All bets are off this year for the Raiders draft. No one can really accurately predict what will happen since this is Mike Mayock’s first draft with skin in the game. Not to mention, the Silver and Black and Jon Gruden are always a wildcard.
Here’s what I’m expecting from the Raiders draft.
Everyone is talking about Oakland’s four picks in the top-35. That’s fine but the team doesn’t have a third or sixth round pick thanks to the Antonio Brown trade. I don’t expect Gruden or Mayock to stay pat with idle thumbs.
That means a player like Justin Ellis, Eddie Vanderdoes, Karl Joseph or another holdover might here their name called in a trade for some mid-round draft compensation. This team is fully in on out with the old and in with the new so I don’t expect the draft to be any different.
Moreover, they could also trade up or trade back. Either of those scenarios are realistic because the Raiders have so much capital and so many needs. Still, I’d side on adding more picks since this team is desperate for help at the starting and depth positions.
An elite defensive player
I don’t care if it is fourth or twenty-four, the Raiders got to get them a player to build their defense around. Devin White, Quinnen Williams, Nick Bosa or Josh Allen would all be vast upgrades early. However, a top-end talent like Montez Sweat, Rashan Gary, Devin Bush, Clelin Ferrell, Ed Oliver or Christian Wilkins all could be top-10 talents too. They have more questions than the first group but they would definitely be steals if the Raiders wait to select one in the twenties or trade into the teens. Even at the top of the second, they might find an impact player like Nasir Adderly, Rock Ya-Sin or any number of DBs who can make an instant impact.
Playmakers across the board
Speaking of playmakers, I said this last year and we walked away with a bunch of hoggies. That’s cool and all but this year the Raiders need playmakers on every level of their defense. They could also afford to add some explosive help around Derek Carr. Regardless of position, the Raiders need to take some productive players with high-upside who can develop into big-time playmakers. It really doesn’t matter the position.
Still, I like Noah Fant or any of the tight ends early. I wouldn’t rule out a RB like Josh Jacobs or Miles Sanders. X-Factors like A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf, Hollywood Brown and others might be too good to pass up.
No, I don’t expect Haskins or Murray to the Raiders. I know that hype continues building but please don’t put ass through another young-QB development phase. Still, I think the Raiders take a QB. Their backups don’t exactly jump out of any page except draft busts. I could easily see the old-school Mayock and Gruden taking some sort of QB in the draft. Tyree Jackson could be a steal late or how about Will Grier in the middle rounds? Their nowhere polished but they could develop into something if you believe in Gruden’s genius.
We will find out what a Raider is…
Above all else, I believe we’ll find out what Raider in 2019 looks like. Mayock had that quote early in the offseason talking about how he and Gruden were working together to see what culture they want to build and what players fit that.
After tonight, we’ll have a much better idea what that means in for the Silver and Black. So far, we’ve seen them sign overrated Trent Brown, wild-ass A.B., Vontaze Burfict and a bunch of other experienced veterans like Crowell. There really isn’t a lower common denominator in that equation. However, we’ll have a better idea what that looks like after tonight.
Overall, it will be interesting to see how the Raiders attack the defensive line, offensive line and secondary in this draft. Is the team still high on Gareon Conley and Joseph or is it time to ship them out and/or find their replacement?
Oakland addressed the offensive line in free agency but they still need depth and maybe a guard… Oh yea, don’t forget all that draft capital they put into the offensive and defensive line the past few seasons. Does Mayock and Gruden still value those guys like Arden Key, PJ Hall or Kolton Miller? I expect one if not all may compete for playing time (not just starting time) this year.
Moreover, how do politics factor into this draft? Will Oakland accept Nick Bosa if that’s the pick?
Tune in to the Draft all this weekend. It should be a hell of a ride. Hopefully the Raiders don’t burn a third round pick for a receiver with question marks or give anyone a franchise QB for basically nothing, cough 2018 draft.
Check out my full seven-round Mock Draft too.