Raiders News: Tom Telesco, Antonio Pierce.

Mock Mania: Primetime Cornerback Top Pick In Las Vegas Raiders’ 7-Round Draft

The NFL Draft is here, so which route should the Las Vegas Raiders general manager take? It sounds like there could be a lockdown corner at 13.

It’s finally upon us: the 2024 NFL Draft.

I’m sure you’ve got draft fatigue already, but if you’ll indulge me and the Raider Ramble, here’s my take on the mock draft exercise.

Things are going to be interesting over the course of three days, and the Las Vegas Raiders own eight total picks over the course of the seven rounds. That can, of course, decrease or increase if the team makes any trades, but all eyes will be on the Silver and Black’s opening pick, currently the No. 13 overall selection.

Make no bones about it; general manager Tom Telesco has the final say on roster decisions, although he’s received valuable input on what head coach Antonio Pierce is looking for in players. I used ProFootballNetwork.com’s draft simulator for context. And, in hopes of appeasing Pierce, I attempted to trade up to land a quarterback—you guessed it, the coach’s assumed preferred prospect—LSU’s Jayden Daniels.

No dice.

Thus, let’s begin:

7-Round Mock Draft: Las Vegas Raiders Get Their Guy…

1st Round: No. 13: Terrion Arnold, Cornerback, Alabama

With quarterbacks going 1-2-3-4 and my ideal target of tackle Taliese Fuaga from Oregon State gone, I went the best player available (BPA) route here. Staring at both quality cornerbacks in Alabama’s Terrion Arnold and Toledo’s Quinyon Mitchell, I went with the more technically sound Arnold.

At 5-foot-11 and 189 pounds, Arnold reminds me a lot of former Raiders cornerback Phillip Buchanon, just minus the pure speed. Arnold is every bit of a thief and takeaway artist, but he hits and tackles like a much bigger defender. He’s equally effective covering receivers, as he’s comfortable getting his nose dirty in run support.

With Arnold’s ability to play on an island outside or shift inside to cover nickel/slot, along with the mental toughness required for the position, the Raiders land a prospect with No. 1 corner potential.

Now don’t get it twisted; if I weren’t of the Telesco mindset, the pick would’ve been Mitchell. The Toledo corner is way faster and more athletic than his Alabama counterpart, but I gave Arnold the edge due to the quality of competition.

2nd Round: No. 44: Kingsley Suamataia, Offensive Tackle, BYU

Pierce wants to inflict pain on the opposition and bring ill intent, and this prospect, who can play at left and right, is the type of drive blocker and finisher that fits the bill. Well-built at 6-foot-4 and 326 pounds, Suamataia is a pancake producer that mashes defenders.

Experienced in BYU’s wide and midzone blocking schemes, he’ll fit right into the style Raiders offensive line boss James Cregg is going to deploy.

While Suamataia brings a mean streak, power, and mobility, he’s very raw in terms of technique and could stand to learn under Kolton Miller and/or Thayer Munford Jr. But once refined, the Raiders are going to have a brute at right tackle in Suamataia.

Patrick Graham gets playmakers…

3rd Round: No. 77: Junior Colson, Linebacker, Michigan

A physical downhill defender who packs a wallop and has innate stopping power as a tackler, Colson is an ideal fit for Pierce’s philosophy. Serving as the middle linebacker in the Wolverines’ 4-2-5 scheme, Colson is also a scheme fit for the style of defense the Raiders play under defensive boss Patrick Graham.

Yes, injury concerns are valid for the 6-foot-2, 238-pound Colson, but that’s the nature of the beast due to his physical style of play. Las Vegas needs more quality depth at linebacker, and a tackling machine who can man the middle of a nickel defense like Colson is an attractive prospect.

4th Round: No. 112: Bucky Irving, Running Back, Oregon

Telesco has hinted strongly at the Raiders going with the committee approach at tailback, and while the team does have Zamir White and Alex Mattison in tow, Irving provides an ample pass catcher who can dart through a defense to daylight.

With a similar skillset to veteran back Ameer Abdullah, Irving is a 5-foot-9, 192-pound running back that can make defenders miss in space, catch the rock, and use his vision and creativity to gain yardage or take it to the house. He’s not going to be a power runner inside but can make defenses pay in wide zone runs, and Irving would be a quarterback-friendly target out of the backfield.

Tom Telesco and the Raiders get their QB…

5th Round: No. 148: Joe Milton III, Quarterback, Tennessee

Pierce and Telesco both spoke of the OG Raiders philosophy of throwing the ball deep downfield, and there’s arguably no prospect in the draft with the cannon arm Milton possesses. He’s also an athletic and mobile signal caller—something lacking in the Raiders quarterback room, too.

But Milton is very inconsistent with his decision-making, and he’ll make rifle throws that simply need to be feathered in. Still, for all his physical tools and potential, the 24-year-old gives Las Vegas a howitzer-armed quarterback that’s head and shoulders above Aidan O’Connell and Gardner Minshew.

6th Round: No. 208: Sataoa Laumea, Offensive Guard, Utah

Able to line up at right guard and right tackle, the bulldozing offensive lineman also has experience in the zone blocking scheme, making him both a philosophical and schematic fit for the Silver and Black.

Laumea’s mean streak is obvious from the get-go, as is his power, as he explodes and pops defenders both in the run game and pass protection. He’ll need to refine his footwork and ability to move in space, but the fundamentals of a strong, versatile offensive lineman are all there.

Raiders add to their offense…

7th Round: No. 223: Anthony Gould, Wide Receiver, Oregon State

The Raiders lack top-end speed at the wide receiver position outside of promising Tre Tucker, and Gould brings that in spades. With a 4.39-second 40-yard dash, Gould has the tack speed, body control, concentration, and hands to make for a deep bomb specialist in Las Vegas’ offense.

Sure, he’s sleight of frame at 5-foot-8 and 174 pounds, but that just makes him more elusive and a pain to cover.

7th Round: Evan Anderson, Defensive Tackle, FAU

A shorter nose tackle at 6-foot-1 and 320 pounds, Anderson is a space-eating and block-occupying run stuffer—something Las Vegas needs more of. He’s able to push the pocket and get in the backfield for stops, but it’s his ability to open things up for other defenders that will prove valuable at the NFL level.

Anderson is strong, has surprising quickness to go side to side, and would be a wear-you-down type rotational nose tackle.

*Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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