It’s time for the second installment of the latest Raider Ramble mock draft! The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NFL has since passed. With that, we now know who is going to be available to choose come late April in AT&T Stadium.
Head coach Jon Gruden is prepared to put his stamp on the next edition of the Oakland Raiders with a “home run” draft as he builds his team. Expect a boatload of attention to be on the Silver & Black with a highly anticipated, must follow off-season for the entire assortment of Raider Nation.
Round 1 (9 or 10) – Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
Pros: Defensive back from Alabama Minkah Fitzpatrick is versatile in the secondary and has a nose for the football. Fitzpatrick has blazing speed as he claims he has run the forty yard dash in 4.39 seconds per NFL.com. His speed helps him to cover large portions of the field and allows him to work as a blitzer, open-field tackler, and cover man. Fitzpatrick claimed the Thorpe and Bednarik trophies as arguably the best defensive stall-worth in the country. He can be an outright leader of a defense because he has all the skills to do so. Every time I watched an Alabama performance it seemed like the notorious ball hawk was around the rock in one way or another.
Cons: His tackling can be sloppy at times and must be improved as he makes the leap to the pros. Fitzpatrick has also shown a tendency to take risky angles on the opposition that leads to more yardage for offenses. The last thing any NFL team wants is another Marcus Williams blunder.
Raiders Fit: The National Championship winning defender would be a steal if he somehow falls this far. He could help the secondary immediately because of his vast experience with the Crimson Tide. Fitzpatrick has more than enough capabilities to develop into the takeaway “rover” the Raiders missed in 2017.
Round 2 (41) – Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
Pros: At 6’5”, Tremaine Edmunds of Virginia Tech has tremendous size for the linebacker position. He can play on the outside or inside role. He tallied his second consecutive 100+ tackle campaign. The ex-Hokie is a consignment riser on every draft page and could conceivably end up being a first-night selection. Edmunds is a thumper who excels with deceptive in-game speed and can create havoc. Coaches should be salivating over the prospects that this underclassman can bring to their teams respectively.
Cons: The stout backer may have to take time to truly exceed for his lofty upside, however, he could turn out to be a steal, provided he pans out.
Raiders Fit: Edmunds looks the part and is the kind of middle of the field leader the Raiders have been searching for. If he remains available in the second round, then the Silver & Black must pounce on the exceptional talent of Tremaine Edmunds.
Round 3 (75) – Kerryon Johnson, RB, Auburn
Pros: Kerryon Johnson of Auburn is coming off sensational performances against Georgia and Alabama, two teams who boast strong front sevens. Johnson ran for collegiate career-highs with 1,391 rushing yards and scored 18 touchdowns. In doing so, Johnson was touted as the SEC Offensive Player of the Year, All-SEC First Team, led the nation’s most prolific conference in rushing. Johnson helped his draft stock by catching more passes in each consecutive season while being in a Tigers uniform. CBS announcer Gary Danielson even made this comparison during the Auburn/Georgia battle.
— Skye Underwood (@SkyeUnderwood) November 12, 2017
Cons: Johnson must learn to further develop more as a pass protector in the NFL, especially if it means keeping Derek Carr upright and healthy. Johnson was injured in the Iron Bowl and only ran for 44 yards in the SEC Title Game in a rematch against Georgia (167 in the first meeting at Auburn).
Raiders Fit: Johnson has the power to be a rookie of the year candidate in the correct system. He’s the type of running back that is trending amongst many NFL teams and is exactly what Oakland should covet as Lynch is aging and Richard and Washington have not shown signs of being a feature back. Running backs that have played in the playoffs this season are currently proving the league is not just built with a solid passing attack but a solid run game as well and Johnson’s looking to head straight up that alley.
Round 4 (106) – Breeland Speaks, DL, Mississippi
Pros: Breeland Speaks of Mississippi is sort of a tweener at 285 pounds. He played as an inside tackle and predominantly as an end on the defensive line of the ball. Speaks notched seven sacks and eight QB hurries in last season’s debacle for Ole Miss. The Rebel is durable tallying 19 starts while participating in every contest during his time in Oxford. Speaks is also considered to be a sleeper, according to Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller.
Cons: Speaks got ejected from the Egg Bowl for two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties so his emotion can get the better of him and impact his availability on the field. In March 2016 the lineman got arrested for a DUI, which proves the young man has made extremely poor decisions. Drafting a player of his caliber will mean that the team must instill a sense of responsibility as he will be making millions of dollars and have the media spotlight always on. Due to these problems, Speaks will likely be bombarded with questions about his previous actions from a myriad of NFL front offices. At the combine and in pre-draft workouts Speaks must not only excel on the field but it is imperative for him to impress during the interview process or he could face being a late-round draft pick.
Raiders Fit: General manager Reggie McKenzie definitely gets intrigued by these types of guys. The fact that he has versatility on the line will help him, just like Denico Autry. This Ole Miss Rebel will be one to watch leading up to the draft by many NFL teams, especially a Raiders team that has to establish more talent up front.
The Raiders have got to get players who create turnovers, and are all over the place on defense. Offensively, if they can snag a runner, receiver, or a blocker it can only help Derek Carr’s growth under Jon Gruden. With all that being said, Ramble On Raider Nation!