First off, I want to apologize for the delay in getting this out. I’ve had a lot of things going on lately that have kept me busy, but I’m finally back with more NFL Draft coverage. This week we will look at 3 big market teams that have been just plain bad in recent years. I’m talking about picks 4-6, the Raiders, the Redskins and the Jets.
Top 3 needs: CB, WR, pass rushers
The Raiders have more needs than the other two teams. The defense is a mess. The offense isn’t much better. But, they do have some nice young talent in QB Derek Carr and OLB Khalil Mack. New head coach Jack Del Rio is a solid hire and knows how to bring up a struggling program. I mean the man took the Jacksonville Jaguars to the playoffs. If I’m a Raider fan, I hope and pray that one of the first 3 teams is dumb enough to pass on Leonard Williams. That would give Del Rio’s defense a nice starting point to work from with Williams and Mack both rushing the passer. Unfortunately for Oakland, recent history says they won’t get that lucky. Tuck Rule anyone? Sorry Oakland. Then, it comes down to what do you think you need more, offense or defense? I understand arguments for both sides. There aren’t any corners in this year’s draft worthy of the number 4 pick, so you look at pass rushers. Pass rushers such as Shane Ray, Dante Fowler and Randy Gregory all could be options here. Landon Collins at safety could also be an option. I think the most likely scenario is Collins’s teammate at Alabama, WR Amari Cooper. Cooper is the polished #1 receiver that young franchise QB Derek Carr needs in Oakland. Some guys to keep an eye on in later round for Oakland are guys like pass rusher Nate Orchard from Utah, corners Jalen Collins from LSU, Kevin Johnson from Wake Forest as well as late round guys such as corner Quandre Diggs from Texas and wide receiver Antwan Goodley from Baylor.
Top 3 needs: OT, secondary, pass rushers
The Redskins have lots of holes to fill in this year’s draft. They need offensive linemen to keep RG3 (or Kirk Cousins or Colt McCoy) upright long enough to find an open receiver. They need defensive help at almost every position. Brian Orakpo is outstanding at linebacker when healthy, but his career has been plagued by injuries thus far. The big man from Iowa Brandon Scherff could be an option here, but I think Jay Gruden goes defense with this pick at #5. There are several options to choose from. Pass rushers Shane Ray from Missouri and Dante Fowler from Florida will still be on the board. Safety Landon Collins from Alabama is also a solid pick and someone who can come in and immediately quarterback the defense from the backend. Either way the Redskins can’t go wrong here. Offensive line and either pass rushers or secondary help (depending on what they do with their first pick) will be what the Redskins focus on in later rounds. Look for guys like DE Ray Drew from Georgia, OT Corey Robinson from South Carolina and CB Lorenzo Doss from Tulane to be high on Washington’s draft board on day 2 and 3 of the draft.
New York Jets
Top 3 needs: QB, CB, OT
Rex Ryan is out in New York and with that you can almost hear the singing of Halleluiah all the way down here in Alabama. But don’t get too excited just yet Jet fans. Your team still has a lot of holes to fill. Geno Smith has been inconsistent at best in his first few years in the league, so do you give up on him or give him one more shot? The front seven on defense is pretty solid, but the back end is in desperate need of a playmaker. The offensive line also needs lots of help to give whoever the QB is next year time to through and the running backs time to throw. Personally, I think the Jets have to go Mariota here if he is still available. If not, I think offensive line is the pick, in which case Brandon Scherff from Iowa would come off of the board. If Mariota is unavailable and the Jets want to take a QB, they’d do better pick Brett Hundley or Garrett Grayson or Bryce Petty in the upcoming rounds. This is an extremely weak quarterback class and after the top three, it falls off pretty quickly. Lots of the same corners and offensive linemen mentioned above will be in play for the Jets on day 2 and 3 of the draft. Guys from small schools like corner Craig Mager from Texas State and OG Ali Marpet from Hobart could get a workout and if they impress the powers that be in the front office, could hear their names called. Also, look for Ole Miss safety Cody Prewitt to get major consideration, if he is available, when the Jets are on the clock in the second round.
That wraps up picks 4-6. Tune in to Ross and Sam’s NFL podcasts for more in depth analysis on each position. This week DEs and OGs will be the topic of discussion. If basketball is more your thing, I suggest checking out Levi and Sam’s NBA podcast. As the late, great Auburn radio man Jim Fyffe would say, “My time is up, I thank you for yours.”