YSTL: Is Dennis Allen's return surprising?
Raiders linebacker Sio Moore had a solid season finishing with 55 tackles, 4 1/2 sacks and a forced fumble. (AP IMAGES)
Michael Rivera became the team’s primary pass-catching tight end finishing the season with 38 catches for 407 yards and four touchdowns. (USATSI)
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Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie’s 2013 draft class has been criticized. That happens when your first two picks don’t make an immediate impact.
D.J. Hayden spent the last eight games on injured reserve, and the first eight as a nickel cornerback. Tackle Menelik Watson made just one legit start and missed several more with calf and injuries that set him back.
While third-round pick Sio Moore was a big hit, McKenzie swung and missed with quarterback Tyler Wilson, twice cut and now with the Tennessee Titans.
The Raiders found some quality and some potential remains untapped. They say it takes a few years to grade out a draft class, so think of this as a progress report. We’ll give one for each draft pick and a few undrafted players in our own weird way.
Rookie of the year: SLB Sio Moore
Sio Moore confidently proclaimed himself the best linebacker in this draft class. That might be hyperbole, but Moore certainly got his career off to a good start. Much was expected of this young talent, who started from the outset.
Though Moore wasn’t perfect, he had a solid season that improved with increased focus and work ethic. He finished with 55 tackles, 4 1/2 sacks and a forced fumble.
Runner-up: TE Mychal Rivera
The team’s third sixth-round pick turned out to be a diamond in the rough. Rivera became the team’s primary pass-catching tight end and improved as a run blocker. He seemed to flourish with a pocket pass, piling his statistics when Matt McGloin was starting. He finished the season with 38 catches for 407 yards and four touchdowns.
Mr. Camp Arm: QB Matt McGloin
The Raiders brought undrafted rookie Matt McGloin in to get through training camp, but the Penn State alum showed moxie and arm strength worthy of promotion. McGloin rose up the depth chart and earned six starts. He completed 56 percent of his passes for 1,547 yards, eight touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Trainer’s room resident: T Menelik Watson
The second-round pick wanted nothing more than to contribute right away, but a calf injury kept him out through training camp. Then a knee injury kept him out the first seven games. The time away was a real setback for a player with little football playing experience. Watson will, in essence, play a rookie season all over again next year.
Untapped potential: CB D.J. Hayden
Hayden showed signs that he can be a good professional cornerback – how ‘bout that victory securing interception versus San Diego? -- but he wasn’t consistent or aggressive enough to make the instant impact expected of a No. 12 overall pick. His worst game was his last. It was a terrible showing against Philadelphia that preceded a torn groin that required season-end surgery. Hayden should benefit from a full offseason to get stronger.
QB Tyler Wilson The fourth-round pick is longer with the team. Spent most of the year on the practice squad.
TE Nick Kasa The team’s first sixth-round pick was a special-teams contributor. His first and only catch of the year was a touchdown against Denver.
RB Latavius Murray The team’s second sixth-round pick spent the year on injured reserve.
DT Stacy McGee The team’s fourth sixth-round pick came on strong as the year went on. He had 26 tackles, half-a-sack and a fumble recovery.
WR Brice Butler The first seventh-round pick was inactive for 10 games and had 10 catches for 103 yards.
DE David Bass The second seventh-round pick was cut in the preseason and played with the Chicago Bears.
DE Ryan Robinson The undrafted rookie was retained over Bass. He had two tackles in 10 games played. He was primarily a special teams player.