Our 2013 Community Mock Draft moves forward! In this annual exercise we put the fates of all 32 teams in the hands of our community. This exercise accomplishes several things. For one, we often have a bit of tunnel vision when it comes to the NFL. We will get a glimpse into the needs of each of the franchises. It also helps us get familiar with each of the first-round prospects because like last year in a trade up for Morris Claiborne, you never quite know what the future holds for Dallas.
Every GM has been informed of their team's needs and is ready to roll. Let's see who will be selected with the [third] pick in the draft!
Selection: (OLB) [Jarvis Jones, Georgia]
Here's our GM with his explanation of the selection:
First off, I have to start by yelling "RAAAAIIIIDERS!!!" as annoyingly as I can. Forgive me.
OK. The Raiders are a mess. Drafttek could have determined the team's needs to be "1" (dire need) at every position, and they would have been more accurate than the numbers they actually did choose. The team has to make a decision at QB. Their top (only) pass rushers bolted in free agency. Their linebackers and corners have all but disappeared; and, so far, free agency has only provided backup level talent,. They need at least two new offensive linemen (LG and RT). They need, at least, a backup running back, and they even need a safety now.
The Raiders should and probably will trade down from the 3rd pick. They have six draft picks but many more needs. So, if no team (Cardinals? Bills? Titans?) offers them a trade in exchange for at least a 2nd round pick, (the Raiders lost their 2nd round pick this year in their trade for Carson Palmer in 2011) the Raiders will have their pick of all but two of the best players in the draft. The trouble is determining which player actually is the best...or, at least, best for the team in its current circumstances.
Quarterback: Possible Pick: Geno Smith
I envision the Raiders holding on to Palmer through the draft, hoping to trade him. If they can't, (which they probably won't) they will cut him and pick up another QB like Fitzpatrick, Young, Kolb, or some other QB leftover to either start or be the backup to Pryor. In this way, they could avoid showing their hand early and better entice a trade scenario with one of the teams that may covet Geno Smith or Carson Palmer. If things happen a certain way, I could see The Raiders drafting Geno, but it's unlikely.
Offensive Line: Possible Pick: Eric Fisher, Lane Johnson, or Chance WarmackThe Raiders are set at LT, where Veldheer has performed well; C, where Wisniewski has a bright future; and RG, where Brisiel just restructured his deal and isn't going anywhere. So, the Raiders would benefit greatly from adding one of the tackles to the right side of their line or adding Warmack as their LG. Any of those picks would help the Raiders to emphasize McFadden in their new/old power running game and help the passing game. The problem, though, is that The Raiders have more problems on their defense than on their offense, and GM Reggie McKenzie has stated that he would look at defense with the 3rd pick.
Devensive Tackle: Possible Pick: Sharrif Floyd or Star Lotulelei The Raiders lost their best DT, Desmond Bryant, to free agency. He was their best pass rusher along with LB Phillip Wheeler, who is also gone. Richard Seymour, who had a good 2012 according to PFF, had his contract voided, and Tommy Kelly may be on the way out. Although The Raiders just signed Pat Sims in free agency, he looks like nothing more than a rotation player. The Raiders would be wise to keep Kelly and to try to fix the DL through free agency and later round draft picks.
Neither of the top DT's look dominant compared to the players that will get picked after them, such as Richardson and Short. Picking a DT who is not dominant at #3 is wasting a pick. Part of the draft strategy, especially for the Raiders, should be cost control. The top salaries belong to QB's, DE's, CB's, and OT's. So, given comparable players at those positions, it would be more cost-effective to choose one of them. And The Raiders have needs at each of those positions. While many mockers have Sharrif Floyd or Star Lotulelei as The Raiders pick, I can't choose them. The value just isn't there.
Cornerback: Possible Pick: None The Raiders lost all of their 2012 starting CB's. They retain, on one year contracts, only two inexperienced options, Phillips Adams and Coye Francies. The Raiders may sign T-New, which would be an awesome signing for them. But the team could definitely use a top corner. With Dee Milliner off the board, none of the other corners are worth this pick.
Defensive End: Possible Pick: Dion Jordan, Ziggy Ansah, or Jarvis JonesThe Raiders have a very good Left DE in Lamarr Houston, but he's mainly a run-stopper. The team needs a pass rusher on the other side. Dion Jordan and Ziggy Ansah are tall, athletic speed rushers. Jordan has the ability to help out at linebacker too, as he's very proficient in coverage. Ansah has the size to line up anywhere on the DL and cause match-up problems. Jarvis Jones is shorter and smaller, but he rushed often from the Right DE spot at Georgia with great effects. Jones had 28.5 sacks in two years. No one in this draft comes close to his sack totals.
