Barring an upset the size of the Loma Prieta earthquake, the Oakland Raiders appear to have the number one overall pick in the NFL draft locked up. The real race is now for the number two pick, who the Raiders should draft, but won’t.
The race to the first overall pick is currently controlled by the Oakland Raiders with their 1-11 record. The Silver and Black are suffering through a futile decade-plus of losing, having not qualified for the playoffs since their Super Bowl loss in 2002. They are on track to secure the #1 pick for the second time (2007) in that stretch of high school football played at the pro level.
Rookie quarterback Derek Carr, selected 36th overall (2nd round), has started every game this season for Oakland. He sports a 59.3% completion percentage and a 14/11 TD/INT ratio but currently ranks 34th (out of 35) in AY/A (Average Net Yards per Pass Attempt) with a 5.0. League leader Aaron Rodgers has posted a 10.1 this season and only Carr, fellow rookies Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles, and the execrable Geno Smith clock in below 6.0. The jury is still out on whether Carr can develop into a capable quarterback, but the body of evidence is starting to suggest that he will not pan out. Without a clear-cut #1 player or quarterback available, the Raiders will have a tough decision on whether to go best player available or with the top rated quarterback, Marcus Mariota.
|New York Giants||3||9||0||.250||257||319||-62||2-4||1-5||1-3||2-7||1-2|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||2||10||0||.167||220||314||-94||0-6||2-4||0-4||1-7||1-3|
|New York Jets||2||10||0||.167||190||319||-129||2-5||0-5||0-4||2-7||0-3|
Meanwhile, the Jacksonville Jaguars have the inside track to the 2nd pick right now, but the New York Jets threaten from the outside as they appear determined to scuttle their own ship. General Manager John Idzik’s insistence on starting Geno Smith at QB and Rex Ryan’s 49 rush/13 pass game plan against the Miami Dolphins on Monday night in Week 13 suggest the Jets will remain near the bottom of the league. The implosion of the Jets cannot be underestimated, as Jacksonville, Tennessee and Tampa Bay don’t seem to have the GM and head coach openly feuding.
Just ahead in the standings, the Washington Football Club and the Giants clock in with three wins apiece – likely too many to get a top-5 pick, but not enough to matter. These teams are likely looking at the next tier of prospects, including Alabama safety Landon Collins, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, and Notre Dame offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley.
With four games left in the season, there is still enough time for a shake-up at the bottom of the league. However, given Oakland’s difficult schedule (SF, at KC, BUF, at DEN), the Raiders are still in prime position to land the top pick in next year’s draft.
Follow David on Twitter @SoSH_davemc.