2014 NFL Draft: Oakland Raiders’ Early Seven-Round Mock
Seven-Round Oakland Raiders' Mock Draft
While the Oakland Raiders are currently enjoying a surprisingly-successful 2013 season, it’s never too early to start looking towards the offseason and the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft. There are numerous areas the silver and black must improve in, and there won’t be a better opportunity to get better than the draft.
Of those areas needing improvement, one of the biggest is wide receiver. The Raiders currently have Denarius Moore, Rod Streater, and Jacoby Ford at the position, and yet can’t find a way to get any sort of consistent production in the passing department. It’s clear that none of the three are legitimate No. 1 receivers, which means the Raiders will need to find a new option via the upcoming draft.
The Raiders still need help elsewhere, though. The left guard spot has been a huge sore thumb through the early parts of the season, and help is needed moving forward. Even after using their 2013 first-rounder on a cornerback, more help in the secondary wouldn’t hurt. The Raiders could also use a legitimate No. 1 tight end who can block and catch passes – something they haven’t had in some time.
Either way, the Raiders need to make the most of their draft picks in May. The 2014 NFL Draft will offer GM Reggie McKenzie an opportunity to move further away from the Al Davis era and closer to being competitive.
With that in mind, here’s a look at what the Raiders could choose to do with their seven current draft picks when the 2014 NFL Draft finally rolls around.
1st Round: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
While Moore and Streater have both been pleasant surprises, the Raiders still need a go-to No. 1 receiver who can haul in the clutch catches. Evans is a physical specimen that’s hard to ignore, especially for a team looking to give Terrelle Pryor extra weapons to work with. The Texas A&M product catches just about anything thrown within his massive catching radius, using his power forward-sized body to box out defenders. He’d be a terrific compliment to the speed of Moore.
2nd Round: Gabe Jackson, G, Mississippi State
There’s no way around it: Lucas Nix is a major liability at left guard. Game after game, he gets destroyed as both a run blocker and pass protector. If they were to replace him with Jackson, though, guard might be the strongest position along the offensive line. Jackson is a dominant blocker who paves massive lanes in the run game. He is flat-footed as a pass blocker, but shows impressive athleticism for his size and doesn’t back down against elite opposition. The Raiders need an upgrade, and Jackson is exactly that.
3rd Round: C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa
All year long, the Raiders have been looking for a dual-threat tight end who can block and catch passes. While Mychal Rivera has shown some promise, Oakland needs a proven talent who can take over the No. 1 duties. Fiedorowicz is one of the best tight ends of the 2014 class, with a big frame and plenty of athleticism for his size. He might not be a seam stretcher, but he has reliable hands and is an extremely effective run blocker. Fiedorowicz has the tools to step in as the Day 1 starter for the Raiders.
4th Round: Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
It’s not very often that you can find a cornerback who plays the run as well as Fuller does. A fearless defender who also excels in man coverage, Fuller displays a well-rounded package and the type of play recognition needed from NFL cornerbacks. He definitely has some work to do as a cover man, as he tends to give too much cushion and has inconsistent footwork. Despite his flaws, he has a physical demeanor that reminds me of the Raiders of old. Charles Woodson would be an excellent mentor for Fuller.
6th Round: Glenn Carson, ILB, Penn State
A very consistent and reliable linebacker, Carson has all of the intangibles NFL teams love from college prospects. He stepped up as a leader for the Penn State defense this season while continuing to man his role as the starting middle linebacker. Carson doesn’t produce eye-popping numbers and is a bit limited in terms of athleticism, but he plays the run extremely well and never gives up. The Raiders need someone to push Nick Roach for the starting job, and Carson seems to fit the bill.
7th Round: Zach Kerr, DT, Delaware
After transferring from Maryland, Kerr has spent his entire time at Delaware dominating every offensive lineman that has lined up across from him. A prototypical nose tackle, he’s extremely strong and powerful, using his big body and outstanding motor to disrupt offenses. While there’s a good chance Kerr could improve his stock between now and the draft, he’d be an excellent addition for the Raiders, who love small-school prospects on the defensive line.
7th Round (via ARI): Kenarious Gates, OT, Georgia
While he has the size and strength of a typical NFL offensive lineman, Gates struggles mightily with technique and doesn’t have the elite athleticism to slow down speed rushers. Once he enters the league, he will likely have to play either right tackle or guard, as he isn’t adequately tooled to play on the blind side. When he does get his hands on people, though, his strength takes over and helps him win battles. For a seventh-round pick, Gates would be an intriguing depth boost for the Raiders.