The Oakland Raiders were the only team without a first round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Their offense started to show some promise last season with veteran quarterback Jason Campbell after finally cutting ties with the worthless Jamarcus Russell. Campbell finally showed the ability to throw the ball down field after years of dink and dunk in Washington. The Raiders could use a developmental quarterback however as Campbell will only take them so far. The running game really started to pick things up when Darren McFadden finally showed his explosiveness with legs staying relatively healthy. Michael Bush proved to be a nice complement as the power back in Hue Jackson's offense. Bush could be a free agent this coming season so that maybe a spot the Raiders look in the draft.
The wide receivers saw a surprising performance from Jacoby Ford. Ford was thought to be just another speed guy drafted by Al Davis but he was a clear difference maker when the ball was put into his hands. If the Raiders could ever get Chaz Schilens healthy, he could be the big target they have been looking for on the outside. Darrius Heyward-Bey has never developed as many experts predicted but overall Oakland have some young talented receivers who can really stretch the field. The Raiders will continue to look at improving their offensive line which has shown some dramatic improvement over the last few seasons. I will breakdown the Oakland Raiders 2011 NFL draft in the final draft recap.
Round 2 (48th Overall) - Stefen Wiesniewski - OL
Wiesniewski lacks the physical tools to be a dominant player at this level but has the football intelligence to be at least a quality back-up. He can play all three positions on the line and comes from a quality football family. He does not have the strength to be a real powerful run blocker and will struggle with the bull rush from big offensive tackles.
Round 3 (92th Overall) - Joseph Barkdale - OL
Barkdale has the size to be a quality offensive lineman in the league but is lack of athleticism is going to be a problem. He is smart enough to understand different schemes that he will need to learn but that will likely only be good enough to make him a back-up. Barkdale will need time to develop to have any impact with Oakland.
Round 4 (125th Overall) - Taiwan Jones - RB
Jones is a big time home run hitter. He is my sleeper of the draft so it would have been nice to see him go into a little better situation where playing time could be immediate. Jones could add a little more strength but could burst onto the scene if McFadden goes down. Jones could be impact in the passing game as well with his open field ability but needs to improve his hands and pass protection.
Round 5 (148th Overall) - Denarius Moore - WR
Moore has the top end speed that is needed at the NFL level but needs to work on his quickness off the line and out of breaks. He takes too long to get going and will need to add strength as well. Moore has nice hands and is not afraid to go over the middle despite his skinny frame. He could be nice developmental player in a few years.
Round 7 (241th Overall) - David Ausberry - WR
Ausberry is a mammoth 243 lb receiver. He lacks speed right now to be a difference maker other than a possession receiver at best. Ausberry compares to Mike Williams in Seattle with his size but will not make difference until he improves his speed. Ausberry was worth the gamble if he can get in better shape as he does not block good enough to play tight end in the NFL.
The Oakland Raiders tried to address some of their holes in the draft. Oakland drafted a few lineman to develop to go along with some receivers. I don't think that any of those picks will be much of a contributor at this point. My favorite pick of their draft is Taiwan Jones that should give them a nice weapon to play with. Jones will have an impact if he gets playing time. If Campbell continues to play consistently, the Raiders have the weapons to put up some points in a hurry. For the first time in years, the Raiders seem to have some sort of direction which led to some dramatic improvements last season. Oakland's line has improved in each season the last couple of seasons so a healthy McFadden made a huge difference last year. If the Raiders are getting some solid play out of Campbell and their receivers, they could be a top 10 fantasy offense. The running game should once again be near the Top 5 but could use the re-signing of Bush if he becomes eligible just in case.
Grade = C+
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