How the Oakland Raiders Can Turn Franchise Around with Just One Draft Pick

A top-five draft pick is a wake-up call to any organization, especially one that has been mired in mediocrity for the last few seasons.

For the Oakland Raiders, garnering the third overall draft pick is something of a mandate for change. General manager Reggie McKenzie is in a tough situation. He can't afford to miss with the pick, but he needs to take a risk if the team is to get back on track.

In terms of evaluating the Raiders' needs, it's difficult to find a starting point.

Under center, Carson Palmer and Terrelle Pryor will compete for the starting job. Pryor didn't do an awful job in the team's final game of the season against the Chargers, but Palmer has the experience factor and the Raiders' lack of success this season wasn't his fault.

Matt Miller reported that the Raiders really like West Virginia signal caller Geno Smith, and if the quarterback falls past the Chiefs (a scenario looking more likely every day) Oakland could consider adding him.

That said, Smith isn't as good as his inflated numbers suggest. The field general amassed a good total of his yards on wide receiver screens to dynamic playmakers like Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. A system quarterback with a system arm, Smith doesn't project out as much more than a journeyman fringe starter in the league.

If the Raiders end up picking Smith, it should be the final nail in the coffin for the team's current scouting regime.

The offensive line is another potential need, and it's interesting to see just how bad Oakland was in that department in 2012. According to Pro Football Focus' final 2012 grades, Stefen Wisniewski and Jared Veldheer were the only Raider linemen who had a positive impact, while Cooper Carlisle didn't have a bad year either.

Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel would be a solid pick at No. 3, but he's not going to immediately turn around the fortunes of this franchise.

Defensively, the Raide...

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