Grading the draft: Oakland Raiders

Always a wild card in the off season, the Oakland Raiders made a blockbuster trade involving the seventh pick of the draft months before the event took place. Acquiring receiver Randy Moss the franchise hopes they are setting the table for another Super Bowl run. The trade of Philip Buchanan in the week leading up to the draft gave the Raiders further ammunition with which to reload their roster. 

Nebraska cornerback Fabian Washington was the fastest player in this draft. As such, few were surprised when the Raiders made him their first round selection. Washington will be the teams third cornerback this season and could eventually replace the ever disgruntled Charles Woodson. He is much better then most pundits give him credit for and should produce as a rookie.  Oakland landed another cornerback prospect with their second round selection in Stanford Routt of Houston. Routt, like Washington, has outstanding speed yet is not nearly as polished. This was a surprise selection and a bit of a reach yet if Routt can develop his game Oakland will have the fastest cornerbacks in the league. The third round brought what the organization hopes will be the quarterback of the future in Andrew Walter. The former Arizona State Sun Devil is a strong armed pocket passer that excels in the vertical game that Al Davis loves so much. A separated shoulder hurt Walter's stock and poor decision making could limit his potential at the next level. San Diego State linebacker Kirk Morrison could prove to be the eventual replacement for Napolean Harris in the middle. A solid two down defender in college, Morrison displayed surprising pass coverage skills at the Senior Bowl and has a bright future. Antajj Hawthorne potentially offers exceptional value in the sixth round. The former Wisconsin Badger would have been first round consideration except for a number of off the field concerns, including reports of a failed drug test at the combines. Hawthorne is the Raiders kind of player and he should benefit from having a veteran like Warren Sapp to learn from. Ryan Riddle is an athletic defensive end from California who could also be used at linebacker. Iowa offensive tackle Pete McMahon could be a developmental right tackle prospect and may spend this season on the teams practice squad.

Offensive lineman C.J. Brook was an excellent signing after the draft and could be an outstanding utility blocker. 

The Raiders must be given credit for being aggressive in the off- season. Adding players like Lamont Jordan and Randy Moss makes the offense infinitely more explosive while the infusion of youth on the defensive side of the ball, especially the secondary, offers the team hope for the future as well. Andrew Walter could be a steal at quarterback and this draft could yield as many as four starters.

Rd  Pick Player Pos School
1   23 (23)   Fabian Washington *   CB   Nebraska  
2   6 (38)   Stanford Routt   CB   Houston  
3   5 (69)   Andrew Walter *   QB   Arizona State  
3   14 (78)   Kirk Morrison *   MLB   San Diego State  
6   1 (175)   Anttaj Hawthorne *   DT   Wisconsin  
6   38 (212)   Ryan Riddle *   DE   California  
6   40 (214)   Pete McMahon *   OT   Iowa  

UDFA Signings: TE Ralph Plumb, CB Chris Carr, LS Jordan Hicks, OG C.J. Brooks


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