Austin Gayle of Pro Football Focus has the Las Vegas Raiders addressing both sides of the ball in a recent mock draft. This is arguably the optimal scenario for the Silver and Black.
With the 12th and 19th picks in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft, the Raiders are in control of their destiny. Head coach Jon Gruden needs a game changing wide receiver to compliment a group that features Hunter Renfrow and Tyrell Williams. On the other hand, I imagine defensive coaches Paul Guenther and Rod Marinelli want more talent, especially elite pass rushing. Gayle’s first round mock selections will make everyone happy.
Related: Should Raiders consider defense early in the draft?
Raiders Mock: Both Offense and Defense
The number 12 selection would be Laviska Shenault Jr. of the University of Colorado. Gayle suggests that while the receiver won’t have the best route running coming into the NFL, his frame and sheer explosiveness warrant this pick.
Shenault isn’t a polished route-runner, nor is he a finished product at the receiver position. However, what he lacks in polish he makes up for in size and explosiveness. He is going to turn heads in Indianapolis with his testing at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine and best projects as a moving chess piece for an offensive coordinator at the next level. Jon Gruden just needs to get the ball in his hands and watch him go to work.
Quarterback Derek Carr (or whoever ends up starting) will need help and Shenault, in spite of some shortcomings, can be an excellent pickup. Any receiver that’s drawing comparisons to Sammy Watkins deserves at least a look by Mayock and Gruden.
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As far as the 19th pick goes, the Raiders opt to further build on their pass rush and go with Julian Okwara of Notre Dame. An EDGE in the first round? Yup. Imagine Okwara coming off the edge with an improved Maxx Crosby on the opposite end this upcoming season. Gayle highlights the EDGE’s PFF rating of 90.4, which he had despite the fact his technique still needs work: Enter Marinelli.
There’s an argument for pushing McKinney ahead of Delpit as the class’ best safety considering just how productive and versatile he was at Alabama. His overall grade and PFF coverage grade improved every year of his collegiate career, and he earned an impressive 88.4 overall grade and an 89.2 PFF coverage grade in 2019. He also logged over 500 defensive snaps played at free safety, box safety and slot cornerback over the past two seasons with the Crimson Tide.
While the Raiders undoubtedly would pick Okwara as a pass rusher, it’s worth noting just how much of a special athlete he truly is. Playing as a safety and corner in the slot along with the EDGE. That’s extraordinary and the type of athlete the Raiders could use.
*If you want to check out Austin Gayle’s full mock click here Raider Nation!