The Raiders are a team with many needs and not a lot of cap space or draft picks to fill them. With that said, it is especially important for the Raiders to get it right this time.
They have to put the days of drafting guys like JaMarcus Russell, Fabian Washington and Rolando McClain in the first round behind them.
Here are some candidates for the Raiders' third overall pick.
Before the national championship game against the Alabama Crimson Tide, Te'o looked like a can't-miss prospect at middle linebacker.
Te'o had perhaps the worst game of his Notre Dame career against the Crimson Tide under the bright lights with everyone watching.
Looking back at his college stats, perhaps Te'o is fool's gold. He didn't make any interceptions before his senior year, when he suddenly had seven. He also had fewer than two sacks in three seasons; the only exception is his five-sack year in 2011.
His bright spot was being a master in the art of tackling—something the Raiders could use—but even that looked weak against Alabama.
Te'o seems attractive to the Raiders because Rolando McClain has burned out and opened a hole at middle linebacker. It may be unfair to judge him based on his performance in one bowl game, but Te'o's poor play under the Monday night lights can't go unnoticed.
The Raiders could be the luckiest team in the NFL if they are able to select Jones. After transferring to Georgia from USC, Jones was a dominant pass-rusher off the edge. Looking at his stats, he had 28 sacks over the last two years as well as nine forced fumbles.
Jones may not have had a 100-plus tackle year like Te'o (who had three), but when a player gets 24.5 tackles for loss in a college season, you know the guy is something special.
Jones could be more NFL-ready than Te'o after playing two great seasons in the SEC, which some consider to be as talented a the NFL. We saw how well Te'o matched up against the SEC when Alabama dominated the Notre Dame defense.
If Jones is available, he must be taken by the Oakland Raiders.
While the Raiders should be primarily focused on building up their defense in the draft, they have to at least take a look at Joeckel. He was a part of the Cotton Bowl champion Texas A&M Aggies, which had a great offensive line.
The Raiders already have a pretty good left tackle in Jared Veldheer, but if they were to draft Joeckel then they could move one of the solid tackles to the right side of the line to replace Khalif Barnes.
It all depends on what head coach Dennis Allen thinks of moving a rookie from his natural position. If Allen is fine with it and Joeckel is available at No. 3, the Raiders could really boost up their offensive line with Joeckel.
Perhaps the best defensive tackle in the draft class, Lotulelei could solidify the Raiders defensive line.
With Richard Seymour likely to leave in free agency and Tommy Kelly being overpaid and a candidate for release, the Raiders could have depth and talent shortages in the defensive line.
If the Raiders re-sign Desmond Bryant or move Lamarr Houston to tackle from end, the Raiders could really beef up their defense by having Lotulelei play alongside either of them.
At this point, it is unknown what the Raiders are thinking about in regard to the defensive front. They could switch from a 4-3 formation to the 3-4, which would change their need for a defensive tackle.
He is perhaps the least likely candidate on this list to be drafted by the Raiders, but with his dominant strength, they have to at least consider him.
Trade the Pick
The Raiders have so many needs on the roster that they won't fix the team with one great selection. The Raiders are without a second-round pick via the Carson Palmer trade and could try to get back into the second round in exchange for moving down the draft board.
More picks translate into more depth, which is what the Raiders truly need.
The Raiders could be receiving compensation picks this year like they did last year. With those picks still yet to be dealt to teams, the Raiders could be waiting for those picks so that they know just how much they have to work with.
Reggie McKenzie was hired as general manager in part because of his ability to find great players in the draft. While he still has more than 100 days to think about the draft, I am sure he has a short list of players he wants or perhaps a trade partner to gain more picks from.
My personal favorite is Jarvis Jones.
The pass rush that he brings would help out the rest of the defense. It would give the opposing quarterback less time to progress through his receivers against Oakland's weak secondary.
As I said before, it is early, so everything here is subject to change. This is just a list of a few options for the Oakland Raiders to consider on draft day.
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