With free agency in full flow, let’s take a look at my third pre-draft mock for the Raiders.
Although news broke that the Oakland Raiders have signed LB Tahir Whitehead, formerly of the Detroit Lions, the team still needs to fill a lot of holes on an already underwhelming defense.
Impending departures and signings have made little difference to a defense that needs a lot of attention this off-season. So bear that in mind with my latest mock draft.
Derwin James, S, Florida State, 6’3″ 215 lbs.
Arguably the best safety and secondary player in this year’s draft, Derwin James can line up in the slot or as a nickel, he can pretty much perform any role in the secondary if asked.
Many teams will look at James as an ideal fit to cover bigger-bodied wide receivers and possibly even tight ends due to his height and athletic ability.
Tall with long arms, James could transform the Raiders secondary with his relentless attitude alongside his athletic ability. This kid would be a major pick-up in the first round, but it’s doubtful he will make it to the Raiders who hold the 10th pick in the NFL draft.
Taven Bryan, DL, Florida, 6’4″ 291 lbs.
While focusing on holes on the defensive side of the game, another big hole to fill is on the defensive line.
It’s no secret that the Raiders need some rushing ability from the inside so step forward Taven Bryan. Likely to be available in round two onwards Bryan could be a solid pick up with a high ceiling.
Although playing on the inside is his biggest strength, many people believe he could become a major disruptor on the outside due to his size and strength combination.
The Raiders need to get nastier up front and compliment the re-signing of nose tackle Justin Ellis with some pass rushing ability on the Interior.
Dorance Armstrong, EDGE, Kansas, 6’4″ 246 lbs.
It’s been a frustrating time for Raider Nation watching Khalil Mack getting double teamed every game so it’s about time we gave him some help.
Dorance Armstrong is an ideal fit for Guenther’s predicted 4-3 scheme and has the attributes to be a successful edge rusher in the NFL. A drop off in terms of numbers last year can be put down to change of scheme and being underutilized in Kansas.
Strong with excellent athletic ability, Armstrong will need to work on technique to be successful at the next level in terms of being a consistent pass rushing threat.
Well built with long arms he can be smooth and explosive in his movements and has enough acceleration to cause problems for the opposition.
JC Jackson, CB, Maryland, 6’1″ 193 lbs.
With only two years of major college experience, JC Jackson is an exciting prospect coming out of Maryland. Likely to be a “Cover 2” or “Cover 3” guy in his first season in the NFL he is a physical corner who can handle press coverage.
Jackson boasts quality size and reasonable speed for a physical corner, could excel in bump and run coverages and offer a different skill set to other corners currently on the Raiders roster.
He’ll continue to improve with the right coaching and schematic fit, potentially a steal for whoever takes him in this years NFL draft as teams value physical corners.
Overall the Raiders will surely address accordingly the gaping needs on the defensive side of the game, while adding tools to the offense that could also use a revamp now that Gruden is in charge.
All stats via SRCFB