The 2018 Oakland Raiders draft could go down as one of the most historic and polarizing events in the illustrious history of the Silver and Black.
From offensive lineman Kolton Miller to wide receiver Marcell Ateman, let’s break down the entire haul of choices made by Reggie McKenzie and Jon Gruden.
1. Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
The Raiders needed interior pass rush help to disrupt the pocket and Hurst does just that. He’s a first round talent taken in the fifth round and the Raiders should be arrested for the theft of this mega selection. If his health holds up, Hurst is a Day 1 starter that solidifies the defensive line for many years to come.
2. Arden Key, Edge, LSU
Make no doubt about it, Key is a top-10 player in this draft without his off the field issues. With Khalil Mack, Bruce Irvin and now Hurst, Oakland’s defensive line will cause opposing quarterbacks nightmares before gameday. Key is another player who holds the physical talent to start on day one, however, he must be a professional off the field as well.
“I know I’m not a third-round pick; I’m a first-round talent…this is a consequence of what I went through. I’m a better person for it,” Key told reporters late Friday night.
3. Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
Miller was one of the top-rated tackles entering the 2017 NFL draft and some may feel the Raiders reached for their first-round selection. However, if a player is available and solves a need, then a “reach” is completely appropriate. With Donald Penn now 35-years old, Miller will likely play at the right tackle position until Penn retires. At the end of the day, Miller has the tools to protect the Raiders ‘Carr’ for years to come.
4. P.J. Hall, DT, Sam Houston State
P.J. Hall posted some absurd sats while at Houston State: he tallied 14 blocked kicks, 42 sacks, 9 forced fumbles and, also nabbed four interceptions. Hall is a physical specimen that has Aaron Donald-like potential. Hall weighs in at 308 pounds and will be able to plug up the middle and stop the run. Despite his large frame, Hall ran a 4.71 at his pro day, per Gil Brandt. With size and speed, Hall has the potential to be a disruptive force for the Raiders front seven.
5. Marcell Ateman, WR, Oklahoma State
Marcel Ateman is a nearly a clone of fellow Raiders new-comer Martavis Bryant. At 6-foot-4, Ateman is able to climb the ladder and pull down throws that are in contested coverage. With the departure of Michael Crabtree, Oakland was in need of a playmaker on third down and inside the red zone. This is where Ateman can make his mark in the Silver and Black.
6. Nick Nelson, CB, Wisconsin
The former Wisconsin Badger was best in the country at pass deflections with 21 last season. Measuring in at 5-foot-11, Nelson will likely cover the slot where there’s an opening on the current roster and ample depth working for a roster spot.
Bad news for #Wisconsin’s Nick Nelson, a top CB prospect: He tore his meniscus during a private workout with a team and will have it surgically repaired next week, sources say. Nelson is out 3-4 months but should be healthy for the season.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 6, 2018
7. Johnny Townsend, P, Florida
Townsend is the only punter on the Raiders depth chart today. Since his selection at pick No. 173, Townsend will get nearly every opportunity to earn the nod as the team’s new puter. Oakland boasts a fantastic line of punters dating back to Ray Guy, Shane Lechler and the recent Marquette King. With that, Townsend will have big shoes to fill as all signs point to him starting upon his arrival.
8. Brandon Parker, OT, North Carolina A&T
Parker is a coachable project that has loads of upside. He’s got four seasons as an every down player under his belt and didn’t allow a single sack in his time at North Carolina A&T. Parker showed off well for himself at the Senior Bowl as that helped to put him on the map.
9. Azeem Victor, LB, Washington
Can Azeem Victor rebuild himself to his 2015-16 campaigns? That will be the major concern when it comes to this up and down prospect. He appeared very underwhelming on tape which will put loads of pressure on him. With a depleted linebacking group in Oakland however, Victor will likely get a chance early on to make an impact.
After an amazing three days in Dallas, the Raiders are now loaded with weapons on offense and on defense they boast unlimited pass rush possibilities and depth galore in the secondary. Reggie McKenzie and Jon Gruden have reshaped this squad into a contender (on paper) and Raider Nation is anticipating this leads to more success last season yielded.
I’ve personally never been more excited for a football season to begin then I am right now. So until then, Ramble On Raider Nation!