The 2020 NFL Draft is approaching fast and while it’s usually a spectacle, it can also derail the fortunes of an organization. Why is that? Because it’s not an exact science. Take the Las Vegas Raiders’ second-round pick in 2018 as an example.
With two seasons in the books, it’s safe to say the Raiders made at least one mistake in 2018. Management at that time drafted defensive tackle P.J. Hall, from Sam Houston St. On the other hand, the Falcons, who chose right after the Raiders, went with Isaiah Oliver out of the University of Colorado. Are we comparing a dual cornerback and safety with a defensive tackle? Not necessarily. However, given the emergence of Trayvon Mullen and had the Raiders gone with Oliver, they might’ve been going into this year’s draft with a different objective.
What Might’ve Been For The Raiders
So far, Hall has been somewhat of a disappointment, but that could be more indicative of the previous regime’s terrible drafting. His impact has been underwhelming, he’s started 18 out of 30 possible games, totaled 48 total tackles, and just one and a half sacks. He’s clearly more of a strong run stopper and plug on the line than a pass-rushing threat, take 2019 for example. That year, Hall had 551 total defensive snaps and only got to the quarterback once, recording only one quarterback knockdown. Yet, Pro Football Focus gave him a 70.1 rating.
That critique aside, Hall still has a chance to grow after the organization brought in defensive line guru Rod Marinelli, though he’ll be playing behind projected starters Maliek Collins and Maurice Hurst Jr. Now imagine the Raiders picking Oliver instead and opting to choose another run-stopping plug in the later rounds this year.
An Imperfect Science
Just as Mullen emerged for the Raiders last year, Oliver was doing the same in Atlanta. He started all 16 games, notched 11 passes defensed, one forced fumble, and 62 total tackles. His 66.3% completion percentage after being targeted 98 times was impressive too.
Is Oliver perfect? No, no NFL player is and a deeper look at his numbers reveals that. In 2019, he gave up five touchdowns, allowed an opposing quarterback rating of 113.0 and 908 yards on completions his way, worrisome to say the least, but ask yourself this: Wouldn’t Oliver have been an improvement over anyone the Raiders had behind Mullen on last year’s depth chart?
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