Grading the Raiders 2018 Draft class

It’s easy to give the Raiders a middle of the road grade for the 2018 NFL Draft. Their draft has a high amount of risk but they managed to find some good value propositions in the middle round.

The biggest takeaway from the Raiders 2018 NFL Draft is that you cannot grade it in a vacuum. You got to look at the bigger picture considering this is Jon Gruden’s first time heading the NFL Draft in a decade. He and Reggie McKenzie made some selections that were gambles and they reached for players but you can’t get caught up in each pick. Look at the draft class as a whole and you’ll be far less disappointed

Team Needs

Oakland specifically addressed the trenches. Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker were the tackles selected in the first three rounds. Not surprising, considering Vandal Alexander is starting the season suspended, Donald Penn is over 30 and been hurt the past two seasons and the RT position has been a joke the past two seasons. Oakland needed some tackle help and hopefully, they found it. The Raiders also took defensive tackle PJ Hall and edge Arden Key to infuse some disruption along the defensive line.

Miller was inconsistent in college. Key has Off-field issues. Hall and Parker are underrated prospects who will need some time adjusting to the change in speed and strength at the NFL level. However, that’s the case with most of these picks.

Sixth round pick and linebacker Azeem Victor is another high-risk player. Victor had an off1field DUI and there are also questions about his speed and size in the NFL. Then, there’s Nick Nelson who is recovering from an off-field injury. Both LB and DB were some of the Raiders biggest needs but they waited until the last part of the draft.

Oakland’s biggest draft needs are addressed to an extent. That depends on how ready these players are to contribute on Day One.


Above all else, the Raiders needed to find playmakers on both sides of the ball in this draft. On offense, that meant finding big-play threats. On defense, that meant sacks and picks.

They found a player like Maurice Hurst who can develop into an inside playmaker on the defensive line. He can get sacks. Hall and Key can too. Thus, I can give the team a pass for not selecting Harold Landry when they had a chance in the second round.

However, picks are another story. Nick Nelson is a nice prospect but he had zero picks in college. The Raiders need a defensive back who can take the ball away because we all remember how miserable it was not having a pick through more than half the season. For context, Oakland passed on CB/Safety Josh Jackson as well as safeties Josh Jackson and Justin Reid who would’ve given the Raiders some playmakers in the defensive backfield.

Moreover, they waited until the last round to select an offensive skill player. They took Hall three picks before Derrius Guice. Guice is considered a copy of Marshawn Lynch and he would have been the perfect heir to Beast Mode. The LSU product is a balanced runner and pass catcher with first-round ability who may haunt the Raiders.

Don’t forget the Raiders traded a third-round pick to get Martavis Bryant. That’s literally the pickup that saved this draft class from a playmaking standpoint.


You could argue the Raiders took Miller and Parker way too high. They were probably the most overdrafted of this class, but the tackle position was bad. It makes sense that Oakland took these picks. P.J. Hall was a little high of a selection too especially since he’s from a small school. However, there were rumors of him getting selected that high even with other good d-linemen on the board. With his film and body type, the Raiders get a pass for making the selection.

Added, the Raiders found Arden Key, Marcell Ateman and Maurice Hurst way lower than most expected. Those three picks balanced out the value proposition of this draft class. Victor and Nelson were selected at the spots they were expected so that makes the Raiders even in terms of finding value.


We were all looking at this draft to see how Gruden would build his team. It is clear he wants to start with a physical team on both lines.

Further, it is clear that Gruden’s regime doesn’t care where a player plays or what they did as long as they can play. That is evident by the off-field red flags from Key and Victor, the injury concerns of Nelson and Hurst and the small school pedigrees of Hall and Parker. Even Miller had questions about his consistency and Ateman had questions about his speed.

Ultimately, Gruden wants to take players he thinks can compete regardless of the context they come with. He also isn’t afraid of getting away from conventional thinking. Guden isn’t afraid to let draft picks compete with each other or replace a prominent player from the previous regime. We knew that already but now it is confirmed.

The Bigger Picture

Hopefully, Gruden is right and all these players compete. He doesn’t have a lot of time to wait for players to develop, deal with off-field concerns or let players get healthy. Gruden needs this rookie class to step-in and compete as well as provide depth now and into the future.

