The Raiders lost three defensive tackles in Tommy Kelly, who was released, Desmond Bryant, who signed with Cleveland as an unrestricted free agent, and Richard Seymour, whose contract was voided. Plus, Oakland also cut defensive end Dave Tollefson and lost defensive end Matt Shaughnessy to Arizona in free agency. The Raiders did, however, sign a pair of defensive tackles in Pat Sims and Vance Walker, but more work needs to be done, yes? We continue our position-by-position series on the Raiders' draft outlook with a look at the defensive line…
[RELATED: NFL Draft Central]
Who's here: DE Lamarr Houston, DT Pat Sims, DT Vance Walker, DE Jason Hunter, DE Andre Carter, DT Christo Bilukidi, DE Jack Crawford, NT Johnny Jones, DT Brandon Bair
Draft needs: It depends upon who you ask -- do the Raiders need an edge rusher or a run stuffer more? The feeling here is that general manner Reggie McKenzie simply wants a good player, an impact player who fits the mold of what he's building at 1220 Harbor Bay Parkway. With the No. 3 overall pick -- provided they do not trade it to move down -- the Raiders should have their pick of either a pass rusher or that line-of-scrimmage clogger. Because really, they need both. And maybe that's how Oakland accomplishes said task -- by trading down for an extra pick and getting a pair of solid D-linemen, rather than staying put and getting one projected elite player.
Good fits: I've said from Day 1 that Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd is the pick…if the Raiders stay at No. 3. He fits the "high character" mold and has a "Blind Side" Michael Oher-rags-to-riches feel-good story. And the 6-feet-3, 297-pound Floyd is ranked as the top D-tackle in the draft by many scouting services for his ability to disrupt the line of scrimmage, even if he needs to make more plays behind the line of scrimmage. Right behind him, though, is Utah's Star Lotulelei, a 6-3, 311-pounder whose versatility may make him more attractive. The Raiders also coached another projected first-round DT in North Carolina's Sylvester Williams in the Senior Bowl as well as Purdue's Kawann Short, a potential second-rounder. And when it comes to defensive ends, BYU's Ezekiel Ansah might already be gone if the Raiders stay at No. 3, but Florida State's Bjoern Werner should be on the board, as well as UCLA's Datone Jones, who was coached up by the Raiders at the Senior Bowl, as was Texas' Alex Okafor, who had 12 1/2 sacks last year but has seen his stock drop of late. A potential second-round selection, Okafor could be a good value pick. The Raiders also coached SMU's Margus Hunt, who could go in the first round, and Illinois' Michael Buchanan, a fourth-rounder.