Mike Mayock has had the Raiders pegged early on in each of the last three years regarding their first pick in the draft and hasn’t wavered.
It would be JaMarcus Russell in 2007, Darren McFadden in 2008 and Darrius Heyward-Bey in 2009. Lots of draft analysts had the Raiders going with Russell and McFadden, but Mayock had Heyward-Bey almost a month before a few others came to the same conclusion, with most having the Maryland receiver going late in the first round or perhaps in the second.
Mayock explained on an NFL Network national conference call Wednesday that he’s not nearly as confident about the Raiders’ intentions this year.
“They’re the wild card,” Mayock said. “I’ve gotten them correct the last few years in my mock but this year I’m not sure where I’m going to go yet.”
If Oklahoma offensive tackle Trent Williams is available at No. 8, then it becomes easy.
“But I don’t think there’s any way Trent Williams is going to be there,” Mayock said.
The Raiders, Mayock said, “are height-weight-speed guys, and always have been.”
With that in mind, who are the guys the Raiders are looking very closely at? Here are some thoughts from Mayock on some of the players who fit nicely into what the Raiders are looking at but may not be what they’re looking for this year in terms of need:
Maryland OT Bruce Campbell
“If I was them I’d be patient and maybe they get him at No. 39 in the second round. I hope they don’t pull the trigger on that kid at No. 8 . . . the way I look at him and I think the majority of the league looks at him is as an exciting developmental offensive tackle prospect that could get over-drafted because of his physical prowess at the combine.”
South Florida DE Jason-Pierre Paul
“He could be a consideration, even though they traded for Kamerion Wimbley. They’ve got an awful lot of money tied up on the other side of the line with Richard Seymour.”
Rutgers OT Anthony Davis
“He’s only 20 years old, a little bit immature, but he’s a fairly gifted kid who deals with a weight problem. If he keeps his weight under control he’s got great feet for his size.”
USC safety Taylor Mays
“Height-weight-speed? He fits it to a tee. But I don’t think they’ll go with Taylor Mays. It would surprise me.”
Georgia Tech WR Demaryius Thomas
“Thomas is a 6-3, 224-pound kid who won’t run prior to the draft but the rumors were he was running a 4.38 (40-yard dash) at 224 pounds. I don’t think they’ll take him, but he’s a freakish athlete.”
I asked Mayock who would be under consideration if the Raiders simply pointed at their need to stop the run and drafted the player best suited to fit that need.
“(Gerald) McCoy and (Ndamukong) Suh will be gone. They’d be reaching for Dan Williams, who’s a real good defensive tackle,” Mayock said. “I thought Trevor Scott did a great job stepping up at outside linebacker and there’s no one at No. 8 that could step in. Unless you trade back, you’re looking at Dan Williams, a linebacker like Rolando McClain, or maybe a defensive end like Derrick Morgan of Georgia Tech.”
Mayock said he assumed both Kirk Morrison and Thomas Howard would be back, although in the case of Morrison, that’s not an assumption I’m willing to make at this point. Not when he’s due $2.521 million in salary and was given an original-round tender specifically to entice someone to give him an offer sheet.
As was the case for most restricted free agents, there was no offer sheet. But Morrison could still be used as trade bait to get another pick, which in theory, leaves McClain in play.
Note: Raiders coach Tom Cable is scheduled to talk with local writers today about the draft. I have a chat scheduled for 2 p.m., at which time that briefing should be concluded, and will have an update later . . .