The Oakland Raiders should probably be getting ready for the 2018 NFL Draft. They will have a ton of picks to get better. Here are their five biggest needs.
Week 16 will likely be the last week that the Oakland Raiders will technically be alive in the AFC playoff race. The Silver and Black have already been eliminated from winning the AFC West crown. They are going to need like a five-way tie at the end of Week 17 to have any shot at the No. 6 seed. Basically, that’s not happening.
So now might be the right time to focus our attention on the 2018 NFL Draft. Everybody loves the draft, except when you have a bad front office that gives away all their picks to draft an overrated quarterback way too high in the first round. No, the Raiders do not have that problem. Derek Carr will be with the Raiders for a long time under center. Plus, the Raiders will have more draft picks than anyone in this spring’s draft.
Oakland will have a pick in each round, plus five in the sixth round in the form of compensatory picks. With 11 picks in total, the Raiders will have the ability to move up and down the draft board however general manager Reggie McKenzie pleases. To be fair, this Raiders team still has so much talent on it, but this was an underperforming team this fall to say the least.
Oakland still has plenty of holes it needs to address in roster construction, especially on the defensive side of the ball. While the Raiders have plenty of draft needs, here are the five we have to believe that the Silver and Black will end up using one of their 11 2018 NFL Draft picks on.
Skill Position Playmaker
Okay, a skill position playmaker sounds very vague. However, we can’t expect McKenzie to stand pat with with offensive weaponry he has at his disposal for another season. His receivers are dropping too many passes. The running game only goes as the 31-year-old Marshawn Lynch goes. Jared Cook is a good tight end that disappears at times from the passing game.
So we need to hope that the Raiders will target either a running back, a tight end or a wide receiver somewhere in the third to fifth rounds of this draft. Lynch is under contract through 2018, but will be a free agent in 2019. Expect that the Raiders will draft his heir apparent at some point. Tight end Lee Smith will be a free agent this spring. Wide receiver/return specialist Cordarrelle Patterson has just a club option for 2018.
Of course, we can expect guys like Cook, Lynch and wide receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree back for the Raiders in 2018, but adding another wrinkle to this offense in the draft could be huge for the Raiders. Whether it’s in the passing game or the running game, that doesn’t really matter, as the Raiders could certainly use help at both.
If we were to stack up the hierarchy of offensive skill positions on the Raiders’ draft board, likely it would go running back, wide receiver then tight end. It would be shocking to not see Oakland take a running back or wide receiver in the third to fifth rounds. Grabbing a tight end with one of those sixth rounds could totally be in play, too.