The spectacle of the NFL Draft has come and gone and in its wake, there is eternal optimism, hope and prognostication of success.
The Oakland Raiders added intriguing talent during the 2019 NFL Draft and more importantly, Mike Mayock didn’t buckle under the pressure of his first foray as general manager.
The Raiders should be ecstatic about its draft haul, as do all the other 31 teams in the league, but the process of improvement is an unending affair. The mad dash to sign undrafted free agents immediately after the draft concluded is indisputable evidence of that.
I’m going to touch on the Raiders undrafted free agent signings, but first, let’s get to my breakdown of Oakland’s draft:
Josh Jacobs, Round 1, 24th overall
The Alabama tailback has a running style reminiscent of his life: Hard.
From sleeping in a Suburban with his family in the shadiest of neighborhoods to first-round pick, Jacobs is the ideal replacement for Oakland legend Marshawn Lynch.
Jacobs runs with authority and can catch the rock out of the backfield. He is also a really good blocker and that’s key for any Jon Gruden running back. Comparison were quick to come for the Raiders latest tailback as he reminds many of yester yore.
To me, Jacobs is a bigger and meaner version of former Oakland’s running back Charlie Garner. While Garner was a master at eluding and making defenders look foolish, Jacobs likes to bang shoulder pads and run over defenders.
Hunter Renfrow, Round 5, 149th overall
This wide receiver is one of three Clemson players the Raiders took in the draft. Like the opposition in college, NFL defenses are going to be left wondering how open Renfrow can get (he doesn’t boast uncanny size or speed) and Oakland’s quarterback Derek Carr is going to love him.
Need a first down, go to Hunter.
Don’t let the fact Renfrow had the smallest hands of any receiver in the draft. Even with the smallest of mittens, Renfrow nary drops a pass. That makes him a keeper because Raiders wideouts are notorious for butterfingers.
Outta Nowhere Pick:
Isaiah Johnson, Round 4, 129th overall
The Raiders took a cornerback in the second round (Clemson’s Trayvon Mullen) so when Johnson’s name was called, it was shocking.
Johnson wasn’t even expected to be available in the fourth round and paired with Mullen, Oakland added two tall (both are near 6-2) and fast (both ran the 40-yard dash in the 4.40s) corners.
Just like Mullen, Johnson is a wide receiver turned cornerback.
Maxx Crosby, Round 4, 106th overall
Dubbed “Madd” Maxx by both Gruden and Mayock, the Eastern Michigan pass rusher was quick to adopt the moniker on his Twitter. If the name alone doesn’t intrigue you, Crosby is a relentless pure-octane motor pass rusher.
He hasn’t fully grown into his 6-foot-5 frame and can stand to add more bulk and strength – both Gruden and Mayock alluded to this – to become an NFL rusher. However, Crosby’s desire and determination can’t be taught.
I’ve been pining for Alec Ingold to get a shot to become the Raiders fullback and the team obliged scooping up the Wisconsin Badger. He’s in the mold of bloddy Jon Ritchie as a true lead blocker and he can push Keith Smith off the roster.
Notre Dame linebacker Te’Von Coney going undrafted was a surprise but a boon for Oakland. Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther loves these kind of players and Coney lands in a position to earn a 53-man roster spot.
From the get go, Keelan Doss seemed destined to become a Raider. The UC Davis wideout is from Alameda and is an intelligent route runner. At 6-foot-2, he can become a big target for the Raiders.
Albama’s Lester Cotton Sr. is another rookie who stands to earn a spot as the Raiders guard situation outside of Gabe Jackson is unsettled.