There are two main draft strategies out there that perplex Owners, GM’s, coaches and scouts every year. Do you draft to fill a need and potentially make an area of weakness a strength or do you draft the best player on your board, regardless of need?
If we focus in on the Raiders, it’s easy to see that we’ve drafted for need on many occasions thinking we had adequate players at other positions and missed a star right in front of us. We think that somehow upgrading one of the worst starting players on your roster with one of the most promising players at that position group available is going to have a positive result in the overall success of the draft and the team’s chance in the upcoming season.
The issue is, when you focus on one position group or even one side of the ball you miss other players who may have star potential. Often times, you settle for less.
Allow me to throw some numbers at you. The Raiders ranked 6th in total offense in 2016, yet we replaced Matt McGloin (Eagles), Latavius Murray (Vikings), Andre Holmes (Bills), Mychal Rivera (Jags) and Menelik Watson (Mules) with EJ Manuel, Marshawn Lynch, Corderelle Patterson, Jared Cook, and Marshall Newhouse. The Raiders ranked 26th in total defense in 2016.
Long gone are players such as Stacy McGee (Redskins), Malcolm Smith (49ers), Nate Allen (Dolphins) and DJ Hayden (Lions). You may even want to include special teamers Daren Bates (Titans) & Brynden Trawick (Titans). Dan Williams was released. Perry Riley Jr. remains un-signed and available in free agency.
LB Jelani Jenkins is the only player we’ve signed to aid the defense, thus far. Presumably, he’s our replacement for Malcolm Smith. So where are the rest of these players coming from?
Some of the players are already on the roster. Injured players coming back at full strength should help. It isn’t just Derek Carr, Lee Smith, Donald Penn & Austin Howard on offense, it’s also Shilique Calhoun, Sean Smith, Ben Heeney & Neiron Ball on defense. It’s also possible Aldon Smith gets reinstated at some point this season. Riley & Williams could also return after the draft at discount rates.
The Raiders have 8 draft picks and let’s face it … those won’t all be spent on defensive players, much less starter-quality players. I don’t believe Reggie is going to enter the draft narrow-minded enough to ignore better players at other positions just because they may not be needs today. For all we know, they could be needs tomorrow.
Do you guys remember last year when we drafted Ward 44th overall because we had RB Murray and WR’s galore? We didn’t “need” RB Derrick Henry or WR Michael Thomas, but we sure could have used them. How about 2015 when we drafted Edwards 35th overall? We didn’t “need” David Johnson or Tevin Coleman, but we sure could have used them.
How about 2013 when we drafted Hayden 12th overall? We didn’t “need” Kyle Long or Tyler Eifert, but we sure could have used them too. Sio Moore was selected 66th overall that year. Couldn’t we use Keenan Allen or Jordan Reed?
We all want a stout defense, that’s for certain. What’s more important than drafting for a position is drafting for talent. It’s the coach’s problem to make it all work, right?
Happy draft weekend, PJFF crew. May we add talent, because we’re gonna need it to top New England in the AFC!
Written By: PodunkRaider (aka RRS)