Editor’s note: In the buildup to the 2014 NFL Draft (May 8-10) CSNBayArea.com will have content every day, including position breakdowns, retrospectives, mock drafts and more. Bookmark our Road to the NFL Draft and set your DVRs for April 29, when the Raiders 2014 Draft Special debuts on CSN California at 8:30pm.
The Raiders defense underwent tremendous turnover this offseason. The linebacker corps was a rare exception. Every outside linebacker from 2013 returns, including starters Kevin Burnett and Sio Moore. Kaluka Maiava is a solid backup if he can stay healthy, and Miles Burris is back healthy after an essentially lost season following unexpected knee surgery before the 2013 campaign.
Despite being an area of depth, there is one player in this draft the Raiders can’t pass up. Buffalo’s Khalil Mack is a rare talent some consider the best defensive player in this draft. If he’s available at No. 5, it would be difficult to let him go by. That’s true, even with Sio Moore coming off a strong rookie campaign.
[RELATED: Raiders draft outlook: Safeties]
Mack is an explosive edge rusher that head coach Dennis Allen could use as he used Von Miller when he was defensive coordinator in Denver.
If a true game-changer isn’t available, look for the Raiders to seek talent at other spots early in this draft.
Who's here: Kevin Burnett, Kaelin Burnett, Miles Burris, Sio Moore, Kaluka Maiava, Eric Harper
Draft needs: The Raiders have a starting lineup returning from a season ago, but there are a few edge rushers the team wouldn’t pass up. That’s the case even with second-year strongside linebacker Moore and Kevin Burnett entrenched on the weak side.
Good fits: Mack is a fit for most every team, including the Raiders. He can wreak havoc as a pass rusher. No college player was as good creating tackles for losses. Anthony Barr is a rare talent but inexperienced – he’s only played two years of college defense – and could be of value if the trade down slighty in the first round. Florida’s Ronald Powell could be an option in the later rounds. Stanford’s Shayne Skov could be a player to eventually replace Kevin Burnett on the weakside.