One story in a series look ahead to the NFL Draft and how it pertains to the Oakland Raiders needs. Today – a look at offensive guard:
This is not area of need because of weakness but the Raiders still have not resigned starting right guard Mo Collins, an unrestricted free agent.
Oakland has some depth at this position but losing Collins would create a gaping hole on an offensive line that was crucial to the team's success, especially in allowing the club to become the top-rated passing attack in the NFL. Collins has been injury prone but a force when healthy and is a player the team needs to retain. The question is – how much is Oakland willing – and able -- to spend in order to keep him?
The Raiders are set at left guard with Frank Middleton, who is versatile enough to play either the right or left side. Oakland resigned backup Brad Badger and that retains some depth the team had at the position.
If Collins is not resigned, Oakland can turn to Matt Stinchcomb. He was the 18th overall pick in the 1999 draft but has not lived up to those expectations.
Stinchcomb played well when Collins missed the early part of last season with a knee injury. Stinchcomb, however, has been too injury prone in his career to be counted on as a full-time starter.
Resigning Collins would eliminate this position as a need but since his status is still certain Oakland may need to look at this spot in the draft. The Raiders have the 31st and 32nd picks in the first round. Texas' Derrick Dockery, Southern Mississippi's Torrin Tucker and Texas A&M's Taylor Whitney could be available to fill that need.
The 6-foot-5, 355-pound Dockery is a great fit for the power running game. Tucker has the potential to be a dominant force but his emotions can get the better of him at times. Whitney was a backup at both guard and tackle before becoming a full-time starter at guard in 2001.
Vince D'Adamo can be reached at email@example.com