The Raiders aren’t making much noise in free agency and will attempt to build through the draft. Missing are five of their original seven draft selections and in their place are five players that may contribute in 2012.
A couple more selections may be awarded as compensatory selections, but that is yet to be determined.
What is the best case and worse case scenarios for the Raiders’ 2012 draft? Not only does it depend on the players they draft, but how many they draft and how the players perform they obtained for those picks.
1st Round: Carson Palmer
Hue Jackson orchestrated a trade that brought Palmer to Oakland. It was too much to give up, but what’s done is done. The Raiders have their franchise quarterback, right? That’s the hope. The new regime is hitching their wagon to Palmer and putting a new offense around him. There wasn’t many other options for the Raiders.
Best Case: Palmer, with an offseason with the receivers and studying the offense, turns in a pro bowl season and leads the Raiders to their first playoff berth since 2002. Winning the AFC championship game would bump the 2013 pick from a second round to a first round pick and further justify why Hue Jackson traded for him.
Worst Case: Palmer continues to be a turnover machine and the Raiders change the offense to the extent that Palmer is handicapped by his weaknesses. Palmer is average, doesn’t lead the Raiders to the playoffs and never justifies even one of the two picks the Raiders gave up for him.
2nd Round: Joseph Barksdale and Taiwan Jones
2011 was the rookie year for Barksdale and Jones and neither produced. Jones was injured and never cracked the rotation at running back and Barkdale spent the entire season as a backup. While the Raiders don’t have their second round pick, they do have a two sophomore’s with a year of NFL experience. The Raiders will be counting some development from both players/
Best Case: Barksdale becomes a solid starter on the offensive line and Taiwan Jones becomes a nightmare speed back that is a threat to take the ball the distance every time he touches the ball.
Worst Case: Both wash out. Barksdale never wins a starting job and is eventually released. Jones has problems with injuries and tries to do too much when he gets the ball.
3rd Round: Terrelle Pryor & Draft Pick(s)
It should be intriguing how Greg Knapp works Pryor into the rotation at quarterback. Pryor will have to be patient with the Raiders if he wants to play quarterback. The Raiders could work Pryor into special packages and expand his role as he becomes more comfortable in the offense.
In return for losing Nnamdi Asomugha the Raiders should receive a draft pick. It is expected to be a pick in the third round. The Raiders may receive a second pick in the third round as compensation for losing Zach Miller.
Best Case: Pryor becomes a weapon on offense and takes over for Palmer in a couple of years as the starter. The Raiders get two picks and are able to find a quality defender at cornerback and linebacker.
Worst Case: Pryor isn’t ever a starter and can only play in special packages. Pryor is eventually released.The Raiders don’t receive a compensatory pick until the fourth round.
4th Round: Draft Pick(s)
The Raiders could receive a couple of compensatory draft picks for Zach Miller and Robert Gallery in the fourth round. The Raiders original pick in this round was traded for Jason Campbell two years ago.
Best Case: Raiders receive an additional pick in the fourth round for Robert Gallery having received two in the third for Asomugha and Miller. The Raiders find a quality lineman.
Worst Case: Raiders receive only one pick and are forced to try to find a player at a position of need, but because it’s the end of the fourth round the quality prospects at linebacker and cornerback are off the board.
5th Round: Original Draft Pick (can be traded)
With the 13th pick of the fifth round the Raiders will have their first non-compensatory selection of the 2012 draft. An additional compensatory selection is possible at the end of the fifth for Robert Gallery if they are not awarded one in the fourth, but it is also possible the Raiders don’t receive a compensatory for Gallery at all.
Best case: McKenzie doesn’t think much value remains on the board worth a fifth and the Raiders, having addressed many needs with their compensatory selections in prior rounds, trade the pick for a future fourth.
Worst case: Talent has thinned and the Raiders are unable to move the pick. McKenzie drafts his best player available, but the player will be sitting behind established starters for the next several years.
6th Round: Original Draft Pick (can be traded)
The Raiders will have the 19th pick in the sixth round. It is one of the Raiders original picks giving the Raiders the option of trading the pick if it benefits them.
Best Case: McKenzie doesn’t think much value remains on the board worth a sixth and the Raiders, having addressed many needs with their compensatory selections in prior rounds, trade the pick for a future fifth.
Worst Case: Talent has thinned and the Raiders need the pick to find a player to fill out the roster, but McKenzie plays it safe and drafts a role player.
7th Round: Aaron Curry
The Raiders traded their seventh-round selection for Aaron Curry last season. Curry and the Raiders had mutual interest in continuing the relationship and worked out a restructured contract in 2012 that saves the Raiders cap space.
Best Case: Curry turns into the pro bowl caliber linebacker he was expected to be when he was drafted out of Wake Forest and solidifies the defense.
Worst Case: Curry remains a liability in coverage and the Raiders have to bring in a player for Curry on third down.