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2014 NFL Draft Needs: Oakland Raiders

Clay Link

Clay Link

Hailing from Arcanum, Ohio, Clay is a proud graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Madison. He began writing for RotoWire in the fall of 2011, and now contributes to breaking news and NFL Draft content, in addition to his duties as assistant baseball editor.

Areas of Need

1. Quarterback

It's easy to forget, but Terrelle Pryor threw the ball well in his first four games of the season. The 24-year-old completed 68.2 percent of his passes for 845 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions, while leading Oakland to a 2-2 record. His great athleticism provided for some memorable moments on the ground as well, including a 93-yard touchdown run against Pittsburgh, but he ultimately lost the faith of head coach Dennis Allen after failing to post a completion percentage above 54 percent in four straight games. Undrafted rookie Matt McGloin made his first start in Week 11, and after some initial success, he too fell apart and the team turned back to Pryor for the final game of the year. Neither player looks like the long-term answer for the Raiders. It seems Allen prefers McGloin over Pryor heading into 2014, but the position is one that will almost surely be addressed in the draft, and the team has the cap space to add a veteran to the mix as well.

2. Wide Receiver

Before going down with a shoulder injury in Week 11, Denarius Moore was showing some consistency in addition to his trademark home-run ability. He went for 82-plus yards four times in a six-week stretch, but the injury, combined with lackluster quarterback play, resulted in another mediocre season overall. With his contract set to expire after the 2014 season, Moore's future in Oakland is uncertain. Rod Streater, who led the team in receiving in 2013, is also entering the final year of his contract. An intriguing size-speed blend, Andre Holmes tied for the team lead with 10 receptions of 20-plus yards despite playing in just 10 games, but the Raiders need to add a high-level talent to the position, to give whomever's under center next season and beyond a fighting chance.

3. (4-3) Defensive End

The pass rush was at times non-existent for the Raiders in 2013, and Lamarr Houston, who led the team with six sacks, is now a free agent. A lack of athleticism on the edge was also painfully obvious when Jamaal Charles took screen pass after screen pass to the house in a defensive collapse for the ages in Week 15. General manager Reggie McKenzie has worked the cap to the point where he could go after one of the big-name free agent pass rushers this offseason, but if that fails to materialize, the team needs a couple of impact defensive ends with Jason Hunter possibly gone as well.

Potential Targets

1. Quarterback

First round
-Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville (6-2, 205)
-Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M (6-0, 210)
-Blake Bortles, Central Florida (6-4, 230)
-Derek Carr, Fresno State (6-3, 220)

Second and third rounds
- Zach Mettenberger, LSU (6-5, 235)
- Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois (6-2, 219)
- AJ McCarron, Alabama (6-3, 214)

Fourth round and later
- Tajh Boyd, Clemson (6-1, 222)
- Aaron Murray, Georgia (6-1, 201)
- David Fales, San Jose State (6-2, 220)
- Connor Shaw, South Carolina (6-0, 209)

2. Wide Receiver

First round
-Sammy Watkins, Clemson (6-1, 205)
-Mike Evans, Texas A&M (6-5, 225)
-Marqise Lee, USC (6-0, 195)
-Odell Beckham, LSU (5-11, 193)

Second and third rounds
-Allen Robinson, Penn State (6-3, 210)
-Brandin Cooks, Oregon State (5-10, 190)
-Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt (6-3, 209)
-Paul Richardson, Colorado (6-1, 172)
-Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin (6-1, 189)

Fourth round and later
-Donte Moncrief, Ole Miss (6-2, 226)
-Ryan Grant, Tulane (6-0, 197)
-Jeff Janis, Saginaw Valley (6-2, 212)

3. (4-3) Defensive End

First round
-Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina (6-5, 274)

Second and third rounds
-Scott Crichton, Oregon State (6-3, 265)
-Trent Murphy, Stanford (6-6, 252)
-Marcus Smith, Louisville (6-4, 258)
-Michael Sam, Missouri (6-2, 260)

Fourth round and later
-Kareem Martin, North Carolina (6-6, 272)
-Will Clarke, West Virginia (6-6, 271)
-Josh Mauro, Stanford (6-6, 276)
-Cassius Marsh, UCLA (6-4, 254)