With less than a month left until the draft, the time to identify draft needs for the Raiders draws close. Despite finishing 6-10, the Raiders maintain a fair amount of 2017 talent. In addition, Jon Gruden’s renovation of the roster looks to add even more playmakers to the fold. Below, is a mock draft for the first week of April. Pick numbers in parentheses
Round 1 (10)
Vita Vea, Washington DT
Logic: Although the Raiders inked Justin Ellis to a long-term deal, an inside push is needed. In addition, Ellis is run stuffer. On the other hand, Vea’s brute force and surprising nimble feet would give the Raiders a solid interior defensive line.
Round 2 (41)
Rashaan Evans, Alabama LB
Logic: With NaVorro Bowman still unsigned, Evans makes sense. His range, ability in space and rush skillset could give the Raiders a young LB to inherit the job if they re-sign Bowman.
Round 3 (75)
Chukwuma Okorafor, Western Michigan OT
Logic: Regardless of signing Breno Giacomini, the Raiders need young talent at tackle. Okorafor presents a solid punch and base, capable of thwarting rushers. While the right side could be home, Okorafor may find himself as Donald Penn’s apprentice.
Round 4 (110)
Equanimeous St.Brown, Notre Dame WR
Logic: St.Brown immediately gives both Derek Carr and Jon Gruden what they want. For Carr, St.Brown long frame and catch radius give the quarterback a wide window to fit the ball. Gruden gets his big receiver that he covets.
Round 5 (159)
Duke Ejiofor, Wake Forest DE
Logic: If you have watched Reggie McKenzie draft, you know he will take a mid-round flyer on a pass rusher. Ejiofor presents a polished edge rusher that incorporates a vast repertoire of moves.
Round 5 (173)
Logic: With Derrick Ansley taking over, you would expect an Alabama defensive back to find his way onto the roster. Brown relishes contact, provides run support and will help Rich Bisaccia’s special team units.
Round 6 (185)
Logic: On Friday, the Raiders released punter Marquette King. In that case, Dickson’s 45.3-yard average should help an offense that should not have to punt as often.
Round 6 (212)
Joe Ostman, Central Michigan DE
Logic: New DL coach Mike Trgovac brings an attitude of aggression to Oakland. Largely, his player will mirror that. At CMU, Ostman’s strength and motor netted him 26 sacks and eight forced fumbles. Although he will not win awards for aesthetic rushing, Ostman gets home with malice.
Round 6 (216)
Nick DeLuca, North Dakota State LB
Logic: During his tenure, Reggie McKenzie developed a habit of looking for lower-round middle linebackers. From Ben Heeney to Neiron Ball, McKenzie wants that ‘backer to pan out. DeLuca brings a toughness and downhill style to Oakland.
Round 6 (217)
Logic: Special Teams coach Rich Bisaccia stresses hard-hitting cover teams.In addition, Igwebuike brings speed and pop to that group. In addition, he can line up and cover in subpackages.
Round 7 (228)
Ito Smith Southern Miss, RB
Logic: Granted, Lynch and Martin will command the top two spots. However, have Washington or Richard accomplished enough to merit a roster spot? Meanwhile, Smith’s ability to catch swing passes and win in space should worry both defense and the job prospects of Washington and Richard.