The Oakland Raiders have been in deconstruct/rebuild mode for two years now. With no first round draft pick in the first year of the process, the Raiders needed their 2013 draft to be a fruitful one. Now that the class has had one season under its belt, the majority of it remains a huge question mark, but there are some areas that should cause Raiders fans to be worried heading into the 2014 draft.
Draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. recently released his 2013 NFL Draft re-grades on ESPN Insider, and he downgraded the Raiders class from a B- to a C. He notes the question marks due to injuries and lack of playing time as part of the reason, but focuses on first round pick D.J. Hayden.
Kiper believes the Raiders should have gotten more in the trade back and Hayden was a reach at that point when other players were still available. He points out the positives in Sio Moore and Mychal Rivera but you cannot forget about Tyler Wilson and Menelik Watson.
Wilson has been cut and while Watson has shown promise, he has had injury problems and is clearly a project given his extremely limited experience playing the game. The Raiders sorely needed to get production from its first few draft picks, but got virtually none from three of their first four selections.
General manager Reggie McKenzie was hired in large part due to his reputation for being able to judge talent in the draft. The rebuild was supposed to be done the Packer way, focusing on the draft and only supplementing through free agency. But with two drafts under his belt, the best player he has found is linebacker Sio Moore. And while he has shown a lot of promise, he has also been inconsistent and revealed some serious flaws.
Many of the players drafted by McKenzie have had little to no impact on the team. A whopping 25% of the draft picks made by McKenzie — David Bass, Tyler Wilson, Christo Bilukidi and Nathan Stupar — are no longer on the roster.
McKenzie has found talent for the Raiders the past two seasons, mainly in free agency. The draft has been full of disappointment.
There are a number of guys who we will not know enough about for a few years, so these classes could look much better a few years down the road. But one thing is certain right now — neither class has had an immediate impact on the Raiders. While many players do need time to develop, we see teams draft players who make a big impact immediately every year. Unfortunately, the Raiders simply have not been one of those teams.