Allen: 'We felt really good about the two picks today'
With their first pick, the Raiders traded back from No. 3 overall to No. 12 and drafted a speedy cover-cornerback in D.J. Hayden. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
ALAMEDA -- The Raiders entered the 2013 NFL Draft -- Reggie McKenzie's second draft as general manager -- with seven picks. By the time the three-day, seven-round soiree had ended, Oakland had selected 10 players, six on offense, four on defense, after picking up three additional selections through three trades. Only three other teams ended the draft with more picks.
For that the Raiders should be commended, as McKenzie continues his remodel of a franchise that has not experienced a winning record since 2002. After all, the Raiders had just six picks in 2012.
Hopefully their picks, or at least most of them, pan out, rather than flame out. But you cannot truly judge a draft class for about three years. Logic dictates the best way to assess a draft is by seeing if the team addressed certain needs while picking up seemingly worthwhile players.
Except…McKenzie insisted he stayed true to his draft board, which valued "best player available" rather then specific needs.
"From that standpoint, you just hope that it falls right," McKenzie said. "If you get one need, one thing about it, we felt like we had a few needs, so I didn’t think it was that hard to address certain areas, because we had needs at a lot of spots. We need to upgrade depth in a lot of stops. We knew if we stayed true to the board we would get good players, and that was the whole factor. Make sure we got good players with each pick."
- With their first pick, the Raiders traded back from No. 3 overall to No. 12 and drafted a speedy cover-cornerback in D.J. Hayden from Houston who, the last time he was on a football field, nearly died from a freak accident when a vein carrying blood from his lower body to his heart burst after a nondescript collision in practice. McKenzie said the raiders would have taken him at No. 3 had he not been able to trade back, which made many wonder if a cornerback, especially one coming back from a potentially fatal injury, is that much of an impact player. Beyond that, many observers wondered if the raiders got enough value for the No. 3 pick as they received just one other selection from Miami in the deal, the No. 42 overall pick.
With that pick, the Raiders chose an offensive tackle as raw as he was highly-touted in Florida State's Menelik Watson, a native of England who grew up playing soccer and basketball and boxing and has only played two years of organized college football.
Despite returning a starter in weakside linebacker Miles Burris and signing three free agent linebackers thus far in Kaluka Maiava, Nick Roach and Kevin Burnett, the Raiders drafted another linebacker in UConn's Sio Moore, who was not lacking for confidence. He said the Raiders drafted the best linebacker, despite being the 11th LB chosen and going 66th overall, in the third round. He may be the most versatile and it was a case of Oakland falling in love with a player its staff coached at the Senior Bowl.
There was speculation the Raiders were targeting USC quarterback Matt Barkley in the fourth round at No. 100 overall, but after Philadelphia traded up, and in front of Oakland to snag Barkley, the Raiders immediately traded down to No. 112 and picked up an additional sixth-rounder from Tampa Bay and drafted Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson, which has to spook presumptive starter Matt Flynn, what with his last team also drafting a Wilson (Russell) and Flynn losing the gig to the rookie in Seattle.
And on it went, the Raiders staying true to their board, even as it began addressing needs.
They took a pair of tight ends in the sixth round in converted Colorado defensive end Nick Kasa, another player they coached in the Senior Bowl, and Tennessee pass-catcher Mychal Rivera, who played against the Raiders staff in the Senior Bowl.
They used their other sixth-rounder on a sure-handed running back in Central Florida's Latavius Murray, a big and fast physical back whose upright running style reminds many of Darren McFadden and/or Adrian Peterson. Murray, though, did not lose a fumble in the final 407 carries of his career.
Oakland's picks at No. 205 and No. 209 were head-scratchers. Because while the Raiders have stressed "high-character" players since day 1, they drafted Oklahoma defensive tackle Stacy McGee at the end of the sixth round despite two arrests and a pair of suspensions. And while the Raiders do indeed need a big, No. 1-type receiver, you don't figure to find one in the seventh round. But Oakland chose San Diego State's Brice Butler, who transferred to Montezuma Mesa after three years at USC and souring on Lane Kiffin (remember him?).
The Raiders' final pick of the day might be its most intriguing, actually, in that they finally addressed perhaps their biggest need -- that of a pass rusher in Division-II stud defensive end David Bass of Missouri Western State. Plus, Moore can rush the passer from the outside, as can McGee from up the middle.
So was it hard for McKenzie to stay true to his board as the draft went on and certain players were unexpectedly still available?
"You would like to fill a need real quick," McKenzie said. "But you can't do that. You hurt your team that way."
Time will tell if he improved it, though.
Raiders 2013 draft picks
1. First round, No. 12 (No. 12 overall, traded down from No. 3): Cornerback D.J. Hayden, Houston
2. Second round, No. 10 (No. 42 overall, acquired from Miami in swap of first-round picks): Right tackle Menelik Watson, Florida State
3. Third round, No. 4 (No. 66 overall): Linebacker Sio Moore, UConn
4. Fourth round, No. 15 (No. 112 overall, acquired from Tampa Bay in swap of fourth-round picks): Quarterback Tyler Wilson
5. Fifth round, No. 5 (No. 138 overall): belonged to Seattle from Aaron Curry trade of Oct. 14, 2011
6. Sixth round, No. 4 (No. 172 overall): Tight end Nick Kasa, Colorado
6. Sixth round, No. 8 (No. 176 overall): sent to Houston in swap of sixth-round picks, originally acquired from Arizona in Carson Palmer trade of April 2, 2013. Pick was originally
acquired by Arizona from Tennessee, through Minnesota
6. Sixth round, No. 13 (No. 181 overall, from Houston in swap of sixth-round picks): Central Florida running back Latavius Murray
6. Sixth round, No. 16 (No. 184 overall, from Houston in swap of sixth-round picks on April 27, 2013): Tennessee tight end Mychal Rivera
6. Sixth round, No. 37 (No. 205 overall, compensatory pick): Oklahoma defensive tackle Stacy McGee
7. Seventh round, No. 3 (No. 209 overall): San Diego State receiver Brice Butler
8. Seventh round, No. 13 (No. 219 overall): sent to Arizona in Carson Palmer trade of April 2, 2013. Pick was originally acquired by the Raiders from Carolina for Louis Murphy on July 24, 2012
8. Seventh round, No. 27 (No. 233 overall, from Houston in swap of sixth-round picks on April 27, 2013): Missouri Western State DE David Bass