The 2021 NFL Draft is just a few weeks away, and just like every other team, the Las Vegas Raiders are getting ready. Although they won’t have a realistic shot at drafting Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, there are other Gators they should consider targeting.
Look, Pitts is one of the most talented tight end prospects in recent years and whoever ends up with him is going to get themselves a playmaker. However, he isn’t the only Gator worth a selection in the draft. Here are four Florida prospects the Raiders should consider kicking the tires on.
The Raiders could target these fours Gators at different points of the draft
The Raiders are still looking for a bonafide number-one receiver. Sophomore Henry Ruggs III or free-agent acquisition John Brown could end up becoming that player but it’s not a sure thing. In the meantime, they need to keep throwing darts until they hit the proverbial bullseye. Thus, they should strongly consider drafting Kadarius Toney in the first round.
Toney has great short-area quickness and elite change of direction, which helps him get away from opposing cornerbacks. The wide receiver doesn’t have top-end speed and needs to improve his route-running. The Raiders could take him with the 17th overall pick and take an offensive tackle, their most pressing need, in the second round.
Outlook: Round 1
Kyle Trask isn’t a top quarterback prospect but there are plenty of things to like about him. First, he’s shown improvement every year. Moreover, he’s not afraid of standing tall in the pocket and can make all kinds of throws. On the other hand, watching him play will bring back memories of Drew Bledsoe and Byron Leftwich.
Trask has heavy feet and can’t scramble. While he could get away with that at Florida, that could be cause for concern in the NFL. Also, he needs to work on his ball placement, something he could do with the Raiders. Jon Gruden likes quarterbacks, he hasn’t been able to develop many but he likes them nonetheless. They could groom Trask as a backup quarterback. After all, Las Vegas can’t keep signing Nathan Peterman every offseason… or can they?
Outlook: Round 3
The Raiders need to draft a safety, right? This year’s class isn’t very deep, but that shouldn’t deter the team’s brass from taking one. Richie Grant, Jevon Holland, and Trevon Moehrig should be at the top of their draft board. However, if they decide to address other needs early in the selection meeting, Shawn Davis could then be an option.
Davis’ biggest red flag heading into the draft is that he struggled with injuries throughout his collegiate career. More recently, he injured his hamstring at Florida’s Pro Day. Also, he doesn’t have ideal size at 5’9″ and 202 pounds. On the other hand, he’s got a penchant for jumping routes and make plays on the ball. Moreover, his intelligence and range should help him find success in the NFL.
Outlook: Round 4
You could argue the Raiders have drafted plenty of cornerbacks in recent years. However, how many of them are of the starting-caliber variety? Just like the wide receiver position, Las Vegas has volume at cornerback but not much talent. Trayvon Mullen should start in 2021 but it’s uncertain who will play opposite of him. While Damon Arnette could end up playing at a high level, they need someone to push him and the rest of the group. Marco Wilson could very well be that man.
Wilson was a four-star recruit out of high school. Back in his freshman year at Florida, he gave up just 17 passes on 40 targets. Nevertheless, he hasn’t shown any improvement since then. Also, he needs to work on his tackling skills and needs to be more disciplined. Then again, he has something coaches can’t teach, aggressiveness. That alone makes him worth a pick in the fifth or sixth round. Maybe defensive coordinator Gus Bradley can finally get him on the right path.
Outlook: Day 3 pick
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