We’re chugging along towards the spectacle of the 2019 NFL Draft, but it’s Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh who said it best.
““I think the draft should be earlier, sooner,” Harbaugh told the Boston Globe. “We don’t need to be so involved where we need three months to watch the players ourselves. Let’s draft these guys, let’s get them to us.”
It can’t happen soon enough for sure. Raider Nation is eagerly waiting to see what head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock do with their selections (four picks in the top 35 — No. 4, 24, 27 and 35 — and four more in latter rounds — No. 106, 140, 218 and 235 — to continue the process of reshaping the Raiders.
This is the third of four weekly mocks as we get closer to the event. The second mock had the Raiders standing pat and not making any trades. This one has…
No. 4: Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama
San Francisco takes Oakland’s top player on the board in Nick Bosa and the New York Jets don’t find the right value to trade pick No. 3 and take Josh Allen. That allows the Raiders to get Williams, arguably the best defensive lineman in the draft.
Sure, there’s a glut of talent at defensive tackle with the Raiders drafting both PJ Hall and Maurice Hurst last year and re-signing Johnathan Hankins to go along with incumbents Justin Ellis and Eddie Vanderdoes. However, Williams is a top-shelf player Gruden and Mayock can’t ignore.
He had one year of exemplary tape at ‘Bama and he has a chance to make a Darrell Russell-type impact on the Raiders’ defensive line.
Previous: Josh Allen, LB/DE, Kentucky
No. 24: Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan
The much-hyped prospect many have the Raiders taking at No. 4 goes to Oakland 20 picks later than predicted. Like other pass rushers in this class, Gary showed off freakish athleticism at the combine running a 4.58 40 time at 6-foot-4, 277 pounds.
Unlike other edge prospects (who will be gone by the time Oakland picks at 24), Gary’s tape and stat sheet are lacking. There are glints of greatness, but a top 10 selection should have a consistent stream of splash plays. His college production doesn’t live up to the measurables.
However, there was a prospect taken in the 2012 draft that didn’t have outstanding collegiate production and blossomed in the NFL: Cardinals edge usher Chandler Jones. perhaps the Raiders can make Gary into the next Jones-type pass rusher.
Previous: Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
No. 27: Trade with New England Patriots
New England needs a tight end to replace Rob Gronkowski, and fearing Noah Fant won’t be there at 32, the Pats trade up five spots with Oakland. The Raiders get pick No. 32 and a third-rounder (Oakland’s went to Pittsburgh in exchange for Antonio Brown) they’ve been missing, as well. Gruden and Mayock want more draft compensation, however, Bill Belichick is a shrewd dealer, and a first and third is all Oakland gets.
Previous: Nasir Adderley, DB, Delaware
No. 32: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
Gruden stated the Raiders are looking to add more cornerbacks and he gets a good one in Murphy (especially with DeAndre Baker and Greedy Williams already gone). The 5-11, 190-pound corner continues a strong Husky tradition at corner and is an aggressive ball-hawk shadow DB with smooth hands.
Murphy has uncanny ability to read and diagnose both quarterbacks and wide receiver s and he plays the ball. That’s not saying he can’t tackle as he is a downhill striker reminiscent of a safety with bad intentions. Gruden praises free agent signee Lamarcus Joyner for the same thing.
No. 35: Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State
The Raiders need a mean streak at left guard for the departed Kelechi Osemele and Risner brings that in spades. Gruden and Co. saw plenty of Risner at Senior Bowl practices and the game, so they know what he brings to the table.
While he did play tackle at Kansas State, his best fit will be on the inside – whether that’s next to Trent Brown or Kolton Miller. The Raiders already have one mauling guard in Gabe Jackson. Make it two and help keep the QB upright in Oakland.
Previous: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
No. 73: Chase Winovich, DE, Michigan
Now here’s a dude that plays like he’s been infected with the Rage Virus from 28 Days Later. The long-haired, Thor-like Wolverine is a hard-hitting and highly volatile defender who wants to wreck the opposition. That’s a trait the Raiders defense is missing.
But like Wolverine in his Berserker Rage, the aggressiveness can erode Winovich’s football IQ at times. He’s a double-edged sword of a prospect, however, the Raiders need a razor-sharp edge defender and that’s Winovich.
No. 106: Armani Hooker, S, Iowa
The additions of Joyner, Murphy and now Hooker give the Raiders hit men in the secondary. Like incumbent Karl Joseph, Hooker is a physical downhill thumper in run support and packs a wallop. Iowa gave him a hybrid safety/linebacker spot and Hooker excelled.
His recognition skills in zone are impressive and that’s something that will work well in the Raiders’ defensive scheme. He showed tremendous straight-line speed at the combine (4.48) but there are still concerns about his long and recovery speed.
Previous: Tre Watson, LB, Maryland
No. 140: Kahale Warring, TE, San Diego State
A star athlete at Sonora High in Calif., Warring is a relative newcomer to the game of football. But his athleticism was on full display at the combine (4.67 40 at 6-5, 252 pounds). His tape is limited but he showed he can run past defenders, catch the ball well and even drag tacklers with him. And, more importantly, he’s shown an eagerness to block.
Refining his skills at the pro level will make him a more productive NFL player than he was in college.
Previous: John Cominsky, DE, Charleston
No. 218: Gary Johnson, LB, Texas
With incredible straight-line speed (4.43 40 at the combine), Johnson is a fleet-footed and smaller (6-0, 226 pounds) Longhorn inside linebacker. He plays with unrivaled energy and is a vocal leader. His aggressiveness is both an asset and a weakness as he’s wild at times at the point of attack leading to missed tackles.
He’s also a liability in coverage when facing a spaced-out offense. But he will take chances and shoot gaps, something that Raider linebackers haven’t done well.
Previous: Alec Ingold, FB, Wisconsin
No. 235: Keelan Doss, WR, UC Davis
The Alameda product comes to Oakland during the Raiders swan song in the East Bay. At 6-2 and 211 pounds, the Aggie product is a heady wideout who may not blow you away with speed but has the brains and ball skills to get open.
Gruden saw plenty of Doss at the Senior Bowl and Doss has the skills to carve out a role as a big slot WR.
Previous: Easton Stick, QB, North Dakota State