With the fifth overall pick in the NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders select: Greg Robinson, offensive tackle, Auburn.
*Waits for rotten veggies to be thrown*
This will likely not be a very exciting pick for many. Offensive tackle is not one of the Raiders biggest immediate needs (though it is certainly a need for the future). There were plenty of guys I could have taken that would have filled more immediate needs. Wide receiver Mike Evans was still on the board, as was pass rushing specialist Anthony Barr.
But while those guys fill more immediate needs, I honestly believe that the two best players on the board when I took my pick were Robinson and Jake Matthews, the top two offensive tackles in the draft. When the draft fell the way it did, I attempted to make a trade back but was unable to secure a deal that I wanted so I was stuck with the number five pick.
This is a good example of how the draft itself can dictate what a team does. How the board falls and how it impacts not only the Raiders, but potential trade partners can often play a bigger role in who a team picks than what that team’s goals or desires are.
Most experts have agreed that Matthews and Robinson are better talents than the tackles taken in last year’s draft, one of whom was the top pick overall. It is not a flashy position, but a dominant tackle can do more than a wide receiver or a outside linebacker. How? Because good play from your offensive line makes other players better. Quarterbacks have more time in the pocket to pick apart defenses, running backs have bigger holes to run through and even coaches can benefit. Strong offensive line play allows the offensive coordinator to open up the play book a bit and throw in more plays that require seven step drops, something the Raiders have not been able to do in recent years.
There were bigger needs, but in my opinion, not better all around players. I could have gone either way with Matthews or Robinson. Both are great players but while Matthews is more polished, Robinson has more upside. Because I am fairly confident that both will turn out to be studs, I’ll take the guy with upside first.
Oh well, at least I know Tony Sparano would love my pick.
To see how the whole first round played out, check out the main story here.