Originally written on Thoughts from the Dark Side  |  Last updated 11/18/14
In the last few days the Raiders signed a pair of cornerbacks – former first round pick Mike Jenkins formally of the Cowboys and last year’s nickel corner in Silver and Black Joselio Hanson.  The two corners join previous free agent addition Tracy Porter, who signed with Oakland last week. The Raiders have also added a couple of safeties in former Bengals FS Usama Young and former 49ers SS Reggie Smith. The team added further competition at QB in former Seahawk and Browns sometime starting QB Seneca Wallace. While it’s unlikely that Wallace wins the starting position, he can provide a veteran option. The Raiders have also signed a backup RB with some upside in former Jaguars backup Rashad Jennings.  Jennings has 9 career starts with some success.  He’s a decent receiving RB. Finally, the Raiders further addressed one of their weakest positions, defensive end, by resigning Andre Carter.  Carter came in last year mid-season and wasn’t the force the team was hoping for after suffering an injury in late 2011. Carter, who will be 34 by the time the season starts, says that he’s completely healed from his injury, now, and hopes to be much improved in 2013. The most important part of these signings is that essentially ever position the Raiders lacked a viable starter has been addressed. None of these guys are all Pros but all have upside, have short “prove it” contracts and are coming into a situation where they have the ability to start. Best player available. That is Raiders’ GM Reggie McKenzie’s philosophy when it comes to the draft. Of course, many teams profess this philosophy but when it comes down to making the selection most teams have to balance taking the best player available with what their team really needs. With the 2013 draft, Reggie McKenzie should be able to actually choose the best player available. That’s because the Raiders have no position that is really set coming into the draft and can therefore upgrade every single position. Conversely, the Raiders have no huge position that absolutely must be addressed early in the draft. The team has needs they need to fill – a starting TE comes to mind – and as I said, every position could still use upgrading. But, Reggie McKenzie has shown that he’s willing to be patient when trying to turn around Oakland’s fortunes and this draft will lay the groundwork for the team’s future – McKenzie will need to focus on picking the best players available in the 2013 draft so that the team can start with a solid player base in 2014.
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