The Las Vegas Raiders desperately need a right tackle going into the 2021 NFL season. However, the team could’ve had themselves a cornerstone player in last year’s players selection meeting.
Predicting how NFL players will turn out is nowhere close to an exact science, not to mention, it’s easy for us to step back and say ‘X’ would’ve been a fit. However, in this case, the Raiders whiffed badly, as they could’ve selected Tristan Wirfs in last year’s NFL draft. Perhaps, choosing Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw might make amends for the organization foregoing a tackle last April.
Look, the decision to draft Henry Ruggs III was done based on the fact the Raiders needed a wide receiver. The Antonio Brown debacle and injuries to Tyrell Williams in 2019 meant the team lacked anything resembling a number one receiver. At that time, the general consensus was that Las Vegas was going to take a receiver with their first of two first-round choices. Whether it’d be Ruggs or CeeDee Lamb or Jerry Jeudy. As far as Wirfs, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers chose him with the 13th pick. The former Iowa Hawkeye allowed just one sack per Pro Football Focus and posted an impressive 81.0 pass-blocking grade.
Raiders should strongly consider Darrisaw and not repeat last year’s mistake
Another reason that the team surely passed on Wirfs was that Trent Brown was still a Raider. Nobody could’ve foreseen the injuries and debacle that would be Brown’s 2020 campaign. If they had, Wirfs might’ve been the pick, which is even more so when you consider how deep the wide receiver class was last year. This draft is a different story, despite being a strong class as far as tackles, Darrisaw’s an elite prospect among them. Per PFF, Darrisaw made huge strides in all facets of his game, going from an 80.3 to 95.6 overall grade over the past two seasons.
In their most recent mock draft, PFF has the Silver and Black picking up Darrisaw at number 17. They justify the pick due to his overwhelmingly positive grades for 2020.
The 6-foot-5, 315-pounder was one of just two offensive linemen in the FBS to earn 90-plus PFF grades as both a run-blocker (94.5) and pass-blocker (90.8) in 2020.
After reconstructing most of their offensive line, the Raiders need to play it safe and go with Darrisaw. Reaching on a defensive lineman or even safety in the first round could be disastrous considering the current hole at the right tackle. It’ll be interesting to see how the Raiders’ brass plays the first round this year.
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