Oakland Raiders’ 2012 NFL Draft Wish List No. 11: OL Brandon Brooks

With the draft only a few weeks away, general manager Reggie McKenzie has done a tremendous job filling in the holes of the Oakland Raiders.

On defense, he has signed serviceable players such as Philip Wheeler, Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer. Of course, there are other positions—such as tight end, left guard and right tackle—that can be upgraded.

Of those three, I see left guard being the most glaring because there is no apparent heir to take over as starter. At right tackle, Khalif Barnes will be pushed by second-year Joseph Barksdale, while both Richard Gordon and Davis Ausberry will fight with Brandon Myers at tight end.

But left guard? Right now, Cooper Carlisle is penciled in as the starter and many Raider fans are not exactly excited about the prospect. Carlisle came to the Raiders when Tom Cable was still the head coach running the zone-blocking system.

Three seasons later, Hue Jackson arrived and threw out the zone-blocking scheme. Today, Jackson is no longer the coach and the Raiders are running the zone-blocking system once again. It's not fair to say Carlisle won't flourish in the system, but turning 35 in August, Carlisle's best days are behind him and the Raiders have to find a new guard to replace him, eventually.

First, let's take a look at what it takes to be a good zone blocker. Here's an informative piece from RaiderNationTimes:

In order to play in a zone blocking scheme, a lineman has to have the speed and agility to move and get to an area fast, or to make one block and move quickly on to the second level. Of course linemen need strength to dominate the line, but the difference here is the required speed and short area quickness to get where they need to be quickly.

Not many really huge linemen have that (although some do), and players generally need to be on the lighter side (300 – 310lbs) to function well within the system.

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