The Oakland Raiders hold the No. 14 overall pick in the first round of the NFL Draft after a promising season. Oakland didn't make the playoffs, but the team is building the right way. A playoff appearance next year is a real possibility, and the Raiders had added some impressive talent this offseason. However, drafting a bust could prevent the Raiders from taking the next step in 2016. Here are three players the Raiders need to avoid in the first round:
3. Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
Smith has loads of talent, and the idea of pairing him with Kahlil Mack is a terrifying one for opposing offenses. However, that was before Notre Dame's bowl game this season. Unfortunately, Smith's knee injury in that game is severe. Initial medical checks at the Combine indicated that Smith has nerve damage, which kills his draft stock. While Smith has Patrick Willis-type ability and a healthy Smith is worth at least a Top 10 pick, his knee injury means that Raiders can't pull the trigger in round one. Smith will drop on draft day because of that knee injury, unless medical re-checks come up with something more positive.
2. Keanu Neal, S, Florida
The Raiders badly need safety help. The team tried to land Eric Weddle, but failed to land him. Oakland is left with a possible starting tandem consisting of some combination of Larry Asante, Tevin McDonald, Nate Allen and T.J. Carrie (who is best at CB). The Raiders need to take at least one safety in the draft this year, but not at No. 14 overall. Neal should be the first safety off the board, and don't be surprised if he does near the end of round one. But unless the Raiders trade down, they need to spend their first rounder on a different position. None of the safeties (outside of Jalen Ramsey, but he'll be long gone) are worth taking that high. Downoad the Chat Sports App for more Raiders coverage.
1. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
If Elliott slips to the Raiders, the team would likely at least think about taking him. Sure, they have Latavius Murray, but they need someone to pair with him. Elliott would be a decent value at No. 14, since he could very well go in the Top 10. He and Murray would form a potent 1-2 punch, but Elliott is not the right pick for the Raiders. The Raiders are better off adding a defensive piece, and spending a first rounder on a RB who would get about 50 percent of the snaps just isn't worth it.Back to the Oakland Raiders Newsfeed