Originally published on SBReport.net on April 26, 2012
Barring any trades, the Oakland Raiders first draft pick will occur on Friday night when they select 95th overall, the 32nd pick of the third round.
While their first pick is late into the draft, history has shown the potential to find major contributors with the 95th overall draft selection.
The New Orleans Saints drafted tight end Jimmy Graham with the 95th pick in the 2010 draft. Graham had a breakout year last season, hauling in 99 catches for 1,310 yards and 11 touchdowns en route to his first Pro Bowl.
Former Giants wide receiver and Super Bowl XVI hero Mario Manningham was also drafted in the same slot in 2008. Manningham, who now plays across the Bay for the San Francisco 49er’s, has since racked up 160 receptions for 2,315 yards and 18 touchdowns in his four-year, 49-game NFL tenure.
Other notable 95th overall selections include offensive tackle Jonas Jennings by the Buffalo Bills and running back Michael Pittman.
Jennings played for eight years, starting all 75 games he appeared in for both the Bills and the San Francisco 49er’s.
Pittman enjoyed an 11-year career in the NFL, including a six-year tenure with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he won the Super Bowl against the Raiders in 2002. Pittman racked up 1,392 carries for 5,627 yards and 25 touchdowns during his NFL career.
Should general manager Reggie McKenzie and the Raiders keep the 95th overall pick, there should still be plenty of talent that could improve the young Raiders roster.
The Raiders have also proven that they can find solid football players in the fourth round. Like this year, the Raiders have had two fourth-round picks for the past five years. Of those ten fourth-round selections, five of them are still on the roster.
Safety Tyvon Branch has now recorded three straight 100+ tackle seasonsMost notably on the Raiders list of fourth-round draft picks in safety Tyvon Branch (100th overall) of the 2008 draft. Branch has emerged as a young star at the safety position, recording over 100 tackles his last three years in his short, four year NFL career.
Wide receivers Louis Murphy (124th overall of 2009 draft) and Jacoby Ford (108th overall of 2010 draft) are also notable current Raiders drafted in the fourth round.
Murphy had a solid first two years in the NFL with the Raiders before seeing a drop off last season due to limited playing time. Murphy totaled 75 receptions for 1,130 yards and six touchdowns his first two years, but only hauled in 15 receptions last year for 241 yards.
Ford has proven to be an explosive playmaker when healthy, totalling 625 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns on just 35 touches his first season. Ford suffered numerous injuries last season that limited his availability as Ford finished with 19 receptions for 279 yards and one touchdown in just 8 games played. Ford has also proven to be a threat in the kick-return game, recording four kickoff returns for touchdowns in his first 16 games played in
Ford has proven to be an explosive player when healthythe NFL.
Most recently, the Raiders selected running back Taiwan Jones (125th overall) and cornerback Chimdi Chekwa (113th overall). Both saw relatively little playing time, as their stats can be read in this piece.
With little draft picks, McKenzie and the Raiders front office will have to make sure they capitalize on selecting the best player available.
Originally published on SBReport.net on April 25, 2012
The NFL announced on Tuesday that the Oakland Raiders will open up their 2012 season at O.Co Coliseum against AFC West rival San Diego Chargers on September 10.
Fullback Marcel Reece and the Raiders will hope to redeem themselves against the Raiders when they open up the season on ESPN's Monday Night FootballThe game will be part of ESPN’s double header to open up their Monday Night Football season.
This marks the second straight year that the Raiders open up on primetime football, opening last season at Denver against the Broncos on MNF with a 23-20 victory.
The Raiders last saw the Chargers in the final week of last season. Oakland needed a win to make the postseason for the first time since 2002, but failed to capitalize and fell to the Chargers 38-26.
Since the loss, Oakland has seen a dramatic change to its organization. Since the death of iconic owner Al Davis, the Raiders have brought in general manager Reggie McKenzie, who quickly replaced head coach Hue Jackson with former Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Dennis Allen, who then brought in his own assistant coaches.
McKenzie has also made dramatic changes on the roster, including the releasing of starters and signings of replacements such as cornerbacks Shawntae Spencer and Ron Bartell.
The Raiders will hope to get off to a solid start to their 2012 campaign by adding another tally in their win column against the Chargers. The Raiders currently hold a 57-45-2 record against their AFC West rivals, the same team that former owner Al Davis started his professional football career for as an assistant coach.
The Raiders take on the Cincinnati Bengals on Nov. 25 in a game that will mark the return of Raiders starting quarterback Carson Palmer. Palmer chose to retire instead of playing for the Bengals before Hue Jackson and the Raiders traded for him following quarterback Jason Campbell breaking his collarbone.
Quarterback Carson Palmer takes on his old team when the Raiders head to Cincinnati in week 12 of the 2012 seasonPalmer will look to prove he was worth the high price that Oakland gave up, a first-round draft pick in this year’s draft, followed by a second-round draft pick in next year’s draft.
The Raiders will open up NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football once again, just as they did last season. This year, they will take on the Denver Broncos on Thursday, December 6, part of a three-game homestand from week 13 to week 15. This three-game homestand marks the first time since 2005 that the Raiders play three straight home games during the regular season.
Oakland will have their bye week in week five of the season, just before they head east to take on the Atlanta Falcons. The Raiders will head to the eastern time zone a record five times this season.
The Raiders final regular season game will once again be against the Chargers, as they finish up the season in San Diego on December 30.
