Raiders

Raiders Two Round Mock: Gus Bradley’s Defense Is Retooled

The Las Vegas Raiders head into April’s NFL draft still needing to address some holes in their defense as they retool Gus Bradley’s unit.

With NFL free agency fully underway, the Raiders made a huge splash on the first day right out of the gate. They decided to do something about their pass rush, or lack thereof, by signing edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue. He’s certainly an upgrade over anything the Raiders have had in recent seasons. While Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell still have promise, Las Vegas needed a proven commodity to jump-start their 2021 campaign.

As far as this most recent mock scenario, the defensive line’s interior still needs help. Defensive tackle Maliek Collins is gone but Johnathan Hankins is back to help stop the run. While moving the ‘Cle Missile’ to the inside is a possibility, the team opts to address their hole at defensive tackle early. In addition, the team still needs another safety assuming they don’t splurge on a free agent.

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The first two picks for the Raiders are…

1st Round: Levi Onwuzurike, DL, Washington

Christian Barmore was an option here at number 17 but he’s seen his stock drop recently. There are concerns about his inability to create separation, so Las Vegas opts for Washington’s Levi Onwuzurike, who could be a reach considering that many see him falling to the second round.

It has become the Raiders’ trademark to overreach on prospects as we’ve seen these past two drafts. This isn’t a knock on Onwuzurike though. The six-foot-three, 288-pound lineman would be an interesting addition. He accumulated 16 tackles for a loss, seven sacks, and 47 solo tackles from 2017-2019, opting not to play last year.

Drae Harris of The Draft Network is high on his run defense and believes his technique allows him to maintain gap control. Ideally, he’ll be a starting interior lineman which should bode well if Ferrell’s moved inside. A duo of ‘Cle’ and Onwuzurike could be something worth watching.

2nd Round: Richie Grant, S, UCF

The Silver and Black passed on signing any big-name safeties this past offseason. To be fair though, most of them were franchised tagged, which left the Raiders with limited options. The organization decided that overpaying for a veteran safety might not be wise, picking up Richie Grant in the second round made too much sense in this scenario. Pro Football Focus graded Grant 79.4 overall, which is solid considering his collegiate numbers. He accumulated 17 passes defensed, ten interceptions, and five forced fumbles from 2017-2020.

PFF also graded Grant’s run defense at an impressive 90.0 along with a coverage grade of 71.5 for 2020. Furthermore, Grant totaled 341 snaps last year as PFF’s breakdown of those snaps shows versatility for the six-foot-tall defensive back. He played 237 snaps in the box, 144 in the slot, and 226 as a free safety. Landing a starting safety and interior lineman in the first two rounds would be an excellent way to start for the Raiders this coming draft.

Thoughts Raider Nation? How would you feel about Grant and Onwuzurike in the first two rounds?

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*Top Photo: Courtesy UCFKnights.com

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Brian Lovell

Really…
We sign like 8 d-linemen
I think we trade back with titans or gb get there pick plus like a 3rd then combine picks to have a 1st & two 2nd rd picks..
Then the picks would b cb or Lb
Then safety & right tackle in the 2nd rd..
If no trade then u grab the cb then safety then right tackle….cb is the most help needed in the draft with safety help still on the free agent list..

T-diddy

Definitely like the idea of trading back unless we get an elite CB or OT to fall to us at 17. If there are 5 QBs taken in the first half of the round and a few WRs then we’ll have a good shot at an elite player. I think Tom cable will have decided who he likes at tackle hopefully he doesn’t reach out of fear that guy will be swooped . We need to take a safety before the 4th round….we might want to double dip at safety

Brian Lovell

No need 2 take an o-linemen with the 17th pick the 17th pick needs 2 go defense Cb is the need in the draft there is still safetys in free agency… Especially if we cant trade back Cb with 17th pick then safety then right tackle & a lineback would b nice as well…but them 3 positions for sure with no trades…must build the defense…but RAIDERS need 2 UNDERSTAND pressure starts in the middle then once that happens qb moves & thats win the d.e.’s should come alive & i dont think we have created enough buzz in that area..by… Read more »

Biglar

This would be a really stupid draft, so par for the course for the Raiders. Actually, the second round pick wouldn’t be terrible, but not picking o-line in round 1 is crazy. The Raiders only have 1 returning starter, and if you add in James, only two guys that they are committed to. Good and Incognito may end up the starters at guard, but one hopes to become mediocre some day and the other is going to be 38 by the start of the season and is coming off an Achilles injury. And there’s basically nobody to fill the right… Read more »