Silver and Black Today’s NFL Draft Analyst Kelly Kriner may not make some friends in Raider Nation, but as someone who studies the draft 12 months a year, and as a lifelong Raiders fan, upon reflecting on the first round, he’s just underwhelmed.
When John Gruden came out and said he was going to take the game back to 1998 he wasn’t kidding.
With three first-round picks and many holes to fill, Raiders fans should have been ready for anything. What Raider fans got was a draft that was missing the sizzle but heavy on the steak.
After an offseason that saw the Raiders swing for the fences with trades and free agency, it was a little disheartening to see them gear down for the NFL draft. After a few days, looking back at the first round selections, I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed.
Let’s be honest, for most Raider fans the Jets taking Quinnen Williams at No. 3 sucked the air out of many draft rooms. Ed Oliver and Josh Allen are both exciting players but they would be looked at as a consolation prize in most eyes.
When Mayock and Gruden threw the first curveball of the draft and took Clemson’s talented Clelin Ferrell, it was a mix of shock and disappointment. I like Ferrell, but I view him as a high floor/low ceiling prospect that while not a reach at No. 4, doesn’t have the potential impact of Oliver or Allen.
Taking a running back in the first round is mostly maligned in the new era of NFL front offices. I have no problem with drafting a RB if he is an elite talent. I don’t think anybody views Josh Jacobs as an elite prospect on the level of Gurley or Barkley. Jacobs was the consensus best RB in the draft class, but being the best of a weak bunch doesn’t equate to being a first round pick. Jacobs is a true three-down back in a league that doesn’t not values a true three-down back as they did in 1998.
Karl Joseph has not worked out the way the Raiders planned so obviously they double down and draft Karl Joseph 2.0 — Johnathan Abram. Abram is a box safety who would rather separate the wide receiver’s head from his body than separate the ball from the receiver. He was unable to work out during the draft process because of a shoulder injury, which isn’t ideal for someone who tries to lay the wood on every single play.
The Raiders got talent with all three of their picks — there is no denying that. For me, I wanted to see a team that took the big swings in the offseason to take big swings in the draft as well.
Ferrell, Jacobs, and Abram all fill holes for a team with many holes. My problem with the picks is they fill a couple of positions that are not high-value positions in the NFL. These picks will always be compared to the talent that was on the board at the time of the picks.
In the movie “Tin Cup” David Simms, the character played by Don Johnson, when asked about a par says: “I’ll take 18 of them.” That’s what this draft feels like to me: the Raiders, who were swinging for the fences with trades and free agency, decided to take three pars in the NFL draft.
Like I said before, I’m not mad I’m just disappointed.