Raiders

NFL Draft 2020: Best Fits For the Las Vegas Raiders

The Las Vegas Raiders have a pretty robust list of team needs. However, some are more important than others. I believe the team must upgrade and get younger at linebacker, safety, and wide receiver.

NFL Draft 2020: Best Fits For the Las Vegas Raiders

Here are some NFL draft targets that fit what the Raiders are looking to do:

Linebacker

Patrick Queen, Round 1

Queen is considered one of the best players at his position in the draft and the Raiders are the most linebacker needy team in football, so the fit is natural. Las Vegas craves a three-down linebacker who can has dynamic sideline-to-sideline speed and make plays. Queen is that prospect.

Troy Dye, Round 3

Dye is more of a Day 2 prospect, and may be more feasible for Mayock and Gruden to get him there. Also, linebacker is a position that the Raiders could even double dip in. His biggest weakness is coverage, which he’s worked on over his time at Oregon, and with NFL coaching, it may continue to improve. Dye isn’t quite as athletic as Queen, but his toughness and ability to read offenses should be huge to Gruden and Mayock.

Malik Harrison, Round 4

Harrison is a prospect whose the draft projection isn’t perfectly clear. He struggles in coverage, which isn’t ideal for a team that has watched Tahir Whitehead fail at it in back-to-back seasons. Nonetheless, I think his other traits make him a great mid-round pick. Harrison tackles very well, and has played all three linebacker positions, which should Paul Guenther’s defense.

Related: Will Raiders GM Mike Mayock step out of his comfort zone and draft a wide receiver?

Safety

Xavier McKinney, Round 1

The Raiders have struggled to find adequate safeties for more than a decade, and that’s even after spending two first-round selections on guys. Johnathan Abram needs a ballhawk next to him to help create turnovers. McKinney is a versatile prospect that causes havoc on the back end. He had 95 tackles, three interceptions, six passes defensed and four forced fumbles in 2019. The Raiders may not be able to pass on him at 19.

Kyle Dugger, Round 2 or 3

Dugger was a super sleeper of mine a few months ago, but he’s not underrated anymore. Teams fell in love with him at the Senior Bowl, and he’s projected to be drafted high on Day 2. Dugger is big, fast and physical a combination that has scout’s watering at the mouth. Even though he didn’t play against top competition, he could see his stock rise the way Nasir Adderly did last season. Las Vegas would be wise to pair him up with Abram in a trade to round two if possible.

Jeremy Chinn, Round 3-5

Chinn is another small school player rising up draft boards. He will likely be a mid round selection with major potential. He isn’t the best in man to cover, but he played a Minkah Fitzpatrick role for Southern Illinois, which means that he was all over the field. Also, he is above average in run support, something that fits what head coach Jon Gruden likes to do. Plus, he is a polished coverage guy. If he can improve on 1-on-1 situations, he can be a major asset to the Raiders.

Wide Receiver

Henry Ruggs III, Round 1

Ruggs III is the most dynamic wide out of the class. Some pundits believe he isn’t as polished as Jeudy or Lamb, but that’s not entirely fair to Ruggs. The ball was spread around at Alabama, but I believe if he is brought in to be a featured wide receiver, he will produce accordingly. Ruggs is electric and just what the Raiders need.

Michael Pittman Jr, Round 3

Pittman Jr. is a player flying under the radar due to the depth of this class. His speed isn’t up there with the elite wide receivers, but he is physical and has good hands. Although the separation isn’t always there, Pittman Jr. offers enough to be a steal in round three as he would give the Raiders a red zone target and a big body to work with on intermediate routes.

Van Jefferson, Round 3-5

Jefferson is one of my favorite prospects. The reason is he does everything well, but nothing great and you need players like that to fill a roster. He can block, catch, run routes well, and has above average hands. He is a prospect Gruden may fall in love with because of work ethic. I think Jefferson can become a Keenan Allen type in the right offense, and he would be a home-run pick in the mid rounds.

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