Breaking Down Final Draft Projections for the Oakland Raiders

Jeff SpiegelContributor IIApril 24, 2013

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 02:  Teddy Bridgewater #5 of the Louisville Cardinals is sacked by Sharrif Floyd #73 of the Florida Gators in the third quarter of the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 2, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

As ESPN's Todd McShay and Mel Kiper released their latest mock drafts for Thursday night's first round, there were few surprises at the top.

For the Oakland Raiders, the projection remains the same: Florida defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd.

Kiper explains the pick like this: "They need production and versatility up front, and Floyd will provide both."

With so many holes to fill, it seems that Oakland is in the position of needing to simply pick the best player available, and with many projecting two offensive lineman to go before Oakland is up, it appears that Floyd is the guy.

As Kiper mentioned in an interview on SportsCenter earlier this week, selecting Floyd would allow the Raiders to focus on shoring up one unit—their defensive line—rather than spreading their money and picks out across the entire roster.

While I knew little about Floyd heading into this draft season, seeing him interviewed on ESPN earlier this week definitely eased my concerns:

For starters, Floyd comes off as very intelligent and humble about the opportunity to play in the NFL—two traits you'd be tough to find in some of the Raiders' recent draft busts.

Secondly, Floyd constantly talks about the drive that he has, the attribute of his game that seems to separate him from the competition, and if you ask me, drive is one of the most important things in a professional football player.

Lastly in the interview, Floyd touches on his past and how he found himself all alone at the age of 16 but used football as his motivation in life to keep going. Despite the lack of a support system at home, Floyd still managed to earn a 3.3 GPA in high school, which was good enough to get him into college at Florida.

All in all, the interview told me all I wanted to know about Floyd—about his makeup on the field and off —and I came away feeling comfortable with Floyd should he turn out to be the Raiders' pick.

Of course, if you've read anything else I've written in the past few months, my view remains the same: if Oakland has the opportunity to trade down, that's the decision that I hope is made.

While Floyd would surely shore up the defensive line in Oakland, that doesn't matter a whole lot if they don't have anyone to cover receivers down field or to protect their new quarterback.

In the end, we can guess all we want—whether in an educated or uneducated fashion—but until that name card is read on Thursday, we'll all be guessing.

So who do you hope Oakland takes if they remain at No. 3?