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Raiders have plenty of needs, but not enough draft picks

  • If the Raiders were to trade the No. 3 and slide back to the middle of the first round, they would do well to target a guard like Alabama’s Chance Warmack. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Here’s something you already know about the Raiders as they approach the 2013 NFL draft: General manager Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen need help at virtually every position group.

Honestly, is there a position that is stacked on this roster? OK, they have a superb kicker in Sebastian Janikowski.

Perhaps one good fullback (Marcel Reece in this instance) is enough in the modern NFL. And maybe you’re sold on the futures of Matt Flynn and Terrelle Pryor at quarterback, though most people aren’t.

Beyond that, the Help Wanted ads are thicker than offensive coordinator Greg Olson’s playbook in Oakland.

So forget the old debate between drafting for need versus taking the best player available. For the Raiders, the best player available will almost certainly fill a need.

Now, five things that aren’t quite as obvious:

1. OAKLAND HOLDS 3RD PICK

If the Raiders hang on to their top pick — whether because they find a player they love or because no one offers suitable compensation in trade — it will be the fourth-highest selection this franchise has made since the NFL and AFL instituted a combined draft in 1967.

Thanks to that grim 4-12 record in 2012, Oakland has the No. 3 overall pick. Raiders fans are hoping the team performs better than it did with those previous three choices.

The Raiders selected USC defensive tackle Darrell Russell at No. 2 in 1997, Iowa tackle Robert Gallery at No. 2 in 2004 and LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell at No. 1 in 2007.

Darrell Russell, who died in a car accident in 2005, vastly underperformed during five years in Oakland. Gallery was a mediocre tackle who became a pretty good guard.

And JaMarcus Russell — well, the less we say about that, the better, right?

2. START WITH OFFENSIVE LINE

You should keep your eyes trained on the offensive linemen. Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel is likely to be gone if/when the Raiders pick at No. 3, but one of two other offensive tackles, Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher or Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson, could make sense there. Fisher is a nimble and well-balanced athlete, and at 6-foot-7 could give Oakland a couple of giants to bookend their offensive line when paired with 6-8 Jared Veldheer.

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