Time has mercifully run out on the Oakland Raiders memorable 2018 season. It was a highly anticipated year to begin with but failed even before the opening kickoff of the first game against the Rams.
The Khalil Mack trade will go down as arguably one of the worst deals in NFL history at least for one season. It meant that the Silver & Black defense never really had a shot and have been historically porous thereafter. All of the negative snowballs just kept intensifying, but there were a couple of positive signs of what Gruden, Mayock, and Davis have in store for the long journey ahead.
Now the calendar has turned towards an even more anticipated 2019 offseason. It brings a wealth of new optimism that everyone involved with the Raiders sorely needs. In March, free agency opens and Oakland is poised to make some rumblings with an ample amount of cap space to use wisely. Then in April, the 2019 NFL draft officially commences. Most of Raider Nation knows their thoughts and wishes dreaming for this weekend to arrive as fast as possible. Since it’s still relatively early in the journey there is no reason not to look forward to one of the biggest events in the NFL annually.
Below is a compilation of some of the most pro ready draftees the Raiders may have their eyes on assuming they declare. Also a few tidbits on how their respective 2018 campaigns played out on the gridiron and why an abundance of NFL teams will get to select from the cream of the College Football crop in late April.
Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
The most obvious entrant that basically every member of Raider Nation wants. Not much needs to be said about this young man, because his play speaks for itself, but he is presumably out of reach unless the Raiders trade up for him.
Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama
The SEC Player of the Year and Outland Trophy winner for being the best interior lineman in the country. He fights relentlessly like his life depends on it. Although the Raiders already possess P.J. Hall, Justin Ellis and Mo Hurst on their roster at defensive tackle for the future. The same goes for Houston DT Ed Oliver.
Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
The 2018 Ted Hendricks Award winner for being the best defensive end in college football. He has notched 17 tackles for loss and an ACC leading 10.5 sacks.
Josh Allen, OLB, Kentucky
Josh Allen is the winner of multiple defensive awards and has a lot in common with Khalil Mack. This little tidbit comes from 247sports.com:
“Like Allen, Mack rated as a two-star player out of high school with his only offer coming from Buffalo. Like Allen, Mack was overlooked because of unlikely circumstances. While Allen switched positions and schools, Mack flipped sports, jumping from basketball to football as a senior following an injury in 11th grade that threatened his athletic future.
All two-stars have their path, and Mack and Allen’s are now intertwined after connecting on Twitter and later talking on the phone. Allen, who often watches Mack film, plans to work out with the NFL’s highest paid defender this offseason”.
Devin White, LB, LSU
Arguably the fastest linebacker in college. A field general that the Raiders defense desperately needs.
Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
The Silver & Black’s secondary could really use a constant like Thompson to help solidify their shaky defensive backfield play. He roves all over the place with deceptive speed, he hits, has the ball skills, and everything you want in an all around safety.
N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
Harry amassed 1,000 yards receiving on 73 catches along with nine touchdowns. He stands at 6’4”, which is an automatic mismatch in the NFL at his position.
Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame
First team All-American who leads the NCAA with 15 pass breakups, while only missing an astonishing two tackles on a total of 815 defensive snaps, according to Pro Football Focus.
Brian Burns, Edge, Florida State
10 sacks on the season, but must add some weight at the next level. He’s like a magnet that is attached to getting to the quarterback.
Jaylon Ferguson, DE, Louisiana Tech
Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year and now the all time NCAA leader in sacks after passing Terrell Suggs. That speaks volumes.
Oshane Ximines, DE, Old Dominion
12 sacks on the season. Played at his best in an upset win over Virginia Tech with seven total tackles, 2.5 tfl’s and two sacks.
Marquise (Hollywood) Brown, WR, Oklahoma
Has the NFL pedigree being Antonio Brown’s cousin. Probably a slot wideout at the next level because of his size, but he did what he was supposed to do in Oklahoma’s historic offense.
D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
Freakish and I mean freakish potential on film. Has the size, speed and instincts to be a game-changing wideout in the NFL.
Ben Burr-Kirven, LB, Washington
Tops in the FBS with 175 plus total tackles in 2018. Was in the top five nationally with 13 solo tackles a contest. Pac-12 Defensive P.O.T.Y. and Pac-12 Scholar of the year as well.
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida
Recorded two picks in the Peach Bowl and was named MVP for his production. Has collected nine interceptions in his three years in Gainesville. His stock is on the rise.
Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State
Another 1,000 yard standout who towers over corners at 6’6” that can make outlandish plays.
Te’Von Coney, LB, Notre Dame
Over 100 combined tackles in his last two years. 20.5 of them came as tfl’s, so he has a nose to get in the backfield and disrupt plays. Associated Press third team All-American.
The 2019 NFL draft is overwhelmingly loaded with talent all over the board. These are just a handful of names the Raiders may consider when the time comes to be on the clock. An abundance of things will happen between now and April, so nothing is set in stone, but the Silver & Black will be busy to fix what ails them.
All in all, the upcoming road ahead remains shining bright with more to offer than almost any organization in the NFL. This coming offseason will prove it if the Raiders can make the right decisions moving the franchise forward to a championship caliber level again.
As always, Ramble On, Raider Nation.