Don’t Sleep On Raiders Taking Walker Little Early In First Round

Many of Las Vegas Raiders’ first-round picks over the past two years have shocked and confounded people. This year’s draft is likely to be no different.

Who is Walker Little?

Walker Littler played left tackle at Stanford. At six foot seven and 320 pounds, he has excellent size to be an NFL left tackle. His instincts are very good, and he has solid athleticism, but he is not much of a ‘people mover’. On tape, Little looks like he could be a good starter at the next level. However, there are concerns about the validity of that tape. The former Cardinal has not played since August of 2019. He suffered a season-ending knee injury that year and opted out of the 2020 season. This has caused significant uncertainty as to how he projects, and his draft grade is all over the place. He could be the 11th tackle prospect in the draft with a late third-round grade.

If the Raiders draft Little, they would most likely trade back. Let’s say for example that they have Little as their number-four tackle behind Penei Sewell, Rashawn Slater, and Seven Jenkins, and those prospects are all off the board. General manager Mike Mayock might start taking calls about moving down because Little doesn’t have a first-round grade. Depending on which quarterbacks fall, a team in the mid to late 20s could look to move up.

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This would be a classic Raiders move

Taking Little in the first round could look like a major reach, as most mocks have him going on Day 2 or 3 of the draft. Picks that are considered to be a reach when compared to the consensus big boards have been a staple of Mayock’s tenure so far. Clelin Ferrell was expected to go in the teens when the Raiders selected him at number four overall.

The Raiders shocked the football world when they drafted Damon Arnette 19th overall. Even before Mayock arrived Gruden and his staff had made some questionable calls in 2018. With the help of offensive line coach Tom Cable, Gruden spent a third-round pick on a small-school project tackle in Brandon Parker.

To be fair, there is nothing wrong with “getting your guy.” However, it feels like Las Vegas has wandered pretty far off the beaten path lately. Little has played one game in the last two years and could be a Day 2 selection. Nevertheless, Gruden and Mayock trading back a few sports and selecting the Stanford standout would be par the course for the duo.

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Top photo: Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

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