Either way, the Raiders found at least two starters in the NFL Draft. Hurst and Hall will both compete for starter roles on the interior defensive line. Parker and Miller will compete for starting roles on the offensive line. More than likely, only one rookie will start on either line.

Not to mention, Key and Ateman can compete for starting time immediately. That means the Raiders got two starters and four key depth players. They got Victor and Nelson who might compete down the line and Bryant is an added bonus.

Big picture, the Raiders had a solid draft class by balancing out some of their earliest reaches with the best player on the board towards the end of the draft.

The point is, if you look at the Raiders from a holistic approach you will find yourself much more pleased.

The Raiders get a C+ for this year’s draft but it can easily turn into a B+ if these guys start immediately.


Oakland Raiders outlook for Round Two and Round One reaction

What are the Raiders best options in day two of the NFL draft?

You can’t talk about the second round without talking about the first round.Kolton Miller was the Raiders Day One pick. It’s surprising since Miller would usually be a Day Two pick. However, this year’s tackle class is so bad that Miller going this high makes sense. He’s the consensus 2-4 ranked tackle throughout this draft process. Miller brings the athleticism to play left tackle down the line. He has the UCLA production to compete for play at RT immediately. The biggest knock on Miller is his consistency and toughness. Not to mention, his QB Josh Rosen was often hurt and the entire UCLA team under achieved.Either way, the Raiders filled a need at the top of the draft. They get a player who had the potential to improve both the running and passing offense.

Trading back

That wasn’t even the biggest surprise of Day One. Oakland trades back five spots and got a third and fifth round pick in the exchange. They sent that third round pick to the Steelers for Martavis Bryant.

Bryant is a legit deep threat. He’s an explosive option to have as your second or third receiver. Bryant is an upgrade over Seth Roberts.

However, the Raiders essentially let the Cardinals into the top ten and handed them a franchise QB for an added third round pick and fifth round pick. The Packers moved back 13 spots, got a first round pick and then flipped that 27 pick and some more draft capital to get the 18 pick. Green Bay got their guy Jaire Alexander and an added first rounder for next year. Oakland couldn’t do this? Maybe, the organization shouldn’t hint at trading back all offseason which gave away their leverage.

Round two

Either way, the Raiders still have some great players to consider in round two. Harold Landry makes sense as a dynamic pass rusher. Derrius Guice is a physical and balanced runner. Both of those players could be steals at this point.

There’s rumors that Oakland could take another offensive tackle to continue the rebuild of their line. Connor Williams, Tyrell Crosby and Will Hernandez are some of the top offensive linemen left but they’re more of guards in the NFL. Will Oakland reach for Brian O’Neil, Geron Christian or Orlando Brown who are more traditional tackles?

Defensive back makes sense for the Raiders too. Justin Reid and Ronnie Harrison make sense as versatile, athletic and productive safeties. Isaiah Oliver makes sense as an instant nickel back with a chance to compete on the outside. Josh Jackson is a hybrid safety and corner who many thought would go in the first round.

Speaking of offense, Linebacker should also come into consideration. How about Malik Jefferson or Uchenna Nwosu?

Otherwise, Ronald Jones is a super shifty back and Nick Chubb is another back to consider.

There are also some tight ends like Mike Gesicki and Mark Andrews. They’re dual threat TEs who might be gone after this round considering Hayden Hurst went in the first round.

This is a very interesting draft. The market is much different than people expected especially since Cleveland threw everyone off with Baker Mayfield at No. 1 overall.

Added, Oakland proved they’ll make an unpopular pick. Gruden clearly has a vision for this team and it isn’t yet clear. I’d assume he wants to be physical upfront and take his shots deep which has always been the Raiders forward. Therefore, I’m leaning towards a RB in round two. Guice makes too much sense as the heir to Marshawn Lynch this year and in the future. He’s a physical runner and does a ton of community work.

