The Las Vegas Raiders have ripped everyone’s hearts out and stomped on their hopes and dreams, which has unfortunately been the norm in 2020.
The good news? This Raiders team is young and there’s hope that the 2019 and 2020 draft classes can develop with a full off-season not affected by COVID-19. The Raiders’ brass has five picks in the 2021 draft, having lost a sixth-round pick due to violations in the midst of a pandemic. Here’s how the Silver and Black should attack this upcoming draft in April.
Let’s take a look at the Raiders’ picks
Round 1 – DT Jay Tufele, USC
Arguably the Raiders’ worst position group is the interior defensive line. By whiffing on Maliek Collins this past offseason and with Johnathan Hankins potentially leaving, the position needs attention.
Defensive tackle Jay Tufele is a climber in the draft world. He has 4.5 sacks in 2020 and has been getting consistent pressure on quarterbacks for USC this season. He’s one of the best athletes at the position group in this class and has an extremely high motor. He uses his hands very well in his pass rush technique and is still developing more moves to further dominate. The biggest key is that he’s a plus run defender as well, making him the dual-threat the Raiders lack at the position.
Round 2 – LB Dylan Moses, Alabama
Thanks to an injury last year, Dylan Moses has seen his draft stock take a nosedive. He just hasn’t been able to bounce back this year. However, he’s a prospect worth taking a risk on in the second round.
Moses is a plus run defender, and a long, rangy athlete. The Raiders invested heavily in the linebacker position last offseason, but they still lack depth and talent there. Littleton hasn’t cut it as a starter and Nicholas Morrow is slated to be a free agent. There’s a lot of time left leading up to the draft for the Silver and Black, including free agency. We can expect Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock to look closely at Alabama’s roster, as they always do.
They then go offense after two defensive picks
Round 3 – RB Kylin Hill, Mississippi State
This is not the biggest need for the Raiders, but it’s clear Jacobs needs a backup that can do everything. Hill is a complete back, with good receiving skills, and can offer a lot as a backup. Devontae Booker has been adequate this season, and Jalen Richard’s a good third-down back, but what this Las Vegas team needs is someone who can step in when ’28’ is banged up, so the offense doesn’t skip a beat. Hill is decisive and a nasty runner, finishing with a vengeance, something the Raiders get when Jacobs is in there as well.
Round 4 – OL Josh Ball, Marshall
Josh Ball is flying under the radar in the draft community, but he’s a future starter. He has good feet and rarely loses his balance while creating leverage situations for himself. The Raiders have Kolton Miller locking up the left tackle spot for years to come, but there’s skepticism around whether Trent Brown will play in Silver and Black next season. Even if he does, a backup tackle with potential is something this organization needs, considering how injuries took a toll on the line this season, it’s easy to see it’s still a need on this team.
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*Top Photo: Associated Press/Jae C. Hong