Even though the 2012 NFL Draft ended about 2 months ago, I think it’s never too early for a mock draft. Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen did a great a great job trying to improve the team during the offseason, but there are still some big holes on this team. As of now at: Defensive End, Nose Tackle, Middle Linebacker (maybe), Cornerback, Right Tackle (maybe). The Raiders will be in a much better position when the draft rolls around in 2013. We will have a first and third round pick, barring a trade. We should also be receive compensatory pick for losing the likes of; Kamerion Wimbley, Stanford Routt, Kevin Boss *Note I will not be including compensatory picks in this mock draft.
22. Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
The Raiders want to transition to a 3-4 defense over the next 2 years, but they lack the elite edge-rusher you need to run a 3-4 defense. Barkevious Mingo is an explosive, physical pass-rusher. Mingo currently plays in a 4-3 defense at LSU, but has the size and skill-set to make a seamless transition to 3-4 Rush Linebacker. In the immediate future he will be able to upgrade the 4-3 Defensive End position. Matt Shaugnessy and Lamarr Houston are good players, but neither have elite pass-rushing ability.
54. (The Bengals hold the Raiders’ Second Round pick as part of the Carson Palmer trade)
86. Kwame Geathers, DT, Georgia
Kwame Geathers is a mountain of a man at 6’6′ 350lb’s. He can come in and immediately become the run-stuffer the Raiders need on the D-line. He is almost immovable on the line of scrimmage, and he causes a lot issues for opposing offenses. Tommy Kelly is a decent pass-rusher, but he is sub-par in his ability to stop the run. Kwame Geathers will be the Nose Tackle that we need to make a full transition to the 3-4 defense.
118. (The Seahawks hold the Raiders’ Fourth Round Pick as part of the Aaron Curry trade)
150. Bruce Taylor, ILB, Virginia Tech
Even if Rolando McClain gets his act together, the Raiders need depth a Middle Linebacker. Taylor is a thumper that is excellent in stopping the run. At 6’2′ 252lb’s he has excellent size. Bruce Taylor will provide immedate depth, and can be groomed to take over for McClain oe whichever short-term solution we have at the position.
188. Tanner Hawkinson, OT, Kansas
I think Joseph Barksdale will do a decent job a Right Tackle. He’s the long-term solution there. The Raiders need depth at both Tackle positions and I think Tanner Hawkinsonwill help fill that need. He is a little bit on the smaller side in terms of weight (285lb’s), but that won’t be an issue in the Zone-Blocking scheme. He is excellent in pass-protection, but can be overly aggressive at times. Hawkinson should develop into a solid “swing tackle” (a tackle that can play on left or right side). He will provide depth to an O-line that needs it.
220. Jarred Holley, S/CB, Pittsburgh
Matt Giordano and Mike Mitchell both have one-year left on their deals, the Raiders will need some depth at Safety after 2012. Holley is undersized, but makes up for it by being a great playmaker. He will provide depth behind Mike Huff at Free Safety. If necessary, he can play Slot Cornerback as well. Solid, late-round depth pick right here. Holley could surprise a lot of people down-the-line.
Let me know what you think! Please leave a comment below or get @ me on Twitter. Peace out Raidernation!