Blogged by: Naz  Sorrell, F3 Raiders ContributorAround the NFL

The Oakland Raiders opened the 2016 draft with the number 14th pick of round one. They opted their first move to be on defense and selected a hard hitting safety from West Virginia, Karl Joseph. At 5’11 and 200lbs and recently coming off a knee injury, that kept Joseph out four games. Raider’s GM Reggie Mckenzie said about Joseph, “… by watching the tape you can feel the passion. He’ll run and hit whatever moves.” A definite defensive throwback to the Silver and Black glory days. With the retirement of Charles Woodson space in both the backfield and the cap, it’s a good time to rebuild the secondary. This pick is a definite step in that direction as long as Joseph’s knee does not prove to be an issue.

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A defensive theme continued into the second round with the Raiders having the 44th overall pick. Jihad Ward DE from Illinois, at 6’5 295lbs …another draft pick with knee issues. He suffered his knee injury in August and will possibly need arthroscopic surgery. The surgery could leave him sidelined for six weeks. Ward had only 1.5 sacks last year and played a 3-4 defense, the Raiders run a 4-3. I don’t know about this one! Maybe they know something we don’t know? *Kanye shrug*

Round three goes to the defense yet again! Shilique Calhoun a 6-5 250lb DE from Michigan State, with 23 career sacks and nine last season. It was into round four and finally time to feed the offense! 100 pick overall, the Silver and Black  acquired QB Connor Cook. With a franchise QB in Derick Carr, and a capable backup QB, it’s a little strange that the Raiders surrendered their fifth round pick to the Cleveland Browns for this trade. Connor Cook is a top four ranked QB that passed for 3,131 yards, 56.1% on passing, and 24 TD with seven interceptions in the last 13 games.

Heading on to their next pick DeAndre Washington, a small but quick running back from Texas Tech. At only 5’8 and 200lbs, Washington could prove to be a threat for catching passes out of the back field. In round six and 194th pick overall, the Raiders picked up a linebacker from Colorado State, Cory James. James is looked at as a player that can be shaped into what is needed, and possibly was picked up for Special Teams. Round seven brought the pick of Vadal Alexander, a 6’5 Guard from LSU. The Raider O-line is already stacked with starters that average 6’5 and 330lbs! Alexander is a versatile player that can easily switch between playing Left Guard and Right Tackle, he was also the No. 2 ranked Guard in the draft.

As the excitement from the draft dies down we will definitely have a clearer picture on how well these draft picks will do. It’s always one of those things that you just don’t know until you know. It’s definitely going to be an exciting year for our Raiders! Watch out now!

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