With Jake Long signed by the Miami Dolphins, the first pick of the draft is already locked in. This leaves the Rams and Falcons picking ahead of the Oakland Raiders, and both teams have the potential to take the players that the Raiders should covet the most.
With the second pick, the St. Louis Rams are most likely to take Glenn Dorsey or Chris Long.
With the third pick, the Atlanta Falcons are most likely to take either Dorsey or Long or draft quarterback Matt Ryan.
Here’s the fork in the draft: If the Falcons balk at Ryan and select whichever player the Rams don’t select, the Raiders will be faced with a much shorter list of options. Those would include selecting DE Vernon Gholston or RB Darren McFadden or simply trading the pick. If this scenario does unfold, I’d prefer to trade down.
However, if the Falcons decide that rebuilding starts at QB, the Raiders would be in a great position, with the ability to select Chris Long or Glenn Dorsey, depending on which player the Rams select. Of course they could still select Gholston or McFadden as well, and they could trade the pick, which in this scenario would be slightly more valuable. I consider either Chris Long or Glenn Dorsey to be slam dunk picks. If Dorsey in particular can prove his health, he can be the anchoring DT that would add depth and versatility to the line, freeing Tommy Kelly to play at the DT and DE position depending on circumstances. Also, Dorsey wouldn’t have to play a great number of snaps, which could preserve his health throughout the season. Chris Long, son of Raider great Howie Long, would also be a slam dunk, and would provide a franchise rusher that could turn this defense into a quality unit.
My ideal situation would be the Falcons’ picking Matt Ryan. If it happens, the Raiders are left with stud defensive players to choose from, and I’d be happy with either Dorsey or Long. It also makes it just a bit harder to take McFadden, which as far as I’m concerned is a good thing. As Raiders fans, we can look forward to a draft filled with intrigue, but the most important factor in our team’s fate seems to be the Atlanta Falcons.