are off the board, Clinton-Dix could be the man at #5.

A couple of other names to think about are Justin Gilbert, Kony Ealy, and Aaron Donald. Each of these players are rated either one or two in their position rankings. Gilbert is an athletic freak who needs to improve technique and physicality. Kony Ealy to me is the best DE outside of Clowney, and Donald is a dynamic DT who if is was not for his lack of height would be a top 5 prospect in my opinion. All three have top-ten potential, and could sneak into the top-five, especially if the quarterbacks fall in this years draft.

Whomever the Raiders select with the #5 pick, Raider Nation should prepare for all possible scenarios. Reggie McKenzie will not let outside influences dictate his decision, but hopefully he corrects what I view as a mistake from last year and lands an impact player for 2014…..Hey, if Reggie really wanted to shock the world, he could always draft Johnny Manziel.




Next Raiders Game View full schedule »
Sunday, Sep 77 Sep1:00at New York JetsBuy Tickets
Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: 2014 NFL Draft Aaron Donald DJ Hayden Johnny Manziel Justin Gilbert Menelik Watson Mike Evans Oakland Raiders Reggie McKenzie

  • Shane Schilperoort

    I’m not big on Manziel at all, and I really hope they don’t draft him. However, stranger things have happened. Maybe they’ll be looking at an offensive lineman at #5? Just a thought.

  • Bob

    With the fifth pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders pick Darrius Heyward-Bey.,.

  • Gregg Brennan

    I don’t think Reggie will reach..although he said last year if the Dolphins hadn’t traded up to get Jordan he would have picked Hayden at 3….so who knows?

  • R8R4LIFE

    I just hope we can get an impact player out the gate. I like the people RM is bringing in. Look at Sio. He can end up being great! I think he’ll make the right decision. I haven’t given up on Hayden and Watson either..

  • Arty G

    Hey I say get the best player on the board regardless who it is….if Manziel is there I say grab I think he can get our team fired up……Da Raaaiders!!!!

  • KloverJane

    Shock? As in pick the impact player like the majority of us want? Or someone you wouldn’t know when the names called and is mocked by opposing fans and every network? Like DJ Hayden. (Verdicts still out). Ya its going to be a shock either way no doubt. Depends on the amps….Raider Nation.

  • KloverJane

    It’ll be a shock alright.

  • Mark Shafer

    It would be great if DJ and Watson live up to there potential this year. Then we draft some new talent to compliment our newly acquired free agents. We can wait until next year for a quarterback.

  • J K

    It’s time to draft an impact player like Mack!

  • ZRaider

    You left out Latavious Murray. We have yet to see what he can do on the field.

  • Chris Schroeder

    Yeah… to me it’s kind of obvious what Reggie McKenzie’s intentions were with last years draft. Like you mentioned Vic. Watson and Hayden were both developmental projects with tremendous upside. It wasn’t so much that the 2013 draft class was weak but that the Raiders were salary strapped and had no intention of making a playoff run last year. Remember, they also put away Latavious Murray on the IR list just to reserve his talents for this year. To me those moves speaks to building for the future and not concerning themselves so much with 2013. All good draft picks except for quarterback Tyler Wilson were good picks. last years quarterbacks were crap anyways so I really wouldn’t consider that too big of a loss, just sucks that they had spent a fourth-round pick on him.

  • http://batman-news.com Otis60

    I agree, and think that Hayden, Watson, and Moore will all end up being Pro Bowl quality players. For this year, in this deep draft, I think that if a VERY high-impact defensive player, either Mack or Clowney, isn’t available at #5, we should look into trading down and getting more picks. There are going to be alot of very good players throughout the first 3 or 4 rounds, and we need to start adding young quality depth.

  • DanfromVegas

    Nicely done Vic Lopez. Best new read in a good while.

