Oakland Raiders Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell
May 28, 2013

Solid Starter

Sio Moore, OLB, Connecticut – Round 3
The Raiders took some risks with their first two selections in the 2013 NFL Draft, but took a safe pick in the third round with Moore. He totaled 72 tackles, 15.5 tackles for a loss, eight sacks and 11 pass breakups last year. It wasn’t his only good season as Moore had 86 tackles with 16 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, six passes broken up and two forced fumbles in 2011. He was a real asset for the Huskies defending the pass and was solid against the run.

Moore’s polished play was further displayed at the East-West Shrine and Senior Bowl when he was a standout at both all-star events. The 6-foot-1, 240-pounder is versatile and should work his way into the starting lineup quickly – if not immediately.

Moore looks like a safe pick to turn into a quality starter and could be a building block for an Oakland team in desperate need of long-term starters.

Most Likely To Bust

D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston – Round 1
I’m going with Hayden because of the injury concern. No player has ever dealt with the injury that he’s attempting to come back from. A routine collision almost killed him in pratice last season. The hit tore his inferior vena cava, a major vein that returns blood to the heart from the lower portion of the body.

It is scary to ponder if Hayden had the repaired vein re-torn. Some teams were terrified of that and were unwilling to draft him. Sources told WalterFootball.com that some teams gave Hayden a second-round grade, so not everybody regarded him as highly as Oakland did. Hayden was dynamite for Houston last year before the injury. The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder has good size, speed and ball skills, but could use more development to be a man corner in the NFL.

There is no doubt that Hayden has the skill set to be a good pro, but the injury carries a mental hurdle as well. Hayden believes that once he take his first hit without incident he’ll be fine, but who knows the mental hurdles that Hayden will have to overcome. General manager Reggie McKenzie was prepared to take Hayden third overall before landing him after trading down. If Hayden can stay healthy, he should pan out – but this kind of return is unprecedented.

Potential Boom Pick

Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State – Round 2
This was a tough call. Hayden could easily be the selection for the boom pick as well as the bust potential. I also think the Raiders could have steals in tight end Nick Kasa, tight end Mychal Rivera and running back Latavius Murray. However, I know of teams that loved Watson and had a first-round grade on him. He is extremely fast, athletic and strong for an offensive lineman.

Watson has immense upside. He’s only played one season of big-time football after growing up in the United Kingdom. Watson played in the junior college ranks before his one season of superb play for Florida State. He has the physical ability to be a special NFL lineman. Mentally, sources said that Watson was impressive on the chalk board in his pre-draft meetings. Sources with the Raiders said Watson was excellent at the team’s rookie mini-camp.

Some believe that Watson has the potential to be a good left tackle. Oakland needs him to lock down right tackle in the short term. I think there could be some growing pains, but if the organization stays patient and Watson makes every effort to develop, he could be a steal as a second-round pick. I wouldn’t be surprised if Watson becomes one of the better right tackles in the NFL.

Future Depth Player

Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas – Round 4
There were a lot of media reports out of the Raiders’ rookie mini-camp that Wilson looked good and could be an immediate competitor for the starting quarterback position with veteran Matt Flynn and youngster Terrelle Pryor. It is feasible that Wilson will outplay either of them in the preseason.

Wilson had a strong junior season and displayed an accurate arm with good decision-making. HE is only a fit for a West Coast offense in the NFL, and fortunately for him, that is what Oakland runs. From speaking with sources, they felt that Wilson has a ways to go mentally and that he doesn’t move that well. Those issues could keep him from being an effective starter. Wilson at least looks like he will be a good backup.

Walt’s 2013 NFL Draft Grades:

12. D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston: C Grade
I was prepared to give the Raiders a “Millen” grade had they drafted D.J. Hayden at No. 3, as some reports indicated they would. This isn’t so bad. Hayden is a big injury risk, so I don’t know how he can possibly go so early. I do like that Oakland picked up a second-round though, which was essential given the lack of talent on the roster. I just don’t know how the Raiders can justify passing on Sharrif Floyd and Star Lotulelei.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

42. Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State: B+ Grade
The Raiders were going to draft Luke Joeckel if he fell to No. 3, so this makes a ton of sense. The Raiders have a huge hole at right tackle, and they need to worry about blocking Von Miller on that side. Menelik Watson could play there initially and eventually move to the blind side. He’s a project, but was expected to go at the end of the first round because of his great athleticism.

66. Sio Moore, LB, Connecticut: A- Grade
It’s useless to stay whether or not an Oakland pick filled a need because the team has huge holes everywhere. Sio Moore was one of the top players available. He’ll offer some pass-rushing ability out of the linebacker position, much like former Raider Kamerion Wimbley.

112. Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas: B Grade
Tyler Wilson has a noodle arm, so he had to go to a team running a West Coast offense. That’s exactly what the Raiders utilize, so it’s a good fit. I’m not sure if Wilson can ever develop into a starter, but he should be a solid, game-managing backup at the very worst.

172. Nick Kasa, TE, Colorado: B+ Grade
The Raiders really wanted a tight end earlier, but they’re definitely fine with Nick Kasa here, who fits the range. Oakland lost Brandon Myers to the Giants, so Kasa could start this year.

181. Latavius Murray, RB, Central Florida: B Grade
Darren McFadden will get injured at some point during the 2013 season, so the Raiders need a solid running back to step in. Murray, perceived to be a sixth-round prospect by many, is a larger back who should be able to pass the mediocre Rashad Jennings on the depth chart at some point.

184. Mychal Rivera, TE, Tennessee: B Grade
Two tight ends in the same round? Seems crazy, but I don’t mind this because Nick Kasa and Mychal Rivera are two different players. Kasa will serve as the inline blocker, while Rivera will be the move tight end. The Raiders had nothing at the position, so they absolutely had to take care of this, especially when considering Matt Flynn’s noodle arm. Rivera fits the range.

205. Stacy McGee, DT, Oklahoma: B Grade
The Raiders finally draft a defensive tackle 202 selections after most people thought they’d take one. Stacy McGee is a solid player for this pick.

209. Brice Butler, WR, San Diego State: B Grade
Al Davis would have liked Brice Butler. He was a workout warrior who drew heavy interest as a late-round prospect. Darrius Heyward-Bey is gone, so might as well replace him with Butler.

233. David Bass, DE, Missouri Western: B Grade
The Raiders needed to take a defensive end much earlier than this, but Davis Bass is a solid choice at this juncture.

2013 NFL Draft Team Grade: B . Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

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