NFL DRAFT: Raiders seek final pieces in draft

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Source:   —  April 22, 2016, at 6:04 PM

Back-to-back productive drafts have Oakland back in position to contend in the AFC West. Common manager Reggie McKenzie will see to chase up on the hauls he'd the latest two years that added foundation pieces in quarterback Derek Carr, pass rusher Khalil Mack and receiver Amari Cooper with another powerful class that can fill some of the few remaining holes on the roster.

NFL DRAFT: Raiders seek final pieces in draft

Years of destitute drafting played a major role in the Oakland Raiders lost the playoffs for thirteen straight seasons. Back-to-back productive drafts have Oakland back in position to contend in the AFC West.

Common manager Reggie McKenzie will see to chase up on the hauls he'd the latest two years that added foundation pieces in quarterback Derek Carr, pass rusher Khalil Mack and receiver Amari Cooper with another powerful class that can fill some of the few remaining holes on the roster.

McKenzie has struck large the past two years at the top of the draft. Mack is the first Raiders draft choose to earn All-Pro honors since two thousand three first-rounder Nnamdi Asomugha, making it at two positions, too.

Carr and Cooper have also shown signs of becoming stars, and Oakland has five other projected starters from the past two draft classes that can lead it out of its more than decade-long despair.

After having dazzling needs throughout the roster in his first four drafts as Raiders common manager, McKenzie can easily utilize his preferred approach of drafting the best available player this year. Oakland has eight selections beginning with the fourteenth pick overall.

The moves in free agency to sign guard Kelechi Osemele, cornerback Sean Smith, linebacker Bruce Irvin, safety Reggie Nelson, as well as the decision to hold left tackle Donald Penn leave most of the starting spots filled. The only totally open position at this point is center linebacker following the offseason release of Curtis Lofton.

Here are some other things to look in the draft for the Raiders:

MAN IN THE MIDDLE: The one hole the Raiders haven't yet filled in free agency is at center linebacker. Ben Heeney got some time playing on the interior in space of the ineffective Lofton, but Oakland could utilize a better option there following season. While defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. frequently used safety Taylor Mays as a linebacker in passing situations latest year, he'd prefer to have a three-down player who could be a thumper against the run, while not being a liability in pass coverage.

BACKFIELD BACKUP: While Latavius Murray became the first Raiders running back to top 1.000 yards rushing since Darren McFadden in two thousand-tenth, he'd tiny help. The only other players to gain even seventy-five yards on the ground latest season were Carr and blocking fullback Jamize Olawale. The wear and tear appeared to get a toll on Murray, whose average yards per carry dropped each quarter from a high of 4.4 in the first to 2.2 in the fourth.

SECONDARY SUPPORT: The additions of Smith and Nelson filled the most dazzling openings in the secondary, but that could be a spot Oakland looks to upgrade even more in the draft. With safety Nate Allen'south durability a question after missing eleven games with two injuries latest season, the Raiders could utilize another option at safety as insurance, or a slot cornerback to utilize when opponents go to three- or four- receiver sets. TJ Carrie is versatile sufficient to be a backup at both spots, but two thousand thirteen first-rounder DJ Hayden has struggled at cornerback for his three seasons in the NFL.

RETURN MAN: Oakland once again lacked a big-play threat in the return game and hasn't had a kickoff returned for a TD since two thousand eleven, and a punt since two thousand eight. The Raiders hoped they found their solution when they drafted Andre Debose in the seventh circular latest season following a stellar college career with five return touchdowns at Florida. But Debose tore his Achilles tendon in the offseason and missed his all rookie season, leaving his status in doubt.

LUXURY ITEMS: With many fewer holes than in the past, the Raiders could also pounce if a top player at an already powerful position happens to fall. They could utilize a deep-threat receiver to team with Cooper and Michael Crabtree, an extra pass rusher to connect Mack, Irvin and Aldon Smith if he returns from suspension in September, or a backup quarterback with Matt McGloin slated to be an unrestricted free agent next offseason.

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