ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The Oakland Raiders decided to keep it in the family when it came time to make their first selection in the NFL draft.
Wisniewski is the nephew of Steve Wisniewski, a former eight-time Pro Bowl guard with the Raiders who joined first-year coach Hue Jackson's staff as an assistant in January. His father also played three years in the NFL as a defensive lineman.
Like his uncle did as a rookie in 1989, the younger Wisniewski is being penciled in as a starter. Only this Wisniewski will do it at center, a position he played for one season with the Nittany Lions.
"I would have been excited to go wherever, but you can't help but be a little bit more excited, you know, being a Raider and being able to play for my uncle," Wisniewski said Friday. "My dad, obviously, knows I'm in good hands playing for Steve. We grew up Raider fans, grew up cheering for Steve. It just feels right."
The 6-foot-3, 306-pound Wisniewski was the 48th player selected overall after a stellar career at Penn State. He started 38 of 39 games over the past three seasons and earned first team All-America honors in 2010.
Jackson, who was promoted from offensive coordinator when Tom Cable was fired following the end of last season, said the Raiders were well aware of Wisniewski's bloodlines but said the pick was made out of need more than anything else.
"By no means was this pick made because of Steve and by no means is (Stefen) here because of a relationship," Jackson said. "He's here because he can help the Oakland Raiders win football games. And that's why he's going to play center for us."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press