The Las Vegas Raiders head into the draft with general manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden calling the shots for the second time. Much like last year, Raider Nation should expect a flurry of activity.
Expect the Raiders to do the unexpected in the draft
Last year was Mayock’s first as a general manager and had some nice draft capital to work with after the Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack trades. Mayock and Gruden had three first round picks, which they kept and took players they felt were the best fit for them. After Day 1 though, the duo traded five times up and down the draft board in Days 2 and 3. Expect more of the same in the upcoming draft in April.
The Raiders have two first round picks (12th and 19th overall) this year but no second round pick (the Mack trade, don’t ask). They also have three third rounders (16th, 17th, and 27th), a fourth round selection (15th pick) and a seventh pick (12th pick). So let’s look at this possible draft scenario.
- Round 1 WR, CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma: It isn’t going to happen? Offensive line needs teams have may cause Lamb or Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy to drop here. Lamb would finally give quarterback Derek Carr a true number one wide receiver again. Lamb is the epitome of a â€œPlaymaker“.
- TRADE! Mayock stated last year before the draft that he really likes picking players between the 20th and 60th selections, which he feels are sometimes “safer selections than the top 10”. Here, he trades with the rebuilding Dolphins for two second-round picks (7th and 24th) and a fifth-round pick (16th pick).
- Safety, Xavier McKinney, Alabama: Defensive back Karl Joseph may not return next season and McKinney can do it all at safety. Pairing him with last year’s first rounder Jonathan Abram might finally fix the Raiders woes at safety.
- LB, Zack Baun, Wisconsin: The two positions that definitely need upgrades this offseason are wide receiver and linebacker. Baun had a solid junior year but really took off last year for with 76 total tackles, 12.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles. A real player.
- Trade again! This time with the Eagles for two third round picks (21 and 39).
- CB, Bryce Hall, Virginia: Getting Hall here is what Mayock always preaches about getting value. The corner had season ending surgery in October, but should be fully healed this year.
- LB, Jordyn Brooks, Texas Tech: This tackling dynamo (108 total tackles, 20 tackles for loss and three sacks) is just what the doctor ordered for defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s defense.
- LB, Logan Wilson, Wyoming: Speaking of dynamos, if Wilson had played at Alabama or Georgia, he would be mentioned much higher than this. Truly explosive on film.
- WR, Jauan Jennings, Tennessee: Jennings would be a steal talent wise. He has had some hiccups along the way while at Tennessee, which is why he’s available this late. You watch the film though and all you see is him making plays and breaking ankles all over the field.
- Trade …with Baltimore Ravens for picks 23 and 28 in the fourth round.
- DT/DE, Nick Coe, Auburn: He was better in 2018, when he had seven sacks. Versatile DL.
- OG, Logan Stenberg, Kentucky: Gabe Jackson may or may not be a salary cap casualty. The Raiders already have re-signed Denzel Good. Stenberg is the kinda salty lineman Gruden likes.
- RB/WR, Antonio Gibson, Memphis: This ex-JC transfer is a jack of all trades. Gruden would have a blast every week coming up with ways to get him the ball. Simply electrifying with the ball in his hands.
- QB, Shea Patterson, Michigan: Gruden has never met a quarterback he didn’t like. Patterson is mobile but has accuracy issues with his deep throws. A real project.
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