With the 2021 NFL draft now over, the wait for the regular season begins. The Las Vegas Raiders, as usual, were a hot topic during the player selection meeting for the wrong reasons. Taking Alabama offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood 17th overall might’ve been the most controversial one.
The Raiders rebounded on day two though, adding an instant starter to their porous defense. It will certainly be a long time until we can accurately grade this class but this is how it stacks up as of now.
Round 1, Pick 17: Alex Leatherwood, OT (Alabama)
The most shocking pick of the first round by far, the Raiders very likely could have gotten Leatherwood in the second round. This is not to say the Alabama product is a bad player. After all, he’s probably the best run-blocking offensive tackle in the class. He is a massive player at 6’6″ and 312 pounds. On the other hand, Leatherwood is very much a work in progress against faster pass rushers and his pass sets need a bit of work. This pick seems like one Tom Cable was likely campaigning hard for so it is up to him to make it worth it because the value is not there.
Round 2, Pick 43: Trevon Moehrig, S (TCU)
A player many thought the Raiders might make in the first round, Moehrig instantly becomes the Raiders starting free safety. The TCU standout is a great fit playing the middle third in Gus Bradley’s defense and gives that side of the ball a much-needed chess piece. Moehrig is a selection that changes the outlook of the whole defense, Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden knocked this out of the park.
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) May 1, 2021
Round 3, Pick 79: Malcolm Koonce, EDGE (Buffalo)
The irony of selecting another pass rusher from the University of Buffalo was not lost on Jon Gruden who said “last time we drafted a guy outta Buffalo he was pretty good”. This of course is referencing future Hall of Famer Khalil Mack. While Koonce is certainly not Mack, he gives the Raiders a rotational pass rusher after the loss of Arden Key and the potential loss of Carl Nassib. Koonce is a player who started rising up boards as the draft approached and has lots of potential in Gus Bradley’s defense.
Round 3, Pick 80: Divine Deablo, LB, Virginia Tech
A safety at Virginia Tech, the Raiders announced Deablo as a linebacker. At 6’3″ and 226 pounds, he fits the role of a sub-package linebacker well. The comparison often made for Deablo is often former Gus Bradley disciple Kam Chancellor as they have similar builds, went to the same school, play the same hard-hitting style, and even wore the same number. If the Raiders get half of Kam Chancellor out of Deablo it will be a great pick, but as of now, it is all projection.
Round 4, Pick 143: Tyree Gillespie, S, Missouri
Another collegiate safety, Gillespie is similar to Deablo in some ways. A good athlete with tremendous tackling ability, he projects better as a special teamer and backup in the NFL. He simply does not have the ability and ball production to last as a single high starter. If Johnathan Abram were to miss time, Gillespie could fill his role.
Round 5, Pick 167: Nate Hobbs, CB (Illinois)
A purely developmental prospect, Nate Hobbs blew up the Illinois Pro Day. These athletic traits show up on tape, as he is a great athlete who is still learning the position. After playing a lot of cover three for the fighting Illini, he projects as a good fit for Gus Bradley’s defense but has work to do in order to become a reliable contributor. There were better players available at this spot, but Gus Bradley often works his magic with cornerbacks, so the potential is there.
CB Nate Hobbs coming up with a play in red zone drill pic.twitter.com/d4KGqHWSKx
— Dave Revsine (@BTNDaveRevsine) August 21, 2018
Round 7, Pick 230: Jimmy Morrissey, C (Pitt)
A very tough NFL projection, Morrissey does not have the arm length you would like in a center. From walk-on to team captain, he was likely selected for his competitiveness. The Pitt product will be a project but is a low-key solid pick. He likely ends up on the practice squad.
All in all, the Raiders put together a draft class that will require lots of development from the coaching staff. In addition to the developmental players, they were able to secure starters with their first two selections. A very average draft class at this point in time, it has the potential to become substantially better or worse.
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