If he’s gone, Oakland needs a playmaker on the defensive side. They need to look for sacks or picks. Landry or Jackson makes sense for that spot since they’ve been among CFB’s elite the past season. Oliver, Jefferson and Nwosu wouldn’t upset me either though. Realistically, we can’t rule out another trade back either. Anything is possible especially if talent keeps falling. The Raiders have the assets in the fifth and six round to pair with their second to move back into the second and grab a third or fourth rounder in the process. We will see what happens tonight!

Who will the Raiders select on Day One of the NFL Draft

Who will the Raiders Draft in the 2018 NFL Draft?

I don’t think the Silver and Black even know. The dynamic between Jon Gruden and Reggie McKenzie is still too new. This is there first draft together and it will be a trial to how they work together and find prospects that fit Gruden’s scheme and culture. As we know, Gruden brings a unique culture and scheme that is different than any coach McKenzie has drafted before.

Either way, rumors and speculation is that the Raiders will trade back in the NFL Draft. They’ve both hinted towards it all offseason. There is even smoke about them trading up to get Bradley Chubb. That isn’t likely since Oakland loves their draft picks.

Still, Chubb is the guy if he is there at No. 10. The same goes for Saquan Barkley. The talent is too real to pass on no matter what. Their availability depends on if teams are really buying the QB hype.

Nonetheless, Cubb and Barkley won’t be around and it is expected that the Raiders will be considering top defensive prospects like Derwin James, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Denzel Ward, Tremaine Edmunds, Vita Vea, Marcus Davenport and Roquan Smith.

Fitzpatrick, James and Ward are all top talents but their positions are deep in this draft class. Oakland can wait til later, especially since they’ve taken corners and safeties in the past couple of drafts. The same can be said for selecting Vea or Davenport. Both are great talents but the Raiders already invest draft capitol at their positions.

Edmunds and Smith make the most sense based on need. The Raiders have needed backers for years. With Bruce Irvin converting to pass rusher, the need is even bigger. Both or neither may be there depending on how many QBs and DBs go in the top-10. Oakland may consider trading out if both Smith and Edmunds are there or gone. Harold Landry is my darkhorse due to his athleticism. He might be a little too raw to go this high though.

Nonetheless, don’t rule out an offensive player. It would be a very Raiders move to take an offensive player when all the experts think you’re going defense. Oakland put the last two first rounders on offense and they might invest this one in some help for Derek Carr and Gruden.

Donald Penn ain’t getting any younger and right tackle has been a joke. This team is built from the inside out too.

Thus, we’ve been hearing rumors about Kolton Miller or Mike McGlinchey being the No. 10 pick. Both are athletic and productive enough to play either tackle position. McGlinchey is a little tougher so he projects as a starting right tackle sooner. However, Miller has more athleticism which could make him a better LT down the line.

Taking a tackle makes sense since this team is built inside out. It’s an easy way to help Carr, boost the running and passing game. This class isn’t that deep at the position which is why they may reach a bit for a tackle like Miller or McGlinchey who might be better values a little later in the first round.

Speaking of reaches, Calvin Ridley and Derius Guice should also come into consideration at No. 10. This is especially true if the top defensive players on the Raiders boards are gone. However, neither Ridley or Guice play positions of glaring need. They don’t have the elite athleticism to really even be taken this high but they’re proven gamers who have great production for huge programs.

Ridley is a smooth receiver who can do a bit of everything. He is Amari Cooper light. Meanwhile, Guice is a physical beast who can run and catch with anger. He is a Marshawn Lynch light. That makes both Ridley and Guice great scheme and culture fits even if they aren’t the top talents overall or fill a position of need.

Added, the WR and RB classes are deep but Ridley and Guice are definitely in the top tier with a big gap ahead of their competition. It would not surprise me if Gruden wanted either of these guys. There is the slight chance they fall into the second or the Raiders can get them later.

Ultimately, the Raiders can do any number of things on Draft Day. I’d be happy if they took any of the aforementioned players. McGlinchey or Edmunds would be my pick based on need. Ridley or Guice would be my pick based on playmaking. Roquan and Davenport make sense for value. Miller and Landry have the upside to go that high. Ward, Fitz and James wouldn’t hurt the team at all.

Oakland is expected to pick around 6:40 PM PST so make sure you tune in.