While you can’t pinpoint the team’s needs before the free agency period, it’s pretty clear that the Las Vegas Raiders lack playmakers on the defensive side of the ball.
On the other hand, you could make the argument that ‘best player available’ is the way to go and that’s how this mock scenario goes. This draft is based on the Pro Football Focus simulator, and how its board falls.
Round 1 Pick 21 – EDGE Gregory Rousseau, Miami
(TRADE – Indianapolis Trades pick 21 and 54 for pick 17)
Rousseau opted out in 2020, which is the only reason he’s available here. The Raiders had one of the worst pass rushes in football in 2020 and added a defensive coordinator that relies heavily on pass rush.
EDGE should be the number one need on the Raiders board, and in this simulation, it turns out the BPA was that. Rousseau has his flaws and needs some development, but he had 15.5 sacks in his one full college season and looks to have all the traits you want from an EDGE in the first round. He has the length and burst that could translate into an elite NFL talent. Plus, putting him with the duo of Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby can reap major benefits. He can move inside when needed and is a nice versatile piece for Gus Bradley to build around.
Round 2 Pick 54 – DT Levi Onwuzurike, Washington
This is all about schematic fit. Onwuzurike is an ideal defensive tackle in a 4-3 formation, and the Raiders lack bodies and talent. Levi was another opt-out and falls a bit here into Las Vegas’ lap. The problem with this is the lack of tape to gather information on. You could argue he put enough on tape in 2018 and 2019, where he combined for 12.5 sacks, to garner major attention in the draft. The Raiders shore up two line spots early in this draft, and Levi is a clear upgrade over Maliek Collins.
What do the Raiders do with their third and fourth picks?
Round 2 Pick 55 – S Andre Cisco, Syracuse
Cisco is the first reach of this draft. Then again, he is a ball-hawk and has 13 interceptions in 24 career games. One of the biggest issues with the Raiders and Bradley is a lack of turnovers. Drafting guys who create is a major key for this team. Ideally, he can play the single-high role in the cover-3 and take away the deep side of the field. He gives up the occasional big play, but the hope is that with solid coaching, he can develop into a key starter for many years.
Round 3 Pick 80 – DT Daviyon Nixon, Iowa
Las Vegas doubles down at the defensive tackle position, with another great pick. Nixon and Onwuzurike can be the future for this team. Nixon led the Big Ten in tackles and tied for the lead in sacks with five and a half. Adding two guys that can create pressure inside, should free up some opportunities for Clelin Ferrell, Maxx Crosby, and others.
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