With draft day less than a week away, the Las Vegas Raiders should be getting in all the last-minute film sessions possible. The Raiders created a few holes for themselves in several different positions and will look to plug those holes with young talent.
General manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden are on the verge of what feels like a very crucial draft. Not just crucial to be competitive in 2021 but for the long-term future of the organization. While this was true about the previous two, this one has a much different feel around it.
This draft will put the decision to dismantle the offensive line on full blast. A majority of the Raiders’ 2021 picks could be used to fill out the line with starters and solid back-ups. After moving on from Trent Brown this offseason, there appears to be a glaring hole at right tackle specifically.
However, recent comments from Mayock would lead you to believe otherwise. As a friendly reminder, it is lying season and teams don’t want to show their hands before draft day. The Raiders will most likely focus on the offensive line and pass rush above all else, so who could be joining the silver and black come April 29th? Going into this draft the Raiders’ needs are as follows, according to Dan Parr of NFL.com:
- Offensive line
- Defensive tackle
No. 17 – OT Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech
Christian Darrisaw is one of the most physically ready offensive tackle prospects in the draft this year. Standing at six foot five and weighing 322 pounds, the Virginia Tech standout isn’t someone opposing pass rushers will bull rush through. According to Pro Football Focus, the Maryland native did not give up a single sack in the 2020 season
Furthermore, PFF gave Darrisaw a 95.6 grade for 2020, which is a massive leap from the 80.3 grade he received in 2019. His best grade came from run blocking, where he posted a 94.5 mark. Then again, the 90.8 in pass blocking isn’t anything to sneeze at.
There are some possible hiccups to this pick though. It’s more than possible Darrisaw goes before 17. Also, the former three-star recruit played exclusively at left tackle in his college career. Meanwhile, the Raiders are in need of a right tackle. Even though they would most likely move him to the right side, the move will most definitely come with some growing pains.
No. 48 – EDGE defender Carlos “Boogie” Basham Jr., Wake Forest
This is one of those if-he’s-there-take-him picks. Basham stands at 6 foot 3 and weighs 275 pounds. He played slightly above weight in 2020, so shedding some of those extra pounds would be imperative before entering an NFL season.
When right, Basham will produce sacks at an eye-opening rate. Something the Raiders are currently lacking outside of Maxx Crosby. In 2019, the Wake Forest product logged 10 sacks in 13 games. Last year, he only had five total sacks but that was in seven games. Also, he missed time while recovering from COVID-19.
The Virginia native plays hard, strong, and fast. He’s quick off the ball and has a relentless motor about him. He also refuses to come off the field if given the option. That, however, is a partial downside as it’s noticeable when he’s gassed. The only other major knock is that sometimes he fails to get off blocks quickly. Nevertheless, having another energetic, strong, relentless edge is what the Raiders could need to revitalize their lethargic pass rush.
Raiders have plenty of options
This class of offensive tackles is by far the deepest position group within this draft. While Darrisaw would be an instant starter they can find really good talent at 48. With rumors of Micah Parsons dropping potentially falling if he’s at 17 the Raiders cannot afford to let him get past them. However, that’s more than likely a pipe dream as it’s unlikely his level talent slides out of the top 10.
The Raiders also have to address the free safety position within this draft. While they can find talent in the third round if they’ve fallen in love with a prospect that might be the pick at 48. The best-case scenario might just be trading out of 17 if possible. However, the draft, and Gruden, are highly unpredictable and anything can happen. With a lot up in the air for this draft, we might be in for a wild three days come the end of April.
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