The 2021 NFL Draft is quickly approaching, and general manager Mike Mayock must come out of it with a good haul. After less-than-preferable returns last year, the Las Vegas Raiders must ace this one. While we wait for the player selection meeting to commence on Thursday, let’s dive into a scenario that could unfold on Thursday.
NOTE: This Mock Draft was made using The Draft Networks Mock Draft Simulator. It is a reflection of what Jason would do, not a prediction of who the Raiders would take.
Round 1, Pick 17: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE (Miami)
One of the most polarizing players in the entire draft, Phillips is also one of the most talented. This is because of his injury history, his concerning amount of concussions caused him to undergo a medical retirement while at UCLA. However, he’s coming off a healthy year at Miami and displayed the ability to dominate. Even though it would be risky, pairing Phillips with Yannick Ngakoue would give the Raiders the best pass rush duo they’ve had in a long time. Maxx Crosby would also be a beneficiary as a pass-rush specialist.
Round 2, Pick 48: Dillon Radunz, OT (North Dakota State)
After moving on from Trent Brown, the Raider have a gaping hole at right tackle. While starting a rookie is not ideal, Radunz is a redshirt senior with plenty of experience. He excelled at the Senior Bowl, showing his improved athletic ability and a good pass set. Although he faces a large jump in competition, the North Dakota State product is a mature player who possesses all the ability to be an NFL starter.
Round 3, Pick 79: Richie Grant, S (UCF)
Richie Grant is a player who would be a steal if available at this spot. Also, he may be the best safety in the draft. A player who excels at playing in a single high role, he fits Gus Bradley’s defense very well. The concern with the UCF standout is his age, as he will be 24 in his rookie season. While you would not want to take a player that old in round one, it is perfectly reasonable in the third. The Raiders can only hope he is available at this point of the draft.
Round 3, Pick 80: James Hudson, OT (Cincinnati)
Taking another stab at offensive tackle, James Hudson is more of a project than Radunz. At 6’5″ and 310 pounds, he is also one of the most athletic offensive tackles in the class. This combined with an innate mean streak makes him an exciting player to try and mold. He would be a fun and worthwhile project for Tom Cable.
Round 4, Pick 121: Alim McNeill, DT (NC State)
After releasing Maurice Hurst, adding another young defensive tackle won’t hurt. At 6’2″ and 305 pounds, Alim McNeill has a strange build for the position. With interesting potential as a pass rusher, he would provide good depth.
Round 5, Pick 162: James Wiggins, S (Cincinnati)
Another dive into the crop of safeties, James Wiggins would give the Raiders much needed depth on the back end. A player with good athletic ability, he profiles as a special teams stalwart who can play on defense in a pinch. Will have to overcome injuries as well.
Round 5, Pick 167: Kary Vincent Jr., CB (LSU)
While adding yet another young corner may be less than ideal, depth must be added at the position. A small corner at 5’9″, Vincent possesses the movement skills to be a valuable player in the slot at the next level. Allowing him and Amik Robertson to fight for that role should bring out the best in both players.
Round 6, Pick 200: Cornell Powell, WR (Clemson)
Cornell Powell of the most slept on players in the 2021 class. The Clemson product was quarterback Trevor Lawrence’s favorite down field target last season. While the Raiders have a deep receiver group already, Powell gives them high end potential while allowing them to dip into the Tigers talent pool yet again. He is player who is very likely to outplay his draft slot.
While the Raiders are unlikely to secure this draft haul, they would do well to get their hands on some of these players. One thing is for sure however, no one knows what the Raiders will do come draft night. One thing we do know though, is it will likely be controversial.
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Top Photo: Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group