Going into the NFL draft, nearly every analyst said one thing was certain: the Raiders needed to draft a defensive lineman (or two) to shore up their most obvious weakness.
With the departure of veteran tackles Tommy Kelly and Richard Seymour, and the team’s inability to stop the run or put pressure on opposing quarterbacks in 2012, getting defensive line help was an absolute necessity.
So what did the Raiders do?
They waited until the third day of the draft, in Rounds 6 and 7, to finally fill that need, selecting defensive tackle Stacy McGee of Oklahoma with the 205th overall choice and defensive end David Bass of Missouri Western with the 233rd.
As general manager Reggie McKenzie and his staff sifted through the talent each day of the selection process, they decided to pick the best players available when it was Oakland’s turn. McKenzie said it was important to not force a selection because of a need.
“Sometimes you look into certain draft classes and try to identify a gamut of pass rushers or whatever needs you may have, whether it’s quarterback, running back, it doesn’t matter,” McKenzie told the Bay Area media after the draft. “If it’s not there, we’re not going to make up guys. We’re not going to push guys up the board because we think we need a defensive lineman, a defensive end. We’re not going to do that. If it’s not there, we’ll find it another way.”
The Raiders believe Bass, a quick defensive end at 6-foot-4 and 262 pounds, can provide some pressure from the outside. He played in Division II, so he’ll be making a huge step in level of competition, but was dominant for Missouri Western, recording 40½ sacks and 56 tackles for loss.
McGee, meanwhile, is a big man inside (6-3, 308 pounds) and is an athletic and talented tackle who played well in big games but was considered an underachiever and had some off-the-field issues. McKenzie said the research he and his staff did on McGee makes him believe “he’s a solid guy that made some mistakes.”
In addition to the two late-round picks, the Raiders also added Wyoming defensive tackle Kurt Taufa’asau (6-foot-2, 300) as an undrafted free agent. As a senior for the Cowboys, he had 22 tackles and 1½ tackles for loss.
On the surface, the additions of Bass, McGee and Taufa’asau hardly seem like high-impact moves for a team that needs help on the defensive line.
Yet McKenzie is confident the Raiders will be better in 2013 after additions in the draft and free agency.
In addition to the rookies, the Raiders now go into camp with these defensive linemen:
Tackles: Pat Sims, Vance Walker, Christo Bilukidi, Johnny Jones and Brandon Bair.
Ends: Lamarr Houston, Andre Carter, Jason Hunter and Jack Crawford.
“We felt like we got a couple of guys that can rush the passer,” McKenzie told reporters. “We think our third-round pick, (linebacker) Sio (Moore), can come off the edge a little bit. We think David Bass can come off the edge some. We like some of the things Stacy can do in the middle.”