Raiders HC Josh McDaniels makes Raiders depth chart

On The Ray-Dar: Raiders Head Honcho Josh McDaniels Feeling A Draft…

Prepare to read a whole bunch of best player available (BPA) shenanigans! It’s par for the course as all 32 NFL teams are knee-deep in preparation and evaluation of prized collegiate prospects as we careen toward the NFL Draft in April. The conversations and debate on drafting the BPA or for need will be plentiful, so much so that you’ll get sick of it if you haven’t already. And it’s no surprise “BPA” and “draft” were ever-present during Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels’ media session at the NFL Owners Meeting in Phoenix on Monday afternoon.

The Raiders’ acquisition of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in free agency, for example, allows the Silver and Black head honcho and general manager Dave Ziegler to focus their efforts on taking the best player available with not only the seventh overall pick but all the selections at their disposal.

“I mean, obviously, it makes you feel better if you come out of there without somebody specific,” McDaniels said when asked how Garoppolo’s presence on the roster shapes the team’s draft strategy. “But I think in terms of our roster, what we’ve tried to do is put ourselves in a position so we can actually draft the best player that we feel like is available at the time. And we’re open to anything, you know what I mean? That’s nothing new.”

So, what did Josh McDaniels actually say? Let’s dive in.

Looking for more specificity from McDaniels? He brought that to the mix, too.

“But if that happened to be a quarterback, then it’s a quarterback. If it happens to be a defensive lineman, it’s a defensive lineman. If it happened to be a tight end, it’s a tight end, you know what I mean?” McDaniels explained what BPA means. “So, whatever player — we’re doing our work on everybody and trying to do our due diligence on every spot in the draft. We know we pick high in every round, basically, and so it’s an opportunity that you hope you don’t have a whole lot of, but we’re going to try to take full advantage of if we can this year.”

What is BPA in this context?

McDaniels later provided even more context on the matter with a smaller media engagement, noting that the BPA and need debate is one every NFL team goes through. He added that BPA vs. need does come into play if there’s a “tie” on a prospect. In that case, the team could use leaning toward need as a tiebreaker.

However, make no bones about it, the draft is where the Raiders will build their core and foundation — something previous regimes haven’t done well.

“The draft is obviously important. We need to draft and put a good young core on our team that we drafted, developed, and that we can continue to work with,” McDaniels noted. “We’re a little deprived of that at the moment. But hopefully with this draft, we have a lot of picks. And I’d say going forward, if we can try to string together a few of those together, that’s really the goal.”

McDaniels response came directly from a question regarding the Raiders defense, namely: Based on the team’s activity on that side of the ball so far, what is the team trying to do defensively?

Will the Raiders finally fix the defense?

It would appear, on the surface, that Las Vegas is going to use draft capital on the much-maligned defensive unit led by Patrick Graham. “Appear” as Ziegler is apt to say “don’t deal in absolutes”. Thus, one can’t say for sure that yes or no, the Raiders will do X on draft day.

My two cents: Similar to what Josh McDaniels said above, what happens if the Raiders’ BPA is a position group that the team has quantifiable talent in? Is sticking strictly to the best player available a viable aspect? For example, hypothetically, if the Raiders take a quarterback in Round 1 and the team arrives in later rounds and the best player on their board then is another quarterback, should they take said prospect because of “BPA”?

We shall find out, I guess.

Also, I say the Raiders’ BPA because their top-ranked prospect on the board and available can differ from the consensus.

*Top Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Outsiders Edge: From Darren Waller to Jimmy G, Raiders’ Josh McDaniels drops jewels at NFL Owner’s Meeting

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