Should Raiders Consider Defense Early This Draft?

The Las Vegas Raiders have an opportunity to have a franchise-defining draft in April. The public consensus seems to be that wide receiver should be the priority. Notwithstanding, plans and circumstances dictate outcomes, and the draft is no exception. With that in mind, should their defense be upgraded with the 12th pick?

In his latest article for The Athletic, Vic Tafur highlighted the Raiders might benefit from holding off on a wide receiver with the twelfth selection and perhaps go defense. Predicting that Chase Young, Jeff Okudah, Isaiah Simmons, and Derrick Brown will be gone by then, their pick can be Javon Kinlaw.

The Wild Card

If indeed Kinlaw is still there at 12, should the Raiders bite? The gaping hole at wide receiver isn’t going anywhere, but continuing building on their defensive line, which is a strength, would also be smart. The six-foot-five 315 pound monster from South Carolina, who’s drawing comparisons to Leonard Williams, would instantly help that unit cause more disruption.

No doubt many in Raider Nation would be upset if Las Vegas opted for a defensive linemen at number 12, but general manager Mike Mayock is the one thankfully calling the shots here.

Related: Ranking wide receiver prospects Raiders can draft

Can Mayock Hit Another Home Run?

It goes without saying that Maxx Crosby was the steal of last year’s draft and it will be interesting to see if Mayock can hit out of the park with yet another steal. One player that Tafur talked about was Florida’s Jon Greenard. In a perfect world, can you imagine Crosby, Kinlaw, Greenard, and Clelin Ferrell in the same unit? Even more scary are the options coach Rod Marinelli will work with if this turns out to be his group next season.

“Florida’s Jon Greenard had 9.5 sacks last season and has the quick twitchiness that you want, but he has had some injuries that should knock him out of the first round.”

In that same tidbit, Tafur mentioned Arden Key, who many in Raider Nation have not given up on yet.

“…the team is starting to get worried about pass rusher Arden Key, who lost a lot of weight again after last year’s knee surgery. He was a third-round pick in 2018 and has three sacks in 23 games…”

You hate to see players lose their jobs because of injury, but it does happen quite often and Key could be no exception. For the Raiders to potentially pass on a player like Greenard or Kinlaw because they believe Key still deserves a chance would be nonsense. If Mayock can improve a position this draft, he will do it, as he said so himself, “if there’s a chance to upgrade, we will look into that.”

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