Three Potential First Round Targets For The Raiders

Andrew Weidman
Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden, center, watches during the first half of the team’s NFL preseason football game against the Green Bay Packers in Oakland, Calif., Friday, Aug. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

The Oakland Raiders had….. a pretty bad season in 2018; there’s no sugar-coating it. The season didn’t seem like a re-building year, but many are pegging it as just that given the results. Trading Khalil Mack before the season, and then Amari Cooper in mid-season proved that fact. Other than quarterback Derek Carr, there isn’t another superstar playmaker on the team; which makes their #4 pick in April’s draft even more important.

Josh Allen – OLB/DE Kentucky

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Nick Bosa is likely going pick #1 or #2, leaving Allen on the board for the Raiders. Jon Gruden and the Raiders can say all they want about not missing Khalil Mack, but that simply isn’t true. Mack finished with 12.5 sacks for Chicago this season, and the Raiders as a team finished with just 13 sacks, which was dead last in the NFL, with the next closest team finishing with 30. Allen is a dynamic edge rusher that the Raiders need. He can line up anywhere along the line, and play off the ball and rush, drawing comparisons to Michael Bennett or a Leonard Floyd hybrid because of his ability to drop back into coverage.

Ed Oliver – DT Houston

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If the Raiders miss out on Bosa/Allen, Oliver is the next best thing. Jon Gruden was instrumental in Warren Sapp’s dominance as a top interior defensive lineman in the NFL. Oliver has been a force up front for Houston, recording 22.5 TFL as a freshman in 2016, then 16.5 in 2017. Oliver’s season was cut short in 2018, only appearing in eight games, recording 14.5 sacks. He has shown a decent amount of pass rushing ability, recording 13.5 sacks in three years. Playing against Patrick Mahomes twice a year, fortifying the defensive line is especially key.

Devin White – LB LSU

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Other than Arden Key, who does show promise, the Raiders are absolutely awful at linebacker. In a 3-4 defense, having two great inside linebackers is key. White has been all over the field in his three years at LSU, registering 256 tackles in the past two years, grouped along with 7.5 sacks, and 25 TFL. White is a franchise level defensive player, with similarities to Jaylon Smith.