Oakland Raiders’ 2013 Draft Class Under Pressure in Make-or-Break Season

The time is now for the Oakland Raiders' 2013 draft class, and the pressures of the upcoming season could furnish diamonds or deliver a blow to the team's season outlook.

The 2013 draftees were general manager Reggie McKenzie’s first full draft class. For his own sake, he’s hoping for a batch of gems to make an impact in 2015. 

The rapid development of the 2014 draft class, which includes five or six starters for the upcoming season, only adds to the pressure on some of the three-year veterans handpicked by McKenzie. How will these players in the hot seat respond?

Projected Starters 

Former sixth-round pick Latavius Murray carries the loftiest expectations of the 2013 group. JustBlogBaby.com writer Patrick Fouhy expects 1,300 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns from the Central Florida product. Those markers are steep at a position that’ll likely include two other running backs taking a portion of the carries.

Murray should break 1,000 yards, but only four running backs managed to crack 1,300 yards in 2014.

Each of those four running backs took the vast majority of their team's carries last year with the exception of Marshawn Lynch, who shares rushing attempts with dual-threat quarterback Russell Wilson. Trent Richardson and Roy Helu should command around 40 percent of the combined carries in a committee approach, and the question marks on the right side of the offensive line, especially at guard, could hurt Murray’s numbers.

On a brighter note, 1,000 yards isn’t a marker to dismiss. Murray should become the first 1,000-yard rusher for the Raiders since Darren McFadden in 2010.

Outside linebacker Sio Moore must overcome hip surgery, per SilverandBlackPride.com writer Levi Damien, and competition from a linebacker corps that is stocked with talent. Ray-Ray Armstrong made a strong impression during OTAs...

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