The Raiders drafted seven players — one in each round after dealing their own fifth-round pick — over the three days of this weekend’s NFL Draft.
The draft addressed two of the most pressing needs by grabbing a starting safety and a change of pace running back. The Ward pick will have to be evaluated later to see if he can make an immediate impact — you need that from a second round pick. Calhoun seems like a nice addition as an extra pass rusher. Cook could give you a decent backup quarterback and somebody to step in if something were to happen to Derek Carr, James is probably going to be a special teams player who may see the field on defense if he develops quickly and Alexander is good value in the seventh round. That’s my view, but let’s take a look at what the national media is saying.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. gave the Raiders a B+ overall for their draft. He wrote that “Reggie McKenzie is on a roll” mentioning his free agency pick ups and had good things to say about each of the first five selections, mentioning that Ward has first round talent.
CBS’s Pete Prisco also graded the draft a B+, with him calling Joseph their best pick. He questions the Cook move, mostly because they traded up to get a guy they hope will only be a backup who doesn’t see the field. But in addition to Joseph, he loves the Ward and Calhoun picks and says the “Raiders continued their recent success of having good drafts.”
Sports Illustrated’s Chris Burke and Doug Farrar chimed in with another B+. They write that the Cook move was a surprise, but ultimately a good move, and that Joseph went higher than he may have deserved but upgrades the secondary. They also call Washington a younger, better version of disappointing Roy Helu Jr., but do mention that McKenzie’s “lone regret may be failing to address the cornerback spot.”
Pro Football Focus gives the Raiders a B overall. As for the Day 3 picks, they considered Cook a good value and evaluated Washington as the third-most elusive back in the draft and noting that “he forced 67 missed tackles on 271 touches.”
USA Today gave the Raiders a B-. It called the Cook pick a good “long-game move for the Raiders” and complimented the Joseph pick because he was the best safety in the draft for a team that needed secondary help.
Wrapping it up, the Washington Post gave the Raiders a C+. It mentions that many scouts like Joseph but said “few safeties are worth the 14th overall choice in a draft.”