This entire offseason has been one long theoretical debate about what the Raiders can and will do in the 2018 NFL draft.
Personally, I have been all over the place, but I have not formally said exactly what I think will happen in a little less than a few days. What has occurred this offseason is a clear sign there will be changes regarding the vision of this team. With a change in vision, there will also come a change in relative value for the draft.
It is my theory that the Raiders intend to run a base defense that will be built around five defensive backs. In order for this to work, Marcus Gilchrist will have to play in the slot and he has the skill set to do it. The issue that arises then is in regards to what the Raiders are paying both Melvin and Gilchrist. With their salaries, there is no way the team will be leaving them on the bench. There is also no way the Raiders want their first-round pick not contributing right away.
It does not matter if it is an edge, cornerback, safety, slot back, or defensive tackle, the Raider defense has someone sensible to start at every position which means if the first round pick is on defense he is likely not an every-down player. Unless it is a linebacker, but then again the Raiders could create cap space and sign NaVorro Bowman tomorrow if they chose to, and I believe they will do exactly that after the draft.
With those ideas in mind, here is how I think the first round will play out for the Raiders and the NFL.
- Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB, USC- Based on the reports out there, this seems the route the Browns are going
- New York Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB, PSU- Reportedly the Giants gave him a perfect grade
- New York Jets: Baker Mayfield, QB, OU- Say what you will about Mel Kiper, he called Baker Mayfield “Broadway” on TV months ago
- Cleveland Browns: Bradley Chubb, Edge, NCSU- Him and Garrett? Nice.
- TRADE- Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen, QB, WY-Bills trade both 1s to get someone similar to Cam whom this head coach watched in Carolina
- Indianapolis Colts: Roquan Smith, LB, UG- The “Roquan is Ray Lewis” chatter is hot. Lots of draftniks have talked about him top 6
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Derwin James, S, FSU- A Bucs beat writer took him in their big mock
- Chicago Bears: Quenton Nelson, OG, ND- The Bears offensive line coach is from Notre Dame’s staff.
- TRADE- New England Patriots: Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA- Reports are that Bill loves him and they need an heir apparent. Also, Rosen is the guy draftniks think will fall. They give up both 1’s.
- TRADE- Arizona Cardinals: Lamar Jackson, QB, UL- Recent report says he will go top 20, and Cardinals need to jump ahead of the Dolphins. Raiders get 15, a 2, and a 3.
- TRADE: San Francisco 49ers: Tremaine Edmunds, LB, VT- Edmunds is ideal for this scheme, Niners get their man after trading back up. Both of New England’s 1s are the Dolphins.
- TRADED- Denver Broncos: Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Bama- Versatile DB who can likely start at safety.
- Washington Redskins: Denzel Ward, CB, OSU- Could start at corner day one, at minimum gives the team a quality nickel package.
- Green Bay Packers: Harold Landry, Edge, BC- Packers desperately need edge help.
- TRADED- Oakland Raiders: Mike McGlinchey, OT, ND- Raiders solidify the right tackle spot for next year and if Penn isn’t the same this year he can be cut and replaced at left tackle with Sharpe developing into the right tackle long-term.
- Baltimore Ravens: Dallas Goedert, TE, NDSU- The Ravens need a target up the hashes and this is the best tight end.
- Los Angeles Chargers: Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA- They have been working on the offensive line for a couple of years now.
- TRADE- Carolina Panthers: Calvin Ridley, WR, Bama- The versatile and dynamic route runner that Cam needs.
- Dallas Cowboys: Courtland Sutton, WR, SM- Got an X to replace an X.
- Detroit Lions: Vita Vea, NT, UW- Patricia always liked having a brutish nose tackle to two gap inside for in with New England.
- Cincinnati Bengals: James Daniels, C, Iowa- Because, duh that’s why.
- TRADED- Denver Broncos: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Bama- Peko is getting older, this is a natural guy to come in and learn.
- TRADED- Miami Dolphins: Marcus Davenport, Edge, UTSA- Wake is getting older and the need to develop youth and depth.
- TRADED- Seattle Seahawks: Maurice Hurst, DT, UM- The perfect three-technique for a system that thrived with inside pressure.
- Tennessee Titans: Leighton Vander Esch, ILB, BSU- Probably the weakest part of the Titans defense.
- TRADE-Pittsburgh Steelers: Rashaan Evans, ILB, Bama- Thoughts and prayers with Ryan Shazier, but they do need talent to replace talent.
- New Orleans Saints: Taven Bryan, DL, UF- The Saints love versatile defensive lineman.
- TRADED- Atlanta Falcons: Billy Price, OG, OSU- Can start at guard right away.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Christian Kirk, WR, TAMU- Yes they invested in Moncrief, but they need long-term development at receiver.
- Minnesota Vikings: Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP- They just paid a quarterback a fully guaranteed deal. Let’s protect him.
- TRADED- Miami Dolphins: Jaire Alexander, CB, UL-Dolphins also need to get versatile and younger at cornerback
- TRADE- Oakland Raiders: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU- Gruden can give Guice time to learn NFL blocking responsibilities behind Lynch, then take over as the bell cow next year. Very similar style. Raiders trade both additional picks from the earlier trade. Eagles reportedly want out and now the Raiders have a back with a fifth-year option.
In an article short to follow this one, I will break down who the Raiders pick with the remaining picks they have. Stay on a look out for it.
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