Allen and the rest of the coaching staff hope to get the Raiders back to their first winning season since they made the playoffs in 2002.
Originally published on SBReport.net on April 25, 2012
The Oakland Raiders currently do not hold a draft pick until the 32nd pick of the third round, 95th overall. The Raiders currently hold one third round draft pick, two fourth round draft picks, a fifth round draft pick and a sixth round draft pick. The 95th overall pick, along with the 129th (fourth round) and 168th (fifth round), came by way of the National Football League’s compensatory pick policy.
The NFL rewards teams that lost key free agents compensatory picks in an effort to create a competitive league.
Barring any trades, the Raiders won’t announce their first selection until late Friday night when the third round takes place in New York City.
Although the Raiders do not have a first or second round draft pick, history shows that they can still receive quality players in the late rounds.
The Raiders had six selections in round three to round six last season: defensive backs DeMarcus Van Dyke and Chimdi Chekwa, running back Taiwan Jones, wide receiver
Cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke will look to improve his skills heading into the 2012 seasonDenarius Moore, offensive tackle Joe Barksdale, and tight end Richard Gordon. Overall, the Raiders 2011 rookie class from rounds three through six appeared in 61 games, including 16 starts.
Round 3, 17th pick (81st overall): DeMarcus Van Dyke
DeMarcus Van Dyke struggled in his rookie season while the Raiders had a carousel at the cornerback position opposite of veteran Stanford Routt. Van Dyke appeared in 14 games, starting four, and recorded 13.0 tackles, four passes defended and only one interception.
Round 3, 28th pick (92nd overall): Joe Barksdale
Barksdale earned very little playing time his rookie season, primarily appearing in special teams situations and occasionally spelling the starting offensive tackles. Even with appearing in a small amount of quality time, Barksdale still managed to appear in all 16 games during the Raiders 2011 season.
Round 4, 16th pick (113th overall): Chimdi Chekwa
Chekwa struggled to earn playing time much of the season nagged by injuries, however he appeared in four games, including one start. Chekwa appeared both at the cornerback position as well as some snaps as a safety. In his limited playing time, Chekwa tallied eight tackles to go along with two passes defensed. Chekwa has the athleticism and physical tools to become a solid corner in the league, but may take time to build his skills.
Running back Taiwan Jones showed promise in a small number of carries behind a crowded backfieldRound 4, 28th pick (125th overall): Taiwan Jones
The rookie running back out of Eastern Washington University appeared in 10 games, carrying the ball just 16 times for 73 yards. Jones also added two receptions for 25 yards. The speedy back struggled with a hamstring injury, often limiting his action. With two solid backs in Darren McFadden and Michael Bush ahead of him, it was hard to find naps in the crowded backfield. Jones did however impress the Raider Nation when he carried the ball 13 times for 81 yards and one touchdown in a preseason game against the New Orleans Saints.
Round 5, 17th pick (148th overall): Denarius Moore
Rookie wide receiver Moore proved the NFL he wasn’t just another training camp star as he came out in the regular season and started ten games for the Silver & Black,
Wide receiver Denarius Moore emerged as one of the best rookie wide receivers in the league last seasonappearing in another three. The rookie from the University of Tennessee racked up 33 receptions for 618 yards and five touchdowns, along with five rushing attempts for 61 yards and one rushing touchdown. Moore looks to be an up-and-coming star in the league, showing his solid hands and breakout ability being too much for the defense at times.
Round 6, 16th pick (181st overall): Richard Gordon
Tight end Gordon appeared in 14 games last season, including one start at the fullback position when Marcel Reece was out due to injury. Gordon, primarily thought of as a blocking tight end, only hauled in one catch for two yards.
While the middle rounds of last year’s draft only produced one starter for the Raiders, Oakland was still able to get solid production out of their draft picks. The players added last year should continue to develop and improve their game.
With a new general manager Reggie McKenzie taking control of the helm of the organization, it should be interesting to see what kind of draft strategy he instills. This marks the first draft without iconic owner Al Davis, who passed away last October.
Originally published on SBReport.net on April 7, 2012
Defensive lineman Dave Tollefson adds needed depth to the Raiders defensive line (Photo courtesy of ESPN.com)Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie continues to quietly build his roster with the little amount of money that he has.
McKenzie and the Raiders agreed to a two-year, $2.5 million contract with veteran defensive end Dave Tollefson, according to ESPN.
Tollefson was originally drafted by McKenzie and the Green Bay Packers in 2006, where he played for one season.
The signing marks the return of the Bay Area native Tollefson who is from Walnut Creek and played his high school ball at Ygnacio Valley High School and Los Medanos College before eventually ending up at Northwest Missouri State.
After spending one year with the Packers, Tollefson returned to the Bay to play on the Raiders practice squad but was eventually picked up by the New York Giants, where he spent his last five seasons.
Tollefson was primarily used as a situational pass rusher for the Giants but appeared in 63 regular season games and recorded 81 tackles to go along with 10 sacks and five forced fumbles.
Tollefson is coming off of a career-high five-sack season and will likely play a role similar to that of Jarvis Moss’ last season, coming in as a situational pass rusher.
The addition gives the Raiders more depth on their defensive line and some additional pass rushing ability after losing Moss, linebacker Kamerion Wimbley, and Trevor Scott, who signed with the New England Patriots earlier during the free agency period.
Tollefson garnered interest from the Packers, St. Louis Rams, Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans when he hit free agency.