The NFL draft is nearly upon us and the optimism surrounding this years draft is high after massive changes to the Oakland Raiders roster and staff.
There is plenty of holes to fill but expect the Raiders to move around in the draft, filling them adequately and with efficiency come draft day. Here are my selections for the Raiders for the first four rounds of this years NFL draft.
Round One, Pick 10
One of the lesser talked about players who should garner more attention come draft day, Harold Landry boasts the ideal mix of tenacity and strength desired by NFL scouts and has all the attributes to come in day one for any team. Although deemed small for a DE, his arm length more than makes up for it. Flying under the radar can be a blessing in disguise for some prospects.
Fluid and fast movement and solid footwork mean he’s quick from the get-go and uses his athletic ability to make plays happen to cause chaos for offensive lines.
Injuries plagued Landry in 2017 but he will have no worries evolving his game into the NFL especially if he recaptures his 2016 form then the Raiders could be looking at a potential Pro Bowl caliber player.
Round Two, Pick 41
Taven Bryan, DL, Florida
If the Raiders are looking for a pass rushing three-tech DT then Taven Bryan is an ideal fit. A strong, powerful player with a decent athletic ability to rush the passer.
The potential is frightening if the Raiders can fully cultivate his disruptive ability he could be one of the stars to come from this years draft class.
Likely to go in round one, but if he falls to the second round expect to see many suitors for a dominant interior lineman. Bryan has the potential to be a formidable force for years to come and could be a key piece in Guenther’s defense creating gaps for Khalil Mack and company.
Round Three, Pick 75
Another position that still needs attention is at corner. Although the Raiders made several offseason acquisitions there’s still no certainty that Gareon Conley will be fit for duty when the new season starts.
Stewart is a versatile corner who can play both inside and outside. He boasts good speed and plays with good toughness but not likely to match up well with speed demons.
A strong tackler and wraps up on point of initial contact with receivers, good early acceleration to recover on plays and is efficient with handwork defending passes. Fits the mold that Jon Gruden likes and could be a good addition to a team seeking help at corner.
Round Four, Pick 110
John Kelly, RB, Tennessee
With the first three rounds shoring up the defense, round four is an offensive pick in the shape of former Tennessee RB John Kelly.
Kelly more than makes up for his short height with toughness and desire on every play. He plays through contact extremely well using his low center of gravity to full effect.
Has potential to be even more of a threat as a pass catcher in Gruden’s offense giving Derek Carr even more ammunition out of the backfield.
Although Kelly doesn’t have elite speed, his vision and toughness make him an intriguing proposition for the Raiders as well as his efficiency as a blocker. There’s a lot to like about this years draft class and getting Kelly in round four could prove a solid pick.