Once again, the time has come. With less than two weeks until the 2019 NFL Draft, there’s a lot of talk of who the Oakland Raiders will select at four, 24 and 27. The Raiders have the draft capital to make almost any move they want, which is going to make draft night very fun. With so many high quality players in the first round, Oakland could go in a number of different ways. In this article, I will be exploring ten prospects the Raiders could take.
With the 4th pick in the NFL draft…
Edge Rusher Nick Bosa:
Starting with the least likely scenario, Bosa could fall into the Raiders lap at four. It’s almost certain at this point the 49ers will be selecting him at two barring a trade. With that said Bosa is Oakland’s dream prospect. While not playing most of his final season at Ohio State due to injury, he showed enough production during his college career to be the consensus top player in this class.
He would be an instant upgrade to anybody they have playing edge by a wide margin. The Raiders need to do everything they can to upgrade a pass rush that generated an embarrassing 13 sacks in 2018 and drafting Bosa would be a huge step towards accomplishing that goal.
Defensive Lineman Quinnen Williams:
Next up is arguably the best interior lineman prospect in years. Williams only started one year at Alabama, but used his time wisely and turned himself into one of the top player in college football. He can do everything needed for a great interior defensive player. He’s a great run defender who can also split double teams during pass rushing downs.
In his lone season starting for Alabama, Williams had 71 tackles, 19.5 for a loss, and eight sacks according to sports-reference.com.
If he falls to four and Bosa is gone, the Raiders need to pull the trigger on Williams. An interior line rotation including Williams, Maurice Hurst, and P.J. Hall would be very fun to watch.
Edge Rusher Josh Allen:
Interestingly, Allen is a prospect some of Raider Nation doesn’t want to draft because he played 3-4 outside linebacker. His ability to rush the passer and play some coverage makes him one of the most versatile players in the draft though. The biggest issue regarding him would be the position he would play.
According to Sports Reference, Allen had a ridiculous 17 sacks in 2018, four more than the whole Raiders team had last year.
In spite his college production, Allen might not be the best fit in defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s defense which is my only major knock on him. And his selection will solely depend on whether Guenther thinks he can deploy him effectively.
Linebacker Devin White:
Let me start with this, White isn’t the prospect Bears rookie linebacker Roquan Smith was last year. However, White is still the best linebacker in this class and it isn’t close. His athleticism gives him the ability to cover tight ends and slot receivers. He does have issues, but a lot of them can be coached away.
He has issues with choosing the right angle to pursue tackles and can be deceived by offenses more than he should. Those aren’t big enough issues to write him off as a candidate for this pick, but they should be kept in mind.
Defensive Lineman Ed Oliver:
Oliver came into the season as a consensus top three prospect, but started falling down on some boards after an incident with his coaching staff. With his stock back on the rise, the Raiders would be getting a great player at four. While there are concerns about Oakland choosing 2 3-technique defenders last season, He is versatile enough to make it work.
Oliver demanded double and triple teams in college and if he can do that at the next level, he will help create openings for others on the defensive line.
With the 24th and 27th picks…
Wide Receiver Marquise Brown:
Get ready folks because by pick 35, Brown will be a Raider. While not the best receiver in this class, he is arguably the best deep threat. At 5’9 and 166, his size is concerning. He is also recovering from a lisfranc injury, which is a major red flag. However, he has had great re-evaluations according to NFL network’s Ian Rapoport.
Brown has the ability to dominate in the slot for the Raiders. The pairing looks like a match made in heaven with the recent trade for his cousin, Antonio Brown, and the release of long time slot receiver Seth Roberts.
Offensive Guard Dalton Risner:
Offensive line was a major reason for the Raiders problems on offense. Quarterback Derek Carr was sacked a career high 51 times in 2018. For reference, the next highest was 31 times back in 2015. Risner would instantly plug in at right guard and be a solid addition to the Raiders offensive line.
With the Raiders coaching Risner at the Senior Bowl, there is already comfort and experience with him. This gives him a very good chance at being one of the Raiders choices with the 25th.
Safety Nasir Adderley:
Another guy Oakland coached at the Senior Bowl, Adderley would be a very welcome addition to their secondary. From the outside looking in, it seems he wants to be a Raider as well. According to Pro Football Reference, the Raiders allowed a league worst 36 passing touchdowns in 2018.
Adderley’s experience at cornerback gives him the ability to play some man coverage. He will only get better as he plays in the NFL and is a player who would instantly help Oakland horrendous pass defense.
Edge Clelin Ferrell:
Ferrell is a guy I have seen falling down many boards lately and I don’t really see why. He was seventh in college football with 11.5 sacks and played great against high level competition such as Alabama offensive tackle Jonah Williams. If Ferrell slid to number 24, the Raiders might not think twice about grabbing him there.
As said earlier, Oakland’s pass rush was absolutely awful last season. Ferrell should and would start day one for this team if he’s drafted. Adding pass rushers needs to be a priority in the draft.
Tight End Noah Fant:
Former Raider Jared Cook had a great connection with Carr from the tight end spot last year. With his departure to New Orleans, Oakland must find someone to replace him. Fant, unlike Darren Waller, would be a perfect replacement for Cook.
Fant is a great pass catcher, and can line up practically anywhere on offense. He isn’t the greatest blocker, but Gruden will clean up his technique and make him fine enough.
This draft is the most important draft in years not just for the Raiders, but for Gruden’s comeback to coaching and his legacy. While I don’t always trust Gruden to make the right decision, new general manager Mike Mayock gives me hope in this draft class. No matter who the Raiders decide to choose, draft night is lining up to be the most interesting in recent years.