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:


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?


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.

Johnson, a former quarterback, tight end and defensive end, is still a work in progress but has quick feet to go along with tremendous hand strength.

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 or North Carolina's Jonathan Cooper.


The Raiders are highly unlikely to draft a quarterback at No. 3 because, frankly, no eligible QB seems to be worth that sort of capital this year. The top two in this draft are probably West Virginia's Geno Smith and Syracuse's Ryan Nassib, and it isn't clear that either of them will land in the top 10.

That actually could be good news for the Black Hole. Of the top four quarterbacks in franchise history, only Ken Stabler arrived via the draft, and he was a second-rounder in 1968.

Among the other three, two came via trades — Daryle Lamonica in 1967 and Rich Gannon in 1999 — and another, Jim Plunkett, was signed off the scrap heap in 1979.


The Raiders do not have a second-round pick, thanks to the trade that brought quarterback Carson Palmer from Cincinnati midway through the 2011 season.

Talk about open wounds. Palmer is already gone after throwing 30 interceptions in 25 games with the Raiders, and the picks they got in the deal that sent him to Arizona — a sixth-rounder this year, and maybe a seventh in 2014, minus the seventh they shipped to the Cardinals — don't come close to that second-rounder, the No. 37 overall.

To rub a little salt into the gash, the man who engineered the Palmer trade, former Oakland head coach Hue Jackson, is also long gone. He's coaching running backs in Cincinnati now, and could very well benefit from his own mistake with the Raiders.


One name you are likely to hear a lot in the run-up to the draft is Dion Jordan, Oregon's turbo-charged outside linebacker. The Raiders desperately need pass rushers.

Of the defenders currently on the roster, defensive end La-marr Houston had four sacks in 2012, Andre Carter had 2? and no one else had more than a measly 1?.

Jordan could provide instant help in that department, and his lanky frame and impressive versatility — the Ducks moved him all over the field and even asked him to cover slot receivers — could remind older fans of Ted Hendricks.

Strangely, the Raiders have drafted only three Oregon players in their history, and none wound up playing for them. Mel Renfro (1964) signed with the Dallas Cowboys instead, and Mickey Bruce (1962) and Dave Grosz (1961) disappeared into the mists of time without getting NFL experience.

Could Jordan be the Duck who sticks?

You can reach Staff Writer Phil Barber at 521-5263 or phil.barber@pressdemocrat.com.