Let the conjecture and speculation begin! The season for predictions is amongst us as a myriad of mock drafts will be available for consumption.
What will the Oakland Raiders do with Jon Gruden back in the fold as head coach? You’re guess is as good as mine.
General manager Reggie McKenzie and his crew will be toiling away compiling their revered board and, come draft day, we’ll see how much pull Gruden has on personnel. Add in the intriguing hire of Dave Razzano as director of football research, a scout whose reports differ from the populous and you’ve got the makings for an interesting process.
Let’s truly mock this draft, shall we?
Round 1: 9th/10th overall
Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
Jon Gruden slyly asks new defensive backs coach Derrick Ansley who his favorite actor is and the new defensive backs coach answers: “Denzel”. Thus, Ward.
Wanting to set up his new DB boss up for success, Gruden gives Ansley two familiar faces at outside corner in former Buckeyes Ward and last year’s first-round pick Gareon Conley.
Gruden on the pick: “We got someone to Ward off receivers, man. I really think we Bucked the trend on this one, and I really mean that.”
Side note: It’s heavily speculated the Raiders were frantically trying to trade up, but unable to do so. Their target? Penn State running back Saquon Barkley.
Round 2: 41st overall
Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Jackson’s athleticism and speed leave Gruden speechless. He knows he can refine the signal caller’s passing mechanics. Gruden can’t help but have visions of an uber-athletic Rich Gannon. In his mind, Carr likens to Gannon and Jackson to Marques Tuiasosopo.
After looking at backups Connor Cook and EJ Manuel, Gruden emphatically decides having an adequate insurance policy for the Raiders’ $125 million man, Derek Carr, doesn’t hurt and is a sound investment.
Gruden: “If you can’t play Jackson at QB, there’s always wide receiver, man. That’s two birds with one stone. And did you know Lamar was a Cardinal, man?”
Round 3: 75th overall
Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
Seething from not landing a trade to scoop up Barkley and watching Sony Michel plucked in the second round, Gruden is barking up a storm in the draft room. To ease his coach’s suffering, McKenzie isn’t letting another Bulldog slip through the Raiders fingers and nabs Chubb. Gruden sees Chubb as a workhorse back who has speed and power. Oakland’s boss knows he has to refine Chubb’s pass-catching ability.
Gruden: “I’ll be perfectly honest, even with Marshawn, the Raiders running backs were flying at half-mast last season, man. That’s going to change with Chubb. We’ll be raging in that tailback room, man.”
Round 4: 106th overall
Alex Cappa, OT, Humboldt State
Unable to ignore the flowing locks and the Lumberjacks mascot, the Raiders nab the offensive lineman from the North Coast. With Donald Penn long in the tooth and worried other teams will pounce, Oakland nabs a tackle with Kelechi Osemele-like meanness. Cappa would be a much bigger and sinister Owen Hart to the Raiders’ Nation of Domination offensive line.
Gruden: “The kid looks like the Undertaker. He’ll chokeslam and tombstone you, man. How can you not love that? To be perfectly frank, this pick is a feather in our Cappa.”