What Recent History Suggests About the Oakland Raiders’ 2015 NFL Draft Plan

You can expect two things from the Oakland Raiders’ draft plan: a high-selection prospect out of a smaller less celebrated football program and a curveball against conventional wisdom.

Reggie McKenzie has shown a track record of draft-day risks and due diligence on under-the-radar prospects with potential.

Oakland has selected four prospects from non-powerhouse football programs within the first three rounds of the last two drafts.

It’s clear the Raiders’ scouts hit the ground and gather a ton of research—it has paid off with the emergence of Derek Carr, Sio Moore and Khalil Mack. It shouldn’t be hard to envision Ali Marpet as another under-the-radar type of player to garner McKenzie's attention.

Marpet from Hobart College was barely visible on draft boards until he showcased his skills during the NFL Scouting Combine. Currently, CBSSports.com has the offensive lineman projected as a second- to third-round pick.

Secondly, it’s no secret McKenzie has an eye on a guard for the upcoming draft, especially after moving Austin Howard back to his natural position at tackle. There’s a preference and a need for Marpet as an early pick for Oakland.

McKenzie should keep tabs on Laken Tomlinson (Duke) and Tre’ Jackson (Florida State) as indicators to Marpet’s time left on the board. 

The Raiders put a lot of faith in their scout team to the point they neglect high-priority draft needs—the results are mixed.

In 2013, the Raiders were in need of a guard to strengthen the offensive line or defensive tackle to pair with Pat Sims to bulk the defensive front. Instead Raiders' brass chose D.J. Hayden, despite signing veteran cornerbacks Tracy Porter and Mike Jenkins earlier in that offseason.

Hindsight is always 20-20, but Porter and Jenkins were solid veterans and s...

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