Oakland Raiders Draft Preview; 2016 Schedule Released
With the NFL Draft set to begin on April 28th, let’s take a look at this year’s Oakland Raiders Draft Preview and schedule.
Oakland Raiders Draft Preview
Top Needs: Offensive Tackle, Cornerback, Inside Linebacker, Safety, Running Back
Draft Picks: Round 1 (14), Round 2 (44), Round 3 (75), Round 4 (114), Round 5 (143), (154), Round 6 (194), Round 7 (234)
The Oakland Raiders look to be done sitting at the bottom of the league after finishing last season a respectable 7-9. Although they still did not make the playoffs, they took some huge steps forward and are considered to be a team to look out for this season.
After hitting home runs on Derek Carr, Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack, the Raiders have drafted some franchise players that can be the base of a young, up-and-coming franchise. The offense was rarely the problem in 2015, but rather the defense allowing a hair under 25 points a game. Free agent acquisition Bruce Irvin will provide a good pass rush opposite of Khalil Mack, but this defense needs to get better at inside linebacker. Look for one to be taken in the first round this year.
A couple guys that can land in the silver and black next season are Daron Lee out of Ohio State and Reggie Ragland from Alabama. These two linebackers couldn’t be any more different. Lee is a more athletic, fast, coverage type of linebacker, while Ragland is your more old school, downhill thumper. Nonetheless, either one could come in and be an immediate starter next to Ben Heeney.
Grabbing Reggie Nelson via free agency will help fill the void left by future hall of famer Charles Woodson, but the Raiders still need to get deeper at the safety position. With Karl Joseph from West Virginia likely taken off the board in the first or very early second round, the Raiders can look to grab someone in the second or third rounds.
A guy who projects right in the heart of that is Jeremy Cash from Duke. He is an in-the-box type safety who does not shy from contact at all. He posted three consecutive 100-tackle seasons at Duke while being named ACC Defensive Player of the Year his senior year. A corner can also be the pick in round two or three.
In the next couple of rounds, the Raiders should look to add some interior defensive line help along with getting some depth at the running back position. Luckily for the Raiders, along with many teams, the defensive line is the deepest position in the draft. Don’t be surprised to see guys going in the fourth or later rounds who possibly could have been second rounders.
A guy the Raiders can possibly look at in the fourth or fifth round is Maliek Collins from Nebraska. He isn’t the biggest defensive tackle to ever play the game at just 6’2”, but what he lacks in size he makes up for in movement. He has smooth hips and light feet which he uses to beat blockers rather than pure strength.
The Raiders can close out there draft by getting some depth at the running back spot as well as receiver. A couple guys who can be late round options for them are running back Darius Jackson from Eastern Michigan and receiver Cody Core from Ole Miss. Jackson looks to be another sleeper back from a small school, while Cody Core is not as well-known due to playing with arguably the best receiver coming out this year in Laquan Treadwell.
Oakland Raiders’ Schedule
Week 1: Sept. 11, at New Orleans Saints, 10:00 AM
Week 2: Sept. 18, Atlanta Falcons, 1:25
Week 3: Sept. 25, at Tennessee Titans, 10:00 AM
Week 4: Oct. 2, at Baltimore Ravens, 10:00 AM
Week 5: Oct. 9, San Diego Chargers, 1:25
Week 6: Oct. 16, Kansas City Chiefs, 1:05
Week 7: Oct. 23, at Jacksonville Jaguars, 10:00 AM
Week 8: Oct. 30, at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 10:00 AM
Week 9: Nov. 6, Denver Broncos*, 5:30
Week 10: BYE
Week 11: Nov. 21, Houston Texans (Mexico City) (Mon), 5:30
Week 12: Nov. 27, Carolina Panthers, 1:25
Week 13: Dec. 4, Buffalo Bills, 1:05
Week 14: Dec. 8, at Kansas City Chiefs (Thu), 5:25
Week 15: Dec. 18, at San Diego Chargers, 1:25
Week 16: Dec. 24, Indianapolis Colts (Sat), 1:05
Week 17: Jan. 1, at Denver Broncos, 1:25
(Oakland Raiders Draft Preview)