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NFL Oakland Raiders

2013 NFL Draft: Top 5 Priorities for Oakland Raiders

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Five Things the Oakland Raiders Must Address

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It’s ridiculous how many needs the Oakland Raiders have heading into the 2013 NFL Draft. Despite signing eight new defensive starters and adding a new starting quarterback this offseason, the silver and black are still slated to field the worst roster in the league.

Unfortunately for GM Reggie McKenzie, he inherited the type of train wreck that takes more than a couple offseasons to fix. With a surplus of dead money in 2013, the Raiders had almost no room to work with under the cap, leading to a lackluster showing during free agency that consisted largely of bargain bin deals.

While free agency wasn’t much of an option for the Raiders, the draft should provide them with a reliable avenue to acquire talent that can contribute from the get-go in 2013.

Especially with the No. 3 overall pick, there are plenty of directions that the Raiders can go once they’re on the clock. The 2013 draft class is loaded with defensive talent, which Oakland is in desperate need of after blowing up the roster and rebuilding with little-known players via free agency. No matter which position they choose to address, there shouldn’t be any shortage of talent at No. 3.

It’s not do or die for McKenzie just yet, but a forceful move in the right direction in 2013 will certainly help his cause. The Raiders desperately need to upgrade their roster at just about every position, so making the most of every pick is a must. We’ll see how it all goes down on draft day.

Here’s a look at their top five draft-day priorities.

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5. Linebacker

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The entire Raiders expected starting linebacker trio is new. All three – Nick Roach, Nick Barnett, Kaluka Maiava – were all signed during free agency, which means that they all still have plenty to prove. While Roach and Maiava have been career backups, Barnett is at the tail-end of his career and is in no way a long-term answer. Although Miles Burris has some potential as an eventual answer, the Raiders need some extra talent and depth heading into the 2013 campaign.

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4. Quarterback

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no way that the Raiders are completely comfortable with Matt Flynn and Terrelle Pryor as their top two quarterbacks. While Flynn still has some potential as a franchise-caliber quarterback despite being beaten out by Russell Wilson last season, he’s far from a sure thing. As for Pryor, he’s as raw as they come. The Raiders need to add a quarterback early who can push the others and possibly take over as Oakland’s No. 1 when the time is right.

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3. Defensive Tackle

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The Raiders’ expected starting defensive tackles are Vance Walker and Pat Sims, both career backups who are far from starting-caliber talents. Despite having so many other holes on the roster, the defensive tackle spot is a significant sore thumb that must be addressed considering the current state of the depth chart. If not, the Raiders could easily field the worst run defense in the NFL in 2013. Then again, having the No. 1 pick in 2014 wouldn’t hurt…

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2. Guard

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

At this point, the Raiders offensive line is a mess. Apart from left tackle and center, all starting gigs are up for grabs heading into the 2013 season. Both guards, Mike Brisiel and Tony Bergstrom, are far from locks to win the starting gigs and will need to show considerable improvement this offseason. The Raiders must address the interior of the offensive line early if they plan on having any sort of consistent blocking this upcoming season.

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1. The Best Player Available

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Unless the best player available (BPA) is a wide receiver, left tackle or center, the Raiders need to take whatever they can get. This roster is hideous, consisting of almost no starting-caliber talent and little upside. It doesn’t matter if the BPA is a quarterback, cornerback or punter; as long as the Raiders are adding talent, they’re moving in the right direction. High-risk and boom-or-bust players shouldn’t even be on the Oakland draft board right now. The majority vote has the Raiders taking Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, but the possibilities are endless.