ALAMEDA — On Day Three of the 2013 NFL draft, the Raiders seemed to operate under a guiding principle: You can't win in this league if you don't have some skill at your skill positions.
Among Oakland's seven selections Saturday were a major-college quarterback, a pair of tight ends and a couple of guys who will bring top-tier speed at running back and wide receiver.
It made sense for a team that ranked 18th in the NFL in total yardage (344 per game), 26th in scoring (290 points) and 28th in rushing yardage (88.8 per game) in 2012, lost its starting quarterback and two of its three leading receivers during the offseason, and picked up promising defensive players on Day One and Day Two.
But Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie insisted there was no plan to get offensive. It's just the way his draft board lined up.
"The past three days, the one thing we did, we stayed true to the board," McKenzie said. "And the board kind of dictated a lot of what we did, whether it was picking certain players, certain positions, whether it was moving back."
Fourth-rounder Tyler Wilson will be the Raiders' most-discussed pick of the day, because he plays the most critical position on the field — quarterback.
A lot of scouts thought Wilson would leave Arkansas after his junior year, a campaign that saw him pass for 3,638 yards and 24 touchdowns while leading the Razorbacks to an 11-2 record. He opted to return for his senior season, a decision he may have regretted when coach Bobby Petrino was fired and three of the Hogs' top receivers transferred.
Arkansas fell to 4-8 in 2012, and Wilson's numbers regressed.
"After things pan out you kind of look back and say, 'Well, that wasn't, certainly business-wise, maybe the smarter thing,'<TH>" the quarterback said Saturday. "<TH>.<TH>.<TH>. But my thought is I wanted to be the most ready, prepared football player that I could be, and I thought the only way I could do that would be to go back to school for my senior season."
Even during the plunge, though, observers praised Wilson for his toughness. He has decent size and a strong arm on intermediate throws, though he has an unconventional three-quarters delivery and is said to float his deep passes a bit.
Wilson was the fifth passer taken in this draft, two spots behind Syracuse's Ryan Nassib and three ahead of Oklahoma's Landry Jones.
Even as a fourth-round pick, Wilson could compete for the starting job in Oakland, with 2012 starter Carson Palmer having been traded to Arizona. Current quarterbacks Matt Flynn (2) and Terrelle Pryor (1) combine for three career NFL starts. McKenzie said he'd like to bring in one more passer for camps and OTAs.
Whoever takes the snaps for the Raiders this year could have an extra target or two after Saturday's moves.
McKenzie took tight ends Nick Kasa (Colorado) and Mychal Rivera (Tennessee) in the sixth round, and wide receiver Brice Butler of San Diego State in the seventh.
Read all of the PD's fire coverage here