Raiders' insider analysis

Andy Levitre is considered one of the top five offensive linemen available in the upcoming draft. The Raiders are one of a handful of teams who have an interest in the Oregon State standout but his future may not be at tackle, the position he played in college. Get a closer look at Levitre and how he may fit in Oakland's plans in Michael Wagaman's insider look.

The Raiders already have a pair of better-than-average starting guards in Robert Gallery and Cooper Carlisle. Gallery, in fact, is coming off arguably the best season of his NFL career at left guard while Cooper was Oakland's most consistent and least-penalized linemen in 2007.

What the Raiders don't have is much depth behind the two starters.

Paul McQuistan is the only other guard listed on Oakland's current roster. Chris Morris, a backup center, has also played at guard for the Raiders but only in a reserve role.

So as the brain trust moves forward with its plans for the draft, finding some help behind Gallery and Carlisle is a concern.

That's where Levitre comes in.

While he was a phenomenal tackle at Oregon State, racking up first team All-American honors from Pro Football Weekly while helping the Beavers to an 8-4 record, Levitre projects to play guard in the NFL. He practiced at guard in the Senior Bowl -- along with both tackle spots -- and has spent most of his offseason gearing up for a future playing there.

The Raiders took an interest in Levitre and conducted a formal interview with him at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.

To learn more about Levitre, Silver and Black Illustrated contacted Scout.com Oregon State expert Barry Bolton.

Scouting report: Levitre pretty much does everything well. In the Beavers' win over USC he was regularly seen blocking his man about seven yards downfield. As a pass blocker, he has great feet and led a line that allowed 1.62 sacks a game.

He has excellent balance and good strength. He was the left tackle, and best pass protector, for most of his OSU career but his height would suggest a guard in the NFL. He's not particularly tall. Although he was the LT in the latter part of his OSU years, he played every guard and tackle position during his time at OSU and pretty much excelled throughout.

Athleticism and versatility are overused terms in scouting reports but the 6-foot-2 3/8, 317 pound Levitre made 34 consecutive starts because of them. As for coachability, OSU offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh doesn't dish out praise lightly, and he's said Levitre is simply the best lineman he has ever coached over his coaching career.

Bolton's take: He pretty much won every battle he faced this past year, whether it was against All-America candidates or otherwise, and he's a pretty well-rounded player so it's hard to note weaknesses, although the competition he will face at the next level will of course be bigger, faster, and stronger than it was in college. At OSU, when a guy would get the better of him on one play, he would come back strong on the next and drive him. Never heard even a whisper of anything off the field. Seems like a great kid.

Wagaman's take: The Raiders don't have a lot of depth on their line, period, but they're extremely thin at guard. Gallery has never suffered a serious injury during his time in Oakland and Carlisle has missed just one start in the past four years, the last two with the Raiders. That's a rarity given how physical things get inside. If one of them goes down, the Raiders could be in serious trouble. Some have Levitre going in the second round, while others see him falling into an early third-round spot. Oakland has to address at least two other spots -- receiver and defensive line -- before it gets to guard but if the Raiders think Levitre's the guy, they may be inclined to go after him early.

Discuss this article and more in the Legends Lodge forum.

SB Report Top Stories