Most of the buzz that Raider Nation felt after the hiring of head coach Jon Gruden has faded…for now.
Trading your best player (Khalil Mack) and your talented receiver (Amari Cooper) will do that. Follow that with a poor pass rush and lousy season and it isn’t exactly what every Raider fan envisioned. It now looks like the Raiders own one first round pick in next year’s NFL Draft that will be slotted higher than the ones acquired from the Chicago Bears (for Mack) and the Dallas Cowboys (for Cooper).
The wild card in the upcoming draft is Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert. However, I believe that Gruden sticks with Derek Carr at least one more year. I doubt Gruden takes Herbert, but depending where the Raiders land, Gruden may contemplate trading the Raiders own pick and acquire some more. In the meantime, let’s look at prospects that can help the Raiders.
If the Raiders pick Top 5…
DE Nick Bosa, Ohio State, 6-foot-4, 270 pounds
Joey Bosa’s (Los Angeles Chargers DE) little brother is a legit complete defensive player. Can rush the passer and play the run. He is out for the season with an abdominal injury, but more than likely will still be the 1st overall pick in the Draft.
DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama, 6-foot-4, 290 pounds
A guy that has come out of nowhere this season. All you have to do is watch the LSU game to see what kind of monster Williams is. Pairing him with Maurice Hurst, who has been one of the few bright spots for the Raiders this season, would give the Raiders a formidable duo inside. Reminds me of ex Jaguar/Bill Marcus Stroud.
DE/LB Josh Allen, Kentucky, 6-foot-5, 260 pounds
A versatile athlete that can come off the edge or drop into coverage, he has also been used as a spy in coverage. He has built on his outstanding year in 2017 to become a pass rushing force in the SEC. One of the biggest Draft climbers at this time.
If the Raiders pick Top 10…
DE Clelin Farrell, Clemson, 6-foot-4, 260 pounds
A long and rangy end. Has a large wingspan. I hear Julius Peppers. Don’t see that. But still a good player with plenty of upside. He has played with a talented D-Line at Clemson.
CB Andraez “Greedy” Williams, LSU, 6-foot-1, 180 pounds
This guy has the best name any cornerback can ever have. Fits his play to the tee. Ball Hawk. Needs to add some weight though. The Raiders desperately need secondary help.
LB Devin White, LSU, 6-foot-1, 240 pounds
An absolute blur at Linebacker. A bit undersized but makes up for it with great athletic ability. White would be a welcome addition to a defense lacking playmakers. Can play Inside and Outside LB.
DT Ed Oliver, Houston, 6-foot-1 290 pounds
ESPN’s Todd McShay actually had him ranked higher than Bosa before the season began. He reminds me more of John Randle than Aaron Donald. Oliver has made more headlines about jackets and not suiting up lately, but is still a special player. Can penetrate the backfield with initial quickness, but does need to develop a better pass rush repertoire.
Mid to late First Round is probably where Dallas’s and Chicago’s acquired picks land, then the Raiders may go…
DE Montez Sweat, Mississippi State, 6-foot-6, 245 pounds
This will be next year’s Arden Key…without the baggage. Built like Key, comes off the edge with a purpose. Also like Key, needs to add some weight. Losing your best pass rusher on your defense, Sweat and Key may team up to give AFC West QB’s nightmares.
DE Zack Allen, Boston College, 6-foot-5, 285 pounds
Allen is almost the complete opposite of Sweat. More of a strong side end. He can hold his own vs the run and still produce a pass rush. Needs to develop better pass rush moves, but has enough burst to create havoc in the backfield.
CB Deandre Baker, Georgia, 5-foot-11, 185 pounds
Like Williams, Baker’s a ball hawk. Has all the tools to be a solid pro. With Gareon Conley still developing, Baker would give the Silver and Black two young corners worth watching.
WR N’Keal Harry, Arizona State, 6-foot-4, 220 pounds
Harry is not going to be the fastest wide receiver on the field, but he will be the one coming up with the biggest plays during the game. Not afraid to go over the middle or outjump cornerbacks. Great hands. Carr would welcome a nice big target on the outside.