The Raiders have been in the thick of the action in free agency, signing left tackle Trent Brown, alongside former Rams safety LaMarcus Joyner and wide receiver Tyrell William, who last played for AFC West rival, the Chargers.
These signings and the trade for enigmatic wide receiver Antonio Brown make for good reading on the offensive side of the ball, but major work is needed to get the defense up to scratch in time for OTA’s.
After a hectic first wave of free agency, let’s switch our attention to the 2019 NFL Draft, where Oakland holds four picks inside the top 40.
Some of the spots the Raiders need to fill are edge rusher, cornerback, running back, strong safety and maybe another depth piece along the defensive line.
There’s plenty of talent in a variety of positions this year so I decided to list three potential sleepers in this year’s draft who could help the Raiders in different capacities.
Sleeper targets that the Raiders should keep an eye on…
Weighing in at 249-pounds and standing at 6-foot-4, Banagu has the typical Paul Gunther feel about him in terms of physical traits the defensive coordinator looks for in a player coming off the edge.
Banogu is a strong, hard working and a willing tackler that could be a rotational depth player in his rookie year before developing into a starting edge rusher.
Likely to be taken between rounds three and six, he could be a valuable rotational player as he has the skillset to improve quite considerably if given the right coaching.
If Banogu adds more moves to his arsenal, he could be a steal when people look back at where he’s likely to be taken.
Wingard has that grinder attitude head coach Jon Gruden loves. He predominantly played free safety in his college career, but could play in the slot and compete against bigger bodied receivers. Don’t let his 6-foot 214-pound frame fool you, he can hit hard and maintain focus on routes.
Although his recovery speed isn’t top speed, Wingard has a good football brain and can recognize danger. He would be a no brainer in the sixth or seventh rounds if boards are correct and if he is picked around those rounds, he can be a solid addition.
Likely to back up safety Karl Joseph in his first year if he were drafted, he could fill be a plug-in in the secondary.
Last but not least, a guy I’m very high on….
Why not give Derek Carr as many weapons as possible, with the additions of Brown and Williams, as well as having Seth Roberts currently on the roster, a spot is open for a rookie to make an impact through a long tough season.
Step forward Johnson. The 6-foot-2 200-pound wide receiver out of Fresno has the makings of a major ball player on any team.
Johnson is going to be a stellar professional, not likely to wow people from combine statistics but his tape says it all and could be a starter if he’s given time to blossom.
He’s a smooth athletic runner who possesses good route running; expect teams to watch his tape and be impressed. Likely off the board in rounds three to five, he could be a huge addition for the Raiders and most notably Derek Carr.
These are three sleepers Oakland can target in this year’s draft. If I had to pick one, it would be Banogu due to need, but all would be welcomed in Raider Nation.