While most prognosticators argue what the Raiders may do at the No. 4 position in the first round of this week’s NFL Draft, we take a look at the later first round and also what the team may do heading into Day 2.
The Raiders are in a unique position of having an unprecedented four picks in the top 35 at this week’s NFL Draft. With picks 24, 27 and 35, they are in prime position to control the direction of the draft late in day one and early on day two.
Given the strength is in the depth of this draft, particularly between picks 20 through 60 inclusive, it’s not inconceivable to see the Raiders trade down at least once to accumulate more picks.
Let’s take a look at some of the players the Raiders may target in this space, and why it makes sense to add them to the silver and black.
Safety (Nasir Adderley or Darnell Savage Jr.)
Why Yes: The Raiders defense was unable to force turnovers last season, and these two players would add a playmaking presence to the secondary to change that.
Why No: Pick No. 35 may be a touch early for either player to be selected, so they may be trading down targets later on Day 2 of the draft. The Raiders also signed a number of safeties this off-season (LaMarcus Joyner, Jordan Richards, and Curtis Riley) to create more competition at this position, thus adding an extra one in the draft may be slightly redundant.
Tight end (TJ Hockenson, Noah Fant or Irv Smith Jr.)
Why Yes: The Raiders currently do not have an established receiving threat at tight end on their roster. All three of the aforementioned would add another weapon to Jon Gruden’s offense and provide Derek Carr a reliable target over the middle of the field.
Why No: Gruden’s offenses haven’t traditionally featured tight ends, and he is rumored to be high on Darren Waller and Paul Butler to fill the void from Jared Cook’s departure to the New Orleans Saints.
Interior offensive lineman (Dalton Risner or Chris Lindstrom)
Why Yes: Unless the Raiders intend on Denzel Good featuring in a prominent role, Kelechi Osemele’s departure from Oakland leaves the Raiders one short at offensive guard. Both Risner and Lindstrom are near can’t-miss prospects on the interior of the line and would give the Raiders some added nastiness on the interior.
Why No: Offensive guard has traditionally been a position that can be adequately filled with later draft picks, so the Raiders may attempt to fill other needs to get more value out of the draft as a whole.
A slot receiver (Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown, Parris Campbell, A.J. Brown, Deebo Samuel)
Why Yes: The Raiders have prioritized the need for speed on offense in 2019, adding Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams as vertical threats on the outside. They do however lack an established shifty slot receiver to take advantage of the outside receivers’ presence. The AFC West has some great slot receivers including Tyreek Hill and Keenan Allen. And Gruden would love to add a name to that list in the silver and black.
Why No: After adding Ryan Grant and J.J. Nelson to the receivers room (in addition to Brown and Williams), there may not be any space on the roster to add an additional receiver.
Edge rusher (Clelin Ferrell, L.J. Collier, Jaylon Ferguson)
Why Yes: The Raiders need not one, but two edge rushers from this draft class. Drafting one at No. 4 overall won’t lessen this need. Of the three names mentioned, keep an eye out for Collier. The Raiders really like him and he has the requisite size and versatility to play multiple positions on the defensive line which defensive coordinator Paul Guenther craves.
Why No: The Raiders might take an edge rusher early and elect to fill other needs at these spots instead, especially if Gruden would prefer to add some more offensive weapons to the roster.
Running back (Josh Jacobs)
Why Yes: Gruden has been searching for a true three-down back ever since he returned as head coach in 2018. After being in on Le’Veon Bell this off-season, Gruden could go to the well in the draft and take coveted RB Josh Jacobs.
Why No: Jacobs has immense talent but has never been used as a true lead back, so there may be questions as to whether he can fit that role in the NFL.
Be sure to listen to the Silver and Black Today crew as they co-host the CBS Sports Radio 1140 NFL Draft Special covering the entire first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday. We’ll have in-depth coverage, interviews, and more on the Raiders historic first-round haul. You can listen anywhere in the world via the Radio.com app.