  • Reacher

    Trade down to #10 with the Lions so they can pick either Watkins or Evans (in that order depending who is on the board) … get the #10 and #45 picks from the Lions, pick up Aaron Donald at #10, Jordan Matthews with #36, and Kyle Fuller at #45 (assuming he’s there duhr), Stanley Jean-Baptise at #67 … bam, 4 hella sick players in 3 rounds.

  • G Clem

    No more Hayden picks. It was a feel good story but unless he becomes another Sherman, Reggie screwed the pooch.

  • Mark from Section 122

    I just love it when people talk about the draft. The Raiders have not had a very good track record and Reggie has done absolutely nothing to instill any confidence in me that he is going to change that pattern. So let’s take a trip down Bad memory lane and take a closer look at Raider First Round Picks, shall we? I’ll just go back 10 years with the Raiders, because 10 years is a nice round number.

    In 2004, Raiders had the 2nd pick in the first round and, instead of going after a proven impact player, took Offensive Lineman Robert Gallery. Next pick after Gallery..Larry Fitzgerald to Arizona.

    After that, in order: Phillip Rivers, Sean Taylor, Kellen Winslow, Roy Williams, DeAngelo Hall, Reggie Williams. Also in the first round Steven Jackson, Michael Jenkins, Ben Roethlisberger.

    2005…. Raiders trade down to 23 and pick Fabian Washington, next man picked? Aaron Rogers.

    Jason Campbell, Heath Miller and Vincent Jackson were also available.

    2006, Raiders pick at #7 and get Michael Huff, next player picked Donte Whitner.

    After him in order, Ernie Sims, Matt Leinert, Jay Cutler, Haloti Nqata, and Kameron Wimbley. There were also Antonio Cromartie, Tamba Hall, Santonio Holmes, DeAngelo Williams and Joseph Adai.

    2007, Raiders pick #1 and any Raider fan worth their salt knows this fun fact, Jamarcus Russell. Next player picked…Calvin Johnson.

    Also on the board and picked in the first round that year; Joe Thomas, LaRon Landry, Adrian Peterson, Patrick Willis, Marshawn Lynch, Darelle Revis, Michael FGriffin, Dwayne Bowe, Brandon Meriweather, Jon Beason, Anthony Spencer, Joe Staley, and Ben Grubbs..all of them Pro-bowlers.

    2008, Raiders pick at #4 and take Darren McFadden. Next player picked Glenn Dorsey (current Nose Tackle for the 49ers).

    Pro-Bowlers left on the board Chris Johnson, Mike Jenkins, Brandon Flowers, Duane Brown, Dominique Rogers-Cromartie, Ryan Clady, Jerod Mayo, Brandon Albert, Aqib Talib.

    2009, Raiders get Darrius Heywood-Bey, next player picker Eugene Monroe.

    Leeft for other teams; Michael Crabtree, B.J. Raji, Knowshon Moreno, Brian Orakpo, Malcolm Jenkins, Brian Cushing, Josh Freeman, Robert Ayers, Jeremy Maclin, Brandon Pettigrew, Percy Harvin, Michael Oher, Clay Matthews, Hakeem Nicks, Beanie Wells.

    2010, Raiders go off at #8 and choose…….Rolando McClain, next player picked, C.J Spiller.

    Ryan Matthews, Earl Thomas, Jason Pierre-Paul, Derrick Morgan, Michael Iupati, Sean Weatherspoon, Jermaine Gresham, Demaryius Thomas, Dez Bryant, Tim Tebow, Devin McCourtney and Jahvid Best, also there.

    2011 and 2012, Raiders traded away their 1st round picks, you don’t want to know who they missed.

    2103 Raiders choose D.J Hayden, next player chosen Sheldon Richardson The NFL Defensive Rookie Player of the Year. Kyle long was still there too.

  • Terrence Healy

    I think the Raiders, in the focus of Rebuilding the team, should trade down twice, to pick up as many picks as possible. It could turn two picks into 4 or 5. We still have McGloin and Pryor, make Pryor QB,TE and Receiver.