Round 1 Pick 5 – Khalil Mack LB
Round 2 Pick 36 – Derek Carr QB
Round 3 Pick 81 – Gabe Jackson G
Round 4 Pick 107 – Justin Ellis DT
Round 4 Pick 116 – Keith McGill CB
Round 7 Pick 219 – Travis Carrie CB
Round 7 Pick 235 – Shelby Harris DE
Round 7 Pick 247 – Jonathan Downing SS
The Raiders went into the 2014 draft after going 4-12 last season and they were one of the most active teams in free agency. Going into the draft the Raiders needed players who could form the foundation of the side for years to come. The key was to get players with a high ceiling rather than just focus on players who can contribute immediately. Tentatively, the Raiders seemed to have managed to do this.
With the fifth overall pick the Raiders drafted outside linebacker Khalil Mack. Few saw Mack falling out of the top three, but it turns out that Jaguars' General Manager David
Caldwell was madly in love with University of Central Florida QB Blake Bortles and that this love blinded him to the logic of taking Mack and then trading back into the draft a la the Browns and Vikings.
You talk about drafting the best player left on the board, and the Raiders' back office must have been deliriously happy to see Khalil Mack's name still on the board when they were put on the clock.
By getting Mack, the Raiders have got a legitimate three down linebacker who can do it all. Where Mack really shines though is against the pass. A pass rusher of Mack's talents would have went number one in most years of the draft. Mack is fast, strong and is proficient at shedding blocks. Last season, the Mack dazzled, registering 10.5 sacks, 100 tackles, five forced fumbles whilst breaking up seven passes with three interceptions and 19 tackles for a loss.
Whilst other top pass rushers in the class like Jadeveon Clowney and Aaron Donald are essentially one trick ponies who might struggle against bigger stronger NFL quality players, Mack has the technical finesse to be an immediate pass rush threat at pro level. Nothing is guaranteed, but Mack is as close to a future pro-bowler as you can get to in a draft.
The Raiders followed up the selection of Mack with the second round choice of QB Derek Carr. Although, Carr won't be an all-time great it does seem likely that he can prosper in a west coast offense that plays to his strengths of having a quick release and short accurate throws. Even better for the Raiders is that Carr will be able to learn the offense behind free agent signing Matt Schaub who must surely be the starter for the 2014 season.
Perhaps the best value pick of the Raiders draft came in the third round. In round three the Raiders drafted guard Gabe Jackson who might just be the best blocker in the draft. Jackson hasn't been credited with being responsible for a sack since his sophomore year. Even more excitingly though, he looks like the kind of player who could give the Oakland running game a shot in the arm for years to come.
Jackson is 6'3'' tall weighs 336 pounds and is a the sort of run blocker whose hits will bless highlight reels for seasons to come. Last season Jackson delivered 20 touchdown blocks on 29 scoring runs for the Mississippi State Bulldogs ground game. He could be just the sort of player to get Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden firing on all cylinders. To get a player like that in round three is a steal.
The Raiders followed these picks up by taking players like CBs McGill and DT Ellis. Both these players have their flaws but also a high upside. Ellis should be able to fill up
space on the line of scrimmage, stuffing up the run and giving the likes of Mack the best chance to do their thing. Whilst McGill has the on-field talent but off field issues that dragged him down the draft.
Overall, 2014 has been one of the best Raiders drafts in recent years.
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