Going against Mike Mayock and Daniel Jeremiah, both of NFL Network fame, seems like a bad idea. Each worked in NFL scouting departments and know what they are talking about when it comes to evaluating draft prospects.
But Mayock and Jeremiah are human—and they are wrong about Florida defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd being a good fit for the Oakland Raiders.
Mayock suggested that Floyd would be a good fit for the Raiders with the third overall pick on his national conference call and Jeremiah’s most current mock draft has the Raiders taking Floyd. It makes a little sense for the Raiders to draft Floyd, but only if they fail to re-sign Desmond Bryant in free agency.
If Reggie McKenzie fails to re-sign Bryant and then simply drafts Floyd as a replacement, Oakland’s defensive line doesn’t improve. If the defensive line doesn’t improve, Oakland’s defense isn’t going to improve, unless McKenzie works magic to fix the secondary. The pick would only make sense from the standpoint that the Raiders would need a defensive tackle if Bryant doesn’t re-sign.
The Raiders have the same problem at defensive tackle as the Kansas City Chiefs do at left tackle—both teams have a talented player at the position who will be a free agent. Letting a talented player go only to replace them through the draft seems like a huge waste, because it usually is a huge waste.
The benefit of having a top pick is to add an impact player. Impact players in the NFL today are usually quarterbacks, pass-rushers or receivers. Even the once highly valued cornerback position has seen its stock drop a bit over the last few years. Unless Floyd is the next Geno Atkins, he’s just not going to have enough of an impact to be the third pick of the draft.
If the Raiders were going to draft a defensive tackle, Star Lotulelei makes more sense. Tommy Kelly makes way too much money for McKenzie to keep him around, and Lotulelei could play next to Bryant and form a nice interior tandem. Lotulelei makes more sense than Floyd, though he doesn't necessarily offer much more value as a pass-rusher.
The Raiders need to improve their pass rush, and a defensive tackle isn’t likely going to correct that problem. With such a deep draft class of defensive linemen and a plethora of free agents available at the position, the Raiders should probably draft their top-rated pass-rusher over any defensive tackle in the draft.
Lamarr Houston is also an ideal candidate to move inside to defensive tackle and play the 3-technique position, something he did at times for the Raiders last season. Considering the Raiders have someone on the roster capable of being an impact player at defensive tackle and a free agent they should re-sign at the position, the team probably be shouldn’t be adding a similar player with their first-round pick.
The Raiders have made a bad habit of giving away or wasting their first-round picks in the past. The new regime claims to be different, but they will have to prove it. McKenzie can’t screw up their first-round pick this year or it could spell the end of the new regime before it even had a chance to get started. The Raiders need an impact player, who can play immediately and help improve the team in some quantifiable way. Even drafting offensive guard Chance Warmack would have a more significant impact on the Raiders than Floyd.
Floyd seems to be hot right now, and maybe that’s why people are suggesting he fits with the Raiders with the third pick, but such a pick only makes sense on the surface. If the Raiders re-sign Bryant, it’s unlikely you will see many people suggesting the Raiders draft a 3-technique defensive tackle.