Raiders' defensive draft needs

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Raiders' defensive draft needs

No doubt the Raiders' defense was their Achilles' heel last season. Enter Oakland's first defensive-minded coach since John Madden in Dennis Allen and, oh yeah, a general manager who played linebacker in the NFL in Reggie McKenzie.That said, the Raiders figure to address needs on the defensive side of the ball in the draft...DEFENSIVE LINE
Who's here: DE Lamarr Houston, DT Tommy Kelly, DT Richard Seymour, DE Matt Shaughnessy, DE Mason Brodine, DT Desmond Bryant, DT Jamie Cumbie, DE Hall Davis, NT Travis Ivey, DE Dave Tollefson.REWIND: Signing with Raiders a homecoming for Dave Tollefson
Draft needs: Simply by pure numbers, it would seem the Raiders have it covered on the D-line. But not so fast. Especially not with Allen promising multiple fronts, which would necessitate at least contemplating taking a defensive tackle such as Alabama nose tackle Josh Chapman if he's still on the board at No. 95. The Raiders have also reportedly worked out Nevada defensive end Kaelin Burnett and South Florida defensive end Claude Davis.
Josh Chapman
LINEBACKERSWho's here: SLB Philip Wheeler, MLB Rolando McClain, WLB Aaron Curry, WLB Travis Goethel, OLB Carl Ihenacho.Draft needs: Extremely thin at linebacker, the Raiders might focus here early and often in the draft. Thing is, there might not be a difference-maker to be had. Oakland has reportedly worked out Houston's Sammy Brown and Washington State's Alex-Hoffman-Ellis but the most intriguing draft prospect out there is also the guy slipping off so many draft boards because of so many purported character issues -- Arizona State's Vontaze Burfict. It will be interesting to see how the Raiders react if Burfict is still on the board when they pick.
Vontaze BurfictDEFENSIVE BACKSWho's here: CB Ron Bartell, CB Shawntae Spencer, FS Michael Huff, SS Tyvon Branch, CB DeMarcus Van Dyke, CB Chimdi Chekwa, SS Mike Mitchell, DB Terrail Lambert, DB Pat Lee, DB Bryan McCann, DB Curtis Taylor, DB Brandon Underwood.Draft needs: A change in philosophy -- no longer simply a man-to-man coverage team -- will allow the Raiders to branch out when it comes to scouting potential DBs. The Raiders have shown interest in Iowa safety Jordan Bernstine and Albion cornerback Chris Greenwood, so they are interested in adding depth. Greenwood, though, is perhaps the most intriguing prospect, given that the Division-III All-American is tall (6-foot-1), fast (4.34 in the 40) and has already drawn comparisons to Antonio Cromartie.

Jordan BernstineSPECIALISTSWho's here: PK Sebastian Janikowski, P Shane Lechler, LS Jon Condo.
Draft needs: The three just represented the Raiders at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii and are the best at their respective positions in the AFC, if not the entire NFL. Hard to imagine the Raiders using a draft pick here. They'll sign someone for camp to spell their kickers in Napa, but that's about it.Projected starters in italics

Carr, Murray treat Raiders' linemen to Warriors game, witness history

Carr, Murray treat Raiders' linemen to Warriors game, witness history

No NFL regular starting quarterback has been sacked fewer times than Derek Carr. Latavius Murray has 11 touchdowns in as many games, with steady production running between the tackles.

These Raiders aren’t dumb. Carr and Murray know their success comes in large part from the big boys up front.

They acknowledged that with an early holiday gift. Carr and Murray bought five offensive linemen courtside seats to Monday’s game between the Warriors and Indiana Pacers.

Donald Penn, Gabe Jackson, Menelik Watson, Rodney Hudson and Austin Howard all attended that game and enjoyed watching Klay Thompson put up 60 points in a blowout Warriors win.

Afterward the Raiders had a shootaround on the Oracle Arena floor, without much success. Howard missed a dunk, an effort he says was complicated by wearing slacks and dress shoes. Murray missed a layup. “I was fouled,” he said with a smile. Donald Penn missed a free throw, though “my shoulder hurt.”

Then Carr stepped up and buried a 3-pointer much to the remaining crowd’s delight.

Taking care of offensive linemen is common in these parts. Last year Carr bought his line flatscreen televisions. Amari Cooper gave everyone Beats headphones. Warriors tickets were on the docket this year, in addition to a dinner at Carr’s house last week.

The Raiders were able to have a little fun after Monday’s practice as they prepare for a road game at Kansas City on Thursday night.

Injury report: Joseph skips another practice despite Raiders taking it easy

Injury report: Joseph skips another practice despite Raiders taking it easy

ALAMEDA – The Raiders are taking in easy in practice prior to Thursday night’s game against Kansas City. They conducted a walk-through on Monday and Tuesday, the only day to increase intensity during this compacted work week, they practiced without helmets.

A lightened load is designed to help the Raiders be as physically ready for the rival Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday in a battle for control of the AFC West.

“I think you do the best you can to recover as we begin our preparations,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “That’s just part of it. I know late in my career, if you played on a Thursday, you’re going to take some soreness into the game, typically. The older guys for sure. Some of the younger guys even.”

The Raiders don’t need many repetitions at this stage, and can prep largely through mental work.

It’s also a bit easier because the division rivals know each other well, especially after meeting in Week 6. That should ease some burden of playing a huge game on a short week.

“I think both teams, from that standpoint, it helps a little bit,” Del Rio said. “You’re not scrambling to get to know somebody. I think both teams experience that.”

The short week takes a physical toll on healthy and hurt players alike. There isn’t enough recovery time for either. Those healthy are sore. Those hurt likely won’t have time to make it back.

That seems to be the case for rookie strong safety Karl Joseph. His injured toe has kept him out two light practices, making it tough to see how he could be ready to go on Thursday.

Defensive tackles Darius Latham and Stacy McGee were also out, along with edge rusher Shilique Calhoun.

Raiders participation report
Did not practice:
LB Shilique Calhoun (knee), S Karl Joseph (toe), DT Darius Latham (ankle), DT Stacy McGee (ankle)
Limited participation: LB Cory James (shoulder), LG Kelechi Osemele (knee)

Chiefs participation report
Limited participation:
OLB Tamba Hali (knee)
Full participation: WR Jeremy Maclin (groin), NT Dontari Poe (back), DE Kendall Reyes (knee), CB Phillip Gaines (knee)