The Raider Ramble takes a look at a potential “dream scenario” for the Raiders in which two huge holes are addressed
Picture this… it’s draft day, you’ve got your Derek Carr jersey on, chips and salsa perfectly placed on your coffee table and a cold beer in hand (mine will be in a Raider koozie). The 49ers just picked ninth, yes, the Raiders lost the coin flip and will pick in the tenth spot… and just like that, the team’s on the clock.
Analysts are weighing in with talks of the Raider’s depleted defense, inconsistency on offense and inability to take the ball away in 2017.
…The clock is ticking down…
“With the tenth pick in the NFL Draft, The Oakland Raiders select, Roquan Smith, Georgia.” Say it with me now… The Oakland Raiders select, Roquan Smith.
Round 1: Roquan Smith
This is just what this defense needs if it plans on winning the AFC West and beyond. The L.A. Chargers, who the Raiders see twice a year, are notorious for picking apart the Oakland defense with quick crossing routes, pick plays and tight-end dominance.
Kansas City is another AFC West opponent that has given the Raiders problems both with the run game and at the tight end position with “Raider Killer” Travis Kelce. If plans include a trip to the AFC Championship game, these are two areas Oakland must improve.
There is no place to look in Round 1 other than the SEC star who ranked Top 10 in every major defensive category in 2017. First and foremost, drafting an inside linebacker is where the Raiders get the most bang for their buck. Assuming Bruce Irvin (who will take up $8.25 in cap space) continues his career with the Silver and Black and Khalil Mack has another dominating season, the edges will be sealed and these two will have clear responsibilities – get to the quarterback. No need to draft another edge-rusher.
Adding Smith who had 85 solo tackles in 2017 (the most in the SEC) will give the Raiders off the ball speed and a more reliable run defense. At 6’1″ and 225 pounds, Smith will need to add a little size to his frame but will be a great compliment to the hard-hitting vet, Navarro Bowman (provided Bowman doesn’t leave in free-agency). Smith would be coming into the best possible scheme which the Raiders inherited from Mike Zimmer’s former Bengals squad, the “split mug front“.
While Oakland did not get Zimmerman, they got the next best thing in Paul Guenther, the Bengals defensive coordinator. Guenther will likely bring this defense to Oakland giving them high pressure/blitz packages which line up the inside linebackers in the A-gaps. From there, the defense can call all kinds of coverages behind it. A dream for the speedy Smith and defensive captain Bowman.
Round 2: Tarvarus McFadden
An inside linebacker will not solve all the holes the Raiders have on defense. Not even close. I trust that Reggie McKenzie and Jon GrudenÂ will acknowledge the need of another cornerback to limit the big chunk plays that killed the Raiders throughout the 2017 season.
With T.J. Carrie entering free agency, David Amerson offering a 156.3 QB rating while being targeted and an aging Sean Smith slowing down, the Raiders will look to compliment the 2017 first round pick, Gareon Conley, with a big body guy on the edge. Florida State Seminoles’ CB Tarvarus McFadden is the pick here.
McFadden brings size to the CB spot at 6’2″Â and 198 pounds which offers promise against larger receivers like Demaryius Thomas in Denver and Keenan Allen in L.A. If he’s going to up his game, McFadden will need to be more physical at the line of scrimmage and master the art of tight end coverage, a huge problem in Oakland.Â Giving up 90 receptions and over 1,000 yards to tight ends in 2017 was more than frustrating. Having a big body in the CB position will assist in those plays when we see tight ends lined up in man coverage on the outside. You know, the ones that make you jump up and down, pointing to the tight end in man coverage at the top of your screen? Ya, those plays.
Although he did not have a takeaway last season compared to his eight the year before, McFadden offered 10 deflected passes and 53 solo tackles. Get this kid to camp and let him work. He offers the highest ceiling of any corner in this year’s draft.
7 thoughts on “Dream Scenario For Raiders at 2018 Draft”
Rather take Tremaine Edmunds instead of Smith, Smith is too small to compete with bigger WR’s and TE’s. Edmunds has the size,speed, and a nose for the ball, he will be a steal in the draft.
I disagree with this article. Roquon would be an ideal fit for Paulie G’s scheme which requires linebackers to move all over the field, disguising blitzes and different coverages. Roquon has the speed and agility to be a superstar in Paul’s defense. BUT, the most valuable player in this year’s draft is a guy who demands AT LEAST a double team and a lot of the time a triple team, on every play. Meanwhile he still collapses the pocket and swallows RB’s on handoffs. With 2 guys on his back he collapses the pocket and ruins offensive game plans. It’s the Pac 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Vita Vea. The 340 pound DT is a dominant force and adding him to your roster free’s up your DE’s and LB’s to single blockers. Which anytime you have one guy blocking Kahlil Mack, it’s a WIN for the Raiders. All you have to do is watch one Washington Huskies game. Any game, just pick one and watch Vita Vea wreak havoc in the back field on every play. If Vita is blocked by one offensive lineman, he throws him to the side like a piece trash being thrown into the garbage. NFL scouts are not stupid. Vita will not be a secret and he will be taken in the top 15 or top 10. Some lucky team will have a new dominant defense. Roquon would be my 2nd choice. Josh Jackson would be my 3rd. Even though Saquan Barkley is one of the best prospects I’ve ever seen in my life, this running back class is stellar. We could pick up a superstar like Ronald Jone Il or Sonny Michal in the 2nd round. I thought Aaron Donald was the most valuable prospect in his draft class out of Pittsburg. He won every collegiate award possible that year. I feel the way about Vita Vea the same way I felt about Donald coming out of college. Two completely different players but the same kind of impact they bring to a defense.
You are correct regarding opposing tight ends killing us and solution is dead spot on. Thanks for confirming what I see in “top right corner of screen”.
You mentioned kelce/gronkowski covered by lb. Totally wrong. If you look back at buffalo and the most recent game, cb covered those te’s hence tra’davious white, jalen Ramsey. Roquan is too small for me Tremaine Edmunds played behind the LOS much tougher at the POA. Cb position isn’t as defined as to who is the top dog. Last draft it was clearly Lattimore, this yr is it Ward or Jackson? 1 cvrs and 1 playmakes. They also need an every down back. Kerryon Johnson looks like Le’von Bell.
I disagree about Vita Vea. People said the exact same thing about Danny Shelton. Similar player, similar build and he’s made a marginal impact in the NFL. If were going after DL I think Maurice Hurst is the player to get.
If the Giants cut Eli Apple, take a swing at him too. Young, great talent and his teammate and opposite corner is already in Oakland.
McKenzie doesn’t value the ILB position. I promise you, he’ll be drafting a CB in RD 1.