Linebacker: Possible Pick: Dion Jordan or Jarvis JonesThe Raiders retain only Miles Burris from their 2012 squad, and they're moving him to middle instead of outside linebacker. Rolando McClain is rumored to be on his way out. After losing SAM LB Phillip Wheeler, the team picked up OLB's Jason Hunter, Nick Roach, Keluka Maiava, and Kevin Burnett in free agency. Hunter missed last year and will be 30 this season. He played DE and OLB in a backup role for Denver. Presumably, he'd play the same role for The Raiders. Roach is 27 and is an average player, but he comes from a 4-3 scheme and can play any of the LB spots. Maiava had a good year last year with the Browns. He'll likely fill one of the OLB roles. We all know Burnett, and, though he is 30, he's been a good player since his time in Dallas. He's a good addition as the WOLB.
Dion Jordan and Jarvis Jones could both fill the OLB spots. Jones, in particular, has the ability to play any of the LB roles. Either player could ascend to have a role like Von Miller, who simply dominates for Denver. Forced to choose, I would take Jones over Jordan because of past production. Both have injury concerns. But, while Jones has been cleared of any debilitating spinal issue, Jordan has had/will have surgery on a torn labrum that will keep him out until, at least, training camp. Both players have great versatility and tremendous upside, but Jones looks like the better bet to benefit the team as a rookie and is more versatile.
Safety: Possible Pick: Kenny VaccaroThe Raiders just cut Michael Huff, who actually had to play left corner for the team last year. Though he was thought to be moving back to FS, his contract was too large to justify keeping him. The team still has Tyvon Branch at SS. While safety is a need, there is a flood of safety help available in free agency and the draft. There's no chance The Raiders would take Vaccaro unless they were to move towards the back of the first round.
The Pick............Jarvis Jones LB Georgia
The Raiders really couldn't go wrong with their pick. Either of the tackles would help. Geno Smith could become a centerpiece for years to come. Dee Milliner would have provided a top corner to a team without even a 2nd corner. Sharrif Floyd or Star Lotulelei would stabilize the depleted DT spot. Dion Jordan and Ziggy Ansah look to be stars in the making, something any team would desire. Even Chance Warmack would be a great pick here - some view him as the top prospect - and would help Darren McFadden immensely. Out of these options, the best one is Jarvis Jones. Jones is extremely talented and would enter a position of need and value.
HIGH PRIORITY TEAM NEEDS (lower number indicates higher priority) according to Drafttek.com
-- Threat Level Red (priority 1-2): 4-3 Defensive End
-- Threat Level Orange (priority 3-4): Quarterback, Guard, 4-3 OLB, Cornerback, Free Safety, 4-3 Defensive Tackle, Strong Safety, Feature Back, Right Tackle, Tight End, Center, Left Tackle
-- Threat Level Yellow (priority 5-6): MLB, COP Back, Receiver (Feature, Slot, Possession)
-- Threat Level Green (priority 9): None
-- Drafttek.com ranked #7 Overall, #1 at the position
-- Russ Lande, National Football Post: #53 Overall, #4 at the position (OLB)
SUMMARY - Unfortunately, Jones is one of the more disappointing players I evaluated this season because he just did not produce at a high level consistently. For a player who flashes elite explosiveness off the ball combined with the ability to make game changing plays, too often he disappeared and was a non-factor. Most effective when aligned wide in a 2-Pt Alignment, he fits best as an outside linebacker in a 34 scheme, but will need to improve playing off the ball in pass coverage to become a good all-around starter. If he is going to become a consistent pass rush then he must improve his get-off consistency and maintain leverage and aggressiveness when rushing the QB. Overall, Jones is definitely going to be drafted significantly higher than I have him rated, but I doubt he will ever become the consistent player that he flashes the ability to be. If he does not learn to pass rush with leverage and aggressiveness every snap, then he will never be consistent pressuring the QB at the NFL level because the OT's he will face at the next level are significantly better than those he faced in college. .
-- CBSSports.com ranked #12 overall, #1 at the position (OLB)
-- DraftInsider.Net ranked #7overall, #3 at the position
-- DraftCountdown ranked #2 overall, #1 at the position
-- Scout.com ranked #3 overall, #1 at the position
-- Mike Mayock ranked #2 at the position
-- NFLDraftScout.com profile (Rob Rang):
Strengths: Elite playmaker off the edge. Possesses an explosive burst to complement very good timing to consistently cross the face of offensive tackles and get them backpedaling. Has enough flexibility to dip under their reach and close on the quarterback, demonstrating strong hands and an eye for ripping the ball free for the sack and forced fumble. Stronger than he looks and has an effective bull-rush. Also uses this strength to be surprisingly effective in setting the edge despite routinely giving up 70-plus pounds to opponents. Locates the ball quickly and pursues with passion. Athletic enough to drop back into coverage.
Weaknesses: Size limitations. Possesses an impressive build but a frame that may not have much room for additional mass. Relies an awful lot on speed, showing few complementary pass rush moves. Was diagnosed with a spinal stenosis condition while at USC, a condition which has led some notable NFL players to end their careers rather abruptly, including San Diego Chargers Pro Bowl left tackle Marcus McNeill a year ago at just 28 years old.
WARNING: MUSIC NOT SAFE FOR WORK
Now On The Clock: The Philadelphia Eagles