With little less than a month until the 2018 NFL Draft, “Draft Season” is in full effect. Mock drafts and rumors swirl the internet as film is being analyzed and prospects are discussed by fans and NFL decision-makers alike. Undoubtedly, this is a great time of year. Without further ado, here are some random thoughts on this year’s NFL Draft.

  • Maurice Hurst has a higher ceiling but lower floor than Vita Vea. Hurst could be the next great interior pass rusher or his small stature and heart problems could get the better of him. Vea is going to be, at the least, a good run stuffer.
  • To continue with Hurst, his heart problems and average pro day workout likely make pick number 10 a touch early to take him. I like him but I can see why 10 may be a bit early. Perhaps if the Raiders trade down with a QB-hungry team like the Cardinals (pick #15) he could be a prime target.
  • If CB Denzel Ward is available at #10, the Raiders will likely select him. However, he probably won’t slip past the Buccaneers and 49ers.
  • I don’t see a scenario where all three of Ward, Minkah Fitzpatrick, or the Raider’s LB1 (Edmunds or Smith) are all gone before the 10th pick.
  • Derwin James and Minkah Fitzpatrick are both intriguing but don’t really fit a gaping need for the Silver and Black. Unless they can play slot corner, both have some experience there but fit better at safety where the Raiders already have Karl Joseph, Obi Melifonwu, Marcus Gilchrist, and Reggie Nelson.
  • Roquan Smith isn’t too small to play linebacker in the NFL but he did get pushed around by bigger linemen occasionally in college, especially by NFL Draft free-faller Orlando Brown vs Oklahoma. Smith should be an asset covering the running back out of the backfield in the NFL.
  • Edmunds is a giant, 6’4″, 253 pounds and can move.
  • I think it is very unlikely with Reggie McKenzie’s track record that the Raiders take a linebacker at ten. Although, McKenzie’s job may have changed a bit with Gruden being brought in.
  • Don’t sleep on Josh Jackson at #10. Great ball skills, big, and long. Not a ton of college experience, but I like him. Guys from Iowa seem to translate well into the NFL.
  • Marcus Davenport will be the riskiest 1st round pick this year. A freak athlete coming out of UTSA. Got bullied at times early in Senior Bowl practices. Could be a similar player to Jadeveon Clowney or could be out of the league in three years.
  • If Saquon Barkley or Quenton Nelson is available at 10 will the Raiders pick one of them? Barkley is the best RB prospect in the draft by a lot but he is still a RB and the Raiders have a crowd there. Nelson plays guard and is an animal. Could the Raiders draft him and try to slide Kelechi Osemele to RT (a position he has played in his Baltimore days)?
  • I think the Raiders will draft a WR earlier than expected this year (2nd-4th Round). James Washington, DJ Moore, and Anthony Miller could be prime targets.
  • This RB class is loaded, both in the early and late rounds. Akrum Wadley, John Kelly, Kalen Ballage, and Josh Adams are some notable late round guys who can play.
  • Shaquem Griffin seems like a Jon Gruden guy. Plays hard and fast, worker, and has battled adversity perpetually. Griffin is going to find a role on an NFL team.
  • Holton Hill, Tavarrus McFadden, Quenton Meeks, DJ Reed, and Greg Stroman are some mid to late round CBs that could interest the Raiders.
  • I don’t know what to think about Orlando Brown. First-round film but a terrible workout season where his competitiveness and effort has been challenged and questioned.
  • Bradley Chubb isn’t going to be available at 10 but it is nice to daydream about.
  • Taven Bryan, Da’Shawn Hand, Poona Ford, and Deadrin Senat are some mid to late round interior defensive line guys that could interest the Raiders.
  • Allen, Darnold, Mayfield, and Rosen are all going top 6. No particular order but I think the Browns will favor Allen or Darnold. Mayfield to the Jets or Broncos also seems pretty reasonable.
  • Lamar Jackson could sneak into the Top 10. Maybe the Raiders can trade down with a team trying to take him. The Cardinals could be interested and coach Sean Payton of the Saints has said some nice things about him.

Comment what YOU think the Raiders should do below!

 

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Gabriel D. Martin
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Gabriel D. Martin

I’d like to see them take Vita Vea first. If not available, Roquan Smith. If not available, Josh Jackson. I’m making a few assumptions about who will already be off the board. One LB whom I like a heck of a lot, though probably not a #10 pick, is Malik Jefferson out of U.T. The DT out of AL. would be a good selection. How both Conley and Melifonwu perform this year is the big and important unknown. Joseph and Irvin being schemed correctly this year will make a positive difference. I wish we coulda woulda shoulda kept Denico.

Raider in NY
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Raider in NY

Derwin James (there’s no starter worthy SS on the team), if he’s not there then Edmunds/Smith, or Alexander out of Louisville. I would love to solidify the DL but not with Vea and like you said Hurst may be a reach at 10. I do like Vea but not in a 4-3 base, I feel that he’s a true NT.

Gabriel D. Martin
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Gabriel D. Martin

Good point, NY Raider, about Vea being more of a true NT, in a 4/3 set. I hadn’t considered that.

Danon
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Danon

I’m a Michigan fan and I’ve watched every Hurst play. He was the focal point of a defense that ranked in the top 3 every year. He made it easy on Michigan’s young DBs by keeping pressure on QBs every play. He’s the help that Mack needs and our DBs need. That is my vote. My second vote is Smith the division has RBs who need to be covered out the backfield and that’s a weakness we have. SN: I don’t want Ward, one Ohio State DB is all I can stomach. Lol

Raider in NY
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Raider in NY

@Danon I call Ward DJ Hayden 2.0, they have a very similar playing style. He’s quick and a hard hitter but can’t turn his head to save his life

Gabriel D. Martin
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Gabriel D. Martin

Roquan Smith and Nick Morrow would be a potential LB, backfield cover combo.