With the Super Bowl now in the rearview mirror, the end of the football season is official but the beginning of NFL draft season, especially mock season, is in full swing.
Obviously, the NFL draft is impossible to predict, even more so since free agency has yet to begin. It is, however, fun to talk and think about. So without further ado, let’s get to our three-round mock draft with a bonus of some potential late round steals at the end.
1st Round: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
It is no secret that the Raiders need and have needed help in the secondary. Jackson is big (6’1″), athletic, and possess fantastic ball skills. This year alone Jackson nabbed eight interceptions with 18 pass deflections, according to ESPN. He has the skill set to be able to play both man and zone defense.
Also, he is an Iowa guy, which has recently had a great deal of success turning college players into pro ones. The early draft entree’s film against Ohio State is one the best tapes out there. Personally, I’m a big fan of Jackson and think he is going to make a great pro corner. Also with general manager Reggie McKenzie’s track record, I doubt the Raiders select a linebacker in the first round.
2nd Round: James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State
For some reason, James Washington seems to be one of the most overlooked wide receivers in the 2018 draft class, along with DJ Moore of Maryland.
Washington has the college production, body control, size (about 6’0″), speed, route running ability, and hands of an upper tier NFL wideout. Washington, however, doesn’t look like a normal WR. His body type lends itself more to the look of a running back than a wide receiver. This isn’t aided by the fact that he wore number 28 in college. Nonetheless, Washington can play at the next level and hopefully he gets the chance to prove it in Silver and Black.
3rd Round: Lorenzo Carter, OLB, Georgia
Carter isn’t the Georgia LB that many in Raider Nation are hoping Oakland selects but he should be. Carter is long, standing at 6’6″. He is versatile enough to play on and off the line of scrimmage depending on the situation. He also could be the third edge rusher the Raiders have desired, that void has hardly been filled with Shilique Calhoun and James Cowser.
Again, I believe McKenzie will be hesitant to address the inside linebacker position early in the 2018 draft, especially if Bowman returns. Whoever slides in the middle of the defense, Carter could be a fantastic OLB to add to Raiders’ hopefully rebuilt defense.
Possible Late Round Steals
- LB Micah Kiser– Kiser is a big, punishing linebacker out of Virginia. His side-to-side range is respectable but he needs to show he can be reliable in coverage at the next level. The Combine could be critical for his draft stock.
- OLB Shaquem Griffin– Everyone has heard about the one-handed marvel out of UCF. Griffin is as good as advertised on the film. With his film and athleticism, Griffin would probably be a high Day Two pick if he had both hands. The big concern is if he will be able to get off blocks at the next level. I love the way he plays and think he is worth a late 5th or early 6th Round pick.
- CB Holton Hill– Hill is a big corner out of Texas who has a ton of red flags. Hill’s career in Austin was derailed by injury and a suspension. Before the suspension, Hill was working himself into the early rounds of the draft. If Hill can stay healthy and out of trouble, some team could end up with an absolute gem in the later rounds.
- DT Deadrin Senat– Senat is big and active. I believe he has been overlooked. Personally, I prefer his film to Eddie Vanderdoes’. Senat recorded 6 sacks this year in the middle of the South Florida defense. He could potentially replace Justin Ellis for the Silver and Black.
- FB Dimitri Flowers– Flowers is more of a TE/FB hybrid than a traditional TE. We also know how much Jon Gruden loves his fullbacks. This could be a match made in heaven. Flowers has excellent hands, route running ability, and speed for a fullback. Jamize Olawale is already a good fullback but the Raiders could snag Flowers in Round 7.
- RB Kalen Ballage– Ballage is a thick running back with surprisingly good pass catching ability. He is best as a one-cut runner. He has solid vision, which is critical for one-cut guys. I don’t believe he has top-tier speed but he sure can be a load to tackle. Ballage could be a good selection in the 4th or 5th Round.