Originally written on Thoughts from the Dark Side  |  Last updated 11/8/14
With the Raiders undoubtedly trying to find ways to accumulate more draft picks, this mock draft explores the possibilities in the event they can trade down from the #3 overall spot. In this situation, I have the Dolphins trading up from #12 in order to get offensive tackle Eric Fisher. In return, I have the Raiders receiving a 2013 1st, 2nd, and 4th round pick. Recently the Dolphins began exploring trade options for Chiefs left tackle Branden Albert - but it remains to be seen if they would be willing to trade a high pick for a player who is on a one-year deal at the Franchise Tag rate. The assumption here is that they pass on Albert in favor of building through the draft with younger, less expensive talent with more upside. 1. Sheldon Richardson, DL, Missouri Sheldon Richardson is talented enough to be in the conversation for the #3 pick if the Raiders stayed put. But there’s a definite chance that with the top offensive tackles, pass rushers, and his fellow defensive tackles Sharrif Floyd and Star Lotulelei creating a logjam at the top, Richardson will fall out of the top ten. Richardson is as explosive as any player in the draft. He lives in the backfield, creating disruption on almost every play. He leaves a bit to be desired against the run, but he’ll help give the Raiders’ pass rush a much-needed boost. Alternate pick: Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State 2. Kyle Long, OL, Oregon The Raiders are almost certainly looking to add talent to an offensive line that was woeful in the run game in 2012. Moreover, the right side of their offensive line consists of Mike Brisiel, Lucas Nix, Khalif Barnes and Alex Barron right now - which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. Kyle Long is a very intriguing prospect - powerful and athletic, he gets to the second level with impressive quickness. He still has learning to do, but his talent is undeniable. He would have the added perk of being another “legacy pick” on the offensive line, alongside Stefan Wisniewski. Alternate pick: D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston 3. Da’Rick Rogers, WR, Tennessee Tech Reggie McKenzie generally values “high character” prospects, which is why in this situation the alternate pick listed below is the more likely one. But in the search for top-end talent, teams occasionally have to roll the dice on prospects who aren’t exactly choir boys. Da’Rick Rogers has as much talent as any wide receiver in the draft. While he will very likely fall to the late second/early third round, he’s one of the few players in this draft who looks the part of a true #1 receiving option - something the Raiders have been searching for for years. Alternate pick: Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia 4. Chase Thomas, OLB, Stanford Chase Thomas’ measurables won’t wow anyone by any means. He has very little “upside”. With Thomas, what you see is what you’ll probably get. Luckily with Thomas, what you see is a football player. He has a natural feel for the game, sheds blocks as well as any linebacker in the draft, and can also attack the quarterback. With the Raiders lacking an imposing presence on the edge, Thomas can help them bolster depth immediately, and can eventually step up as either a 4-3 or 3-4 strongside linebacker. Alternate pick: Leon McFadden, CB, San Diego State 4. Michael Buchanan, DE/OLB, Illinois The Raiders double up on edge rushers in the fourth round - this time taking a player who is in some ways the polar opposite than Chase Thomas. Far more athletic with much more impressive measurables, Michael Buchanan was once thought of as a potential first round talent. He didn’t finish his 2012 campaign on the same high note as his 2011 one, however, and may be viewed as more of a “tweener” in the NFL. In the Raiders’ hybrid defense, they need rotational players who they can plug in on third down and have get after the quarterback. Buchanan would give them exactly that, and has enough talent to be a starter down the line. Alternate pick: Tony Jefferson, FS, Oklahoma 6. Dennis Johnson, RB, Arkansas While the oft-injured Darren McFadden and the newly-added Rashad Jennings sit atop the Raiders’ depth chart at running back, there isn’t much behind them. The Raiders would do well to add some explosive playmakers to that group. Dennis Johnson has a nice balance of speed and power, showing the ability to be a decisive runner with a penchant for the big play. In part because of ball security issues he never got much of an opportunity to take more carries from teammate Knile Davis, but he could be a better pro than college player. Alternate pick: Everett Dawkins, DL, Florida State 6. Nickell Robey, CB, Southern Cal Nickell Robey is very undersized, but plays much bigger than he is. He’s an aggressive player who can change directions quickly, making him a perfect fit as a developmental nickel corner. Scouts have told CBS’s Dane Brugler that if Robey was three inches taller, he would be in the first round conversation. Alternate pick: Joe Kruger, DL, Utah 6. Marc Anthony, CB, Cal Anthony is an extremely fluid athlete - smooth through his transitions with outstanding ability to break on the ball. His physicality is an asset in man coverage and against the run. In a Raider secondary searching for playmakers, Anthony could earn early playing time. Alternate pick: Lucas Reed, TE, New Mexico 7. Mychal Rivera, TE, Tennessee The Raiders lost leading receiver Brandon Myers in free agency, and don’t seem particularly comfortable with David Ausberry or Richard Gordon. In this scenario they had better options at other positions earlier in the draft, but in Mychal Rivera they could have a late-round gem. He doesn’t offer much as an in-line blocker, though he’s shown some ability as a lead blocker in an H-back role. Still, he has plenty of upside as a receiver. He has a very impressive catch radius, and may eventually develop into a reliable underneath target for the Raiders. Alternate pick: Rod Sweeting, CB, Georgia Tech
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