Team Needs: Oakland Raiders
NEEDS RATING KEY
5.0 - High priority. This is a position that is a glaring weakness and there is the likelihood that this team cannot compete next year without making a major addition here.
4.0 - Medium Priority. This is an area that is an obvious weakness, but the team isn't quite desperate to make a major move here possibly because they have some young potential. But this is an area that if the team cannot fix via free agency, will definitely use one of their picks in the first three or four rounds to supplement.
3.0 - Upgrade Potential. This is a position that isn't a weakness per se, but there is significant room for an upgrade. If the right player comes along they will certainly snag him, but if they don't fix this position with a major free agent addition or early round pick, then it's not the end of the world.
2.0 - Depth Need. An area where there is a need to add depth. Perhaps there is an aging veteran and they might want to start to look at grooming his heir apparent or replacement. Not likely to be a high priority and a position that more than likely will be address in the middle and late rounds rather than with a top pick.
1.0 - Future Need. This is an area that is not a priority, and doesn't initially appear as a need. But there is some room to develop some depth for perhaps two or more years down the line. This is usually an area that a team will look at in the late rounds if at all.
0.0 - Non-need. This is a position that is a strength of their team, they have a solid starter, capable depth, and/or a young player at the position that they like and want to develop. Very little possibility this area is addressed and would be the equivalent of a wasted draft pick.
Top 10 Needs
1. CB - 4.5
2. DT - 3.0
3. OG - 3.0
4. OT - 3.0
5. RB - 2.5
6. WR - 2.5
7. QB - 2.0
8. DE - 2.0
9. LB - 2.0
10. S - 1.5
Quarterback - They are committed to Carson Palmer as the starter for the forseeable future, but will have to upgrade their backup spot since Jason Campbell and Kyle Boller aren't expected back. It's unlikely that the new coaching staff will be committed to developing Terrelle Pryor as the heir apparent, so it's possible they try and find a young QB late in the draft. NEED: 2.0
Running Back - Michael Bush is expected to get some play on the open market, making the chances he returns pretty low at this point. There has been talk of moving Darren McFadden to get some draft picks back, but given that Taiwan Jones isn't ready to be a regular contributor, they are probably going to keep him. They could use a backup to replace BUsh if they lose him since McFadden's durability is a major concern. NEED: 2.5
Fullback - Marcel Reece isn't a big-time blocker, but he's a good runner and receiver. But new OC Greg Knapp has had similar players such as Justin Griffith working in his offense, so it probably won't be a problem. NEED: 1.0
Wide Receiver - The Raiders would probably like to acquire a veteran presence on the outside to team with Darrius Heyward-Bey, Denarius Moore, and Jacoby Ford to try and stabilize this unit. But they do have some young talent, so they might just try and have these guys grow and develop with Palmer for a complete off-season. NEED: 2.5
Tight End - Kevin Boss got off to a slow start, but picked up things as the season wore on. Brandon Myers is a capable No. 2. There is room for improvement, but given their lack of cap space and few draft picks, it's more of a luxury item. NEED: 1.5
Offensive Tackle - They need to upgrade the right tackle position, but instead of trying to solidify it with a free agent pickup they could just have Joseph Barksdale and Bruce Campbell compete for the spot. Jared Veldheer is capable on the left side. NEED: 3.0
Offensive Guard - This position probably could use upgrades at both spots since left guard Stefen Wisniewki might be better served moving to his natural position at center, and right guard Cooper Carlisle has been a weak link for several years. But Carlisle is well-versed in the zone blocking scheme Knapp is likely to employ, and Wisniewski can also probably get by there, so given their lack of off-season assets they might have to stand pat. NEED: 3.0
Center - Samson Satele is a serviceable starter in the middle, and is a free agent. They have an in-house candidate in Wisniewski if he was to sign elsewhere, but they seem intent on bringing him back. NEED: 1.0
Defensive Tackle - There is talk they may cut Tommy Kelly, which could open a void here. But more importantly, they will have to decide if they are going to be a 3-4 team. That would fit well for Richard Seymour, but they would need a beefy nose tackle to man the middle. Regardless, they could definitely use more depth here. NEED: 3.0
Defensive End - Lamarr Houston is capable at left end, and could also fit well in a 3-4 scheme. Matt Shaughnessy missed a chunk of last year with injury, but Desmond Bryant filled in well for him. Bryant would likely also work well in a 3-4, but Shaughnessy isn't an ideal fit. THey could bolster their rotation with another pass rush, but it's not a high priority. NEED: 2.0
Linebacker - THey might dump Kamerion Wimbley, but it seems doubtful. Rolando McClain is solid in the middle, and Aaron Curry seems like he fits at the other outside spot. All three could probably easily transition to playing in a 3-4 as well. They could use more depth, but Travis Goethel seems serviceable enough as their main backup. NEED: 2.0
Cornerback - The cutting of Routt leaves a big void here that they will likely have to fill in free agency due to their lack of premium draft picks. DeMarcus Van Dyke and Chris Johnson, who probably will be cut are their top two corners. Lito Sheppard is a free agent and well past his prime. NEED: 4.5
Safety - Tyvon Branch is a priority re-signing as a free agent, and Michael Huff's contract is structured to a point that makes cutting him difficult. The team has Mike Mitchell as a backup and he's competent in that role. Losing Branch would hurt a lot, and require them to make a move, but for the time being they look OK here. NEED: 1.5
Kicker - Sea Bass, 'nuff said. NEED: 0.0
Punter - Lechler. NEED: 0.0
Return Specialist - Between Ford and Moore, they look to be fine here. NEED: 1.0
The year's upcoming draft and the college game can be discussed here.
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