RaiderRamble.com would like to present our first-ever Oakland Raiders seven-round NFL mock draft. While there are still some questions regarding what general manager Reggie McKenzie will do as far as acquiring Marshawn Lynch or trading for a cornerback such as Richard Sherman, here’s our attempt at addressing the many holes the Raiders still have.
First Round: Obi Melifonwu, Connecticut (Philip)
The Oakland Raiders select Obi Melifonwu, safety from the University of Connecticut. In a bold move McKenzie once again surprises us all. With Reggie Nelson turning a ripe old 34 on September 21, it’s time to find the “yin” to Karl Joseph’s “yang”. Melifonwu has premier athletic ability and is a tackling machine. His elite combination of size and speed is breathtaking. He instantly provides the Raiders with someone capable of matching up against big wide receivers, tight ends and backs. Which should free up the linebackers for more creative assignments.
Second Round: Jaleel Johnson, Iowa (Philip)
The Oakland Raiders select Jaleel Johnson, defensive tackle from the University of Iowa. A two year starter for the Hawkeyes, Johnson earned first team All-Big 10 honors for his incredible production. Leading his team with 10 tackles for a loss and seven and a half sacks in 2016. Johnson was a key factor in Iowa’s upset over then #3 ranked Michigan. Seen as more of a three-technique pass rushing defensive tackle; Johnson addresses a defensive line unit which only produced seven sacks outside of Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin.
Third Round: Taylor Moton, Western Michigan
Despite having one of the best offensive lines in the entire NFL last season, the Raiders need depth for the future. While a future left tackle is needed we still don’t know what to think of Gabe Jackson’s situation so Taylor Moton would be an excellent pick here. With a gigantic frame at 6’5″ while weighing 319 pounds, Moton could be anchor in the trenches for years to come for the Silver and Black. Also, Moton played tackle at Western Michigan so he’s flexible which could pay huge dividends under offensive line coach Mike Tice as might be moved around becoming invaluable.
Fourth Round: Eric Wilson, CincinnatiEmbed from Getty Images
The Raiders still don’t have a future at inside linebacker; at least no future star. Wilson would fit that mold as an excellent tackler and could even stand out on special teams if he ends up playing the other linebackers such as Perry Riley and Cory James. Regardless, he could be a worthwhile investment and if needed, could play on the outside if Mack is to be used on the line more.
Fifth Round: Noah Brown, Ohio St.
The Raiders might have an excellent wide receiver duo with Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper but the team can’t pass up on a 6’2″, 222 pound receiver who could become a red-zone target in Brown. Even with Seth Roberts on the team, you can never have too much talent and being prepared for any sort of disaster such as an injury is always smart. Playing behind such a deep corps will also help develop his route running and overall skills as he’s certainly a “project” but could pay off big if groomed properly and eased into the NFL game.
Sixth Round: Tanner Vallejo, Boise St. (Micah)
While Tanner played with an injured wrist most of his Senior season, his production and instinctive football skills could make him a good fit for situational linebacker duties if James Cowser or Neiron Ball don’t pan out for Oakland. Vallejo’s best statistical season came when he led Boise State with 100 tackles including 16.5 for loss, three sacks, one interception, and four pass breakups during his Sophomore campaign.
Seventh Round: Johnathan Ford, Auburn (Micah)
Ford brings the hit stick with him when he goes in for the tackle, something the Raiders are trying to instill in their secondary group. The three-year starter for the Auburn Tigers tallied over 177 tackles and nine tackles for a lose in his Junior and Senior seasons. Could also be an instant impact player on special teams for the Raiders.
Seventh Round: Bryan Cox Jr., Florida
This 6’3″ 265-pound defensive end out of Florida has a lot of potential. Though hampered with injuries his Senior season, Cox put up impressive numbers his Junior year with 45 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss, three and a half sacks and two forced fumbles. His explosiveness off the ball and a little added weight could result in him moving to defensive tackle.