The Oakland Raiders 2013 draft class has been short on instant gratification, but coach Dennis Allen believes it will serve as a foundation for future success. Of the 10 players selected by general manager Reggie McKenzie last April 25-27, only strongside linebacker Sio Moore is a sure starter, with tight end Mychal Rivera and defensive tackle Stacy McGee potential starters and significant contributors. With the Raiders taking a 4-10 record to Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday to face the San Diego Chargers and a dearth of talent because of well-documented salary cap issues, going 3 for 10 in terms of contributors in Week 16 is less than inspiring. Allen, oblivious to unconfirmed reports regarding his job security past this season, chooses to take the longer view. "Rookies generally don't make a huge impact in their first year," Allen said. "But there's a lot of things that we see in these guys that we can develop where they can be the backbone of our team moving forward. Ideally, a team coming off a 4-12 record would get significant playing time from their first- and second-round draft picks. Instead, cornerback DJ Hayden (No. 12 overall) and tackle Menelik Watson (second round, No. 42) had their seasons derailed by injury. Hayden is on injured reserve after sports hernia surgery, and instead of starting played as a nickel back because of an offseason procedure to remove scar tissue related to his near-fatal rupture of a blood vessel leading to his heart in his senior year at Houston. He played in just 12 games, with one interception. With veteran corners Tracy Porter and Mike Jenkins on one-year contracts, Hayden will be counted upon to build his strength, retain his speed and be a starter in Year 2. "Reality is reality . . . it's my start," Hayden said. "It's just a little steppingstone for me. I've got a lot of work ahead of me, and I can't wait."
Raiders expect future stars from draft picks
Sacramento Bee | Dec 20