Grading The Oakland Raiders Draft

<b>Analysis:</b> The Oakland defensive backfield struggled throughout 2004 and improving this area, as well as the entire defense, has been a goal. Washington is the fastest player in the draft and has shown solid coverage ability, though he did not play consistently against top-caliber bigger receiving talent while at Nebraska.

Oakland Raiders
1 (23) Fabian Washington; CB - Nebraska
2 (38) Stanford Routt; CB - Houston
3 (69) Andrew Walter; QB - Arizona State
3 (78) Kirk Morrison; MLB - San Diego State
6 (175) Anttaj Hawthorne; DT - Wisconsin
6 (212) Ryan Riddle; DE - California
6 (214) Pete McMahon; OT - Iowa

Analysis: The Oakland defensive backfield struggled throughout 2004 and improving this area, as well as the entire defense, has been a goal. Washington is the fastest player in the draft and has shown solid coverage ability, though he did not play consistently against top-caliber bigger receiving talent while at Nebraska. Washington's lack of physical strength also is a deterrent in run support and he should not be counted on immediately to step in and start.

As the Raiders continue to gear towards revamping and adding depth in the defensive backfield, they reached for Routt with the 38th selection in the draft. It appears the Raiders are locked in on speed players and Routt supplies plenty of this at the corner position. If the Raiders are looking for players in the defensive backfield to step in and contribute immediately, the selection of Routt is questionable. Roust likely will play on special teams as he develops at cornerback.

If it weren't for a shoulder injury, Walter would have been selected much higher than No. 69. Arguably sporting a stronger arm than any of the top quarterbacks in the draft, with experience, Walter could be the next big gun in the Oakland. With the Raiders being a pocket-oriented passing team, the adequately athletic Walter couldn't have been selected by a team with a better match in scheme and talent utilization.

The selection of Morrison could be a steal for the Raiders at No. 78. If the Raiders move Morrison to the outside, this may be a tremendous pick. As an inside linebacker, Morrison struggles at times to break free when engaged, but he has the tools to become an impact linebacker.

Grade: B-


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