The Oakland Raiders have a brand new quarterback after acquiring Matt Flynn in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks, effectively taking them out of the running for Geno Smith in the draft and allowing them to focus on other needs, including cornerback, tight end and wide receiver.
The team has looked at a number of free agent options like Nmamdi Asomugha (UPDATE signed with the 49ers), while the team signed Mike Jenkins and Tracy Porter to deals. The team may focus on the cornerback position in the upcoming draft, most notably with Alabama's Dee Milliner, who is expected to go in the top five.
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According to ESPN.com, the Raiders could use their number three overall pick for Milliner, as the team no longer needs to select a quarterback like Geno Smith after acquiring Flynn from the Seahawks for draft picks in 2014 and 2015. The move was solid for Reggie McKenzie as general manager, as he improved the team with Flynn without losing any picks in the 2013 draft, as the Raiders have just three in the first five rounds and desperately need to add more talent to the roster.
McKenzie made the move for Flynn because he feels he can be a legitimate starter in the league despite not being able to beat out Russell Wilson for the starting job in Seattle after signing a three-year contract before last season. McKenzie scouted him while he was with the Packers and head coach Dennis Allen compared him to Aaron Rodgers and Matt Schaub, two quarterbacks that started by sitting behind someone before taking the main job.
"I think for Matt Flynn, a guy that's had an opportunity now to be in the league for five years as a backup quarterback, to learn, to grow, to develop, I would say he's not unlike some other guys that you've seen go through the same type of process," Allen said.
The Raiders have effectively moved on from Carson Palmer and now are focusing on the draft and other free agent signings after bringing in names like Nick Roach and Kevin Burnett on the defense. One player they will not sign at cornerback is DeAngelo Hall, who previously was with the team for one season before joining the Redskins.
According to ESPN.com, Hall is off the market again after being released earlier, re-signing with the Redskins on a one-year deal to keep the cornerback in Washington. The team cut him since his contract was large and he was set to make $7.5 million, but now his salary will be more manageable for the team with the salary cap.
The Raiders may now target Dee Milliner as their top pick, although they could lose him to the Chiefs or Jaguars. The rumors before the draft have the Chiefs selecting a lineman in Eric Fisher or Luke Joeckel, while the Jaguars are interested in Geno Smith and Shariff Floyd. The raiders are hoping those are the picks so they can grab the top defensive back in the draft, but they also could trade up if they feel he is worth it.
The team desperately needs bodies and athletic players at cornerback and Milliner could play right away on Oakland, even if he needs to work out getting used to NFL speed and receivers. The Raiders could also go lineman at the pick depending on who is left after the Chiefs and Jags make their selections.