With sixteen days remaining until the 2018 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders look to fill out their roster. As a result of an overactive free agency period, Oakland’s draftees will push the new signings for roster spots and snaps.
The Raiders will enjoy plenty of great options in the first round this year. Roquan Smith, Tremaine Edmunds, Vita Vea, and Derwin James flew off the board before the tenth pick. Not to worry RaiderNation, the Raiders selected the best available player on defense, Denzel Ward. Ward, the best cover corner in this year’s draft, will pair up with former Buckeye teammate Gareon Conley, to form a young and talented duo. The 2017 AP All-American dominated opposing wide receivers last season, allowing only two passes of 22 yards or more at Ohio State. Paul Guenther brings some serious talent in the defensive backfield for the upcoming season with this pick.
Round 2 (Pick 41) Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford
Harrison Phillips dominated during his time at Stanford. In 2016 and 2017, Phillips collected 144 tackles, 27 TFL’s and 14.5 sacks at the “Farm”. The two time All-Pac 12 performer boasts an unbelievable motor and displays a high football IQ at his position. Not to mention, a knack at making plays all over the field. Phillips shows the ability and determination to come in day one for the Raiders and complete for a starting spot in Paul Guenther’s new 4-3 defense.
Round 3 (Pick 75) Joseph Noteboom, OT, TCU
If TCU OT Joseph Noteboom sits in this range, the Raiders need to consider him. First, they have glaring tackle holes and Noteboom could start on the right size. Blessed with agility and the ability to reach wide-ranging ends, Noteboom’s athleticism fits hand-in-glove for Tom Cable.
Round 4 (Pick 110) Marcell Ateman, WR, Oklahoma State
Eventually, Jon Gruden will choose a wideout. At this point, Marcell Ateman fits the bill. Ateman stands 6’4” and will present Derek Carr with a redzone target that can body corners. In the open field, Ateman possesses enough burst to win vertically.
Round 5 (Pick 159) Nathan Shepherd, DT, Fort Hays State
At 6-foot-5, 315 pounds, this small-school prospect is physically imposing and very athletic. Shepherd is a moldable inside pass rusher. He will need some seasoning — a year or two — but that is what many fifth-round prospects require. Uses his hands well, but needs to develop an edge and mean streak
Round 5 (Pick 173) Michael Dickson, P, Texas
The 6-foot-3, 208-pound Sydney, Australia native has a big and accurate leg and can make the punting of Marquette King a vanishing memory. Dickson averaged 47.4 per punt in his final year at Texas with 42 of his 84 kicks landing inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. Thirty-three of his punts results in fair catches.
Round 6 (Pick 185) Holton Hill, CB, Texas
A big (6-3, 200) and athletic (4.49 40) corner that is a pick-six specialist (two interceptions returned for score this past year); Hill’s biggest knock is attitude — suspended for violating team rules. That will cause a slide, but if there is a squad that can straighten him out, it is a Jon Gruden-led team.
Round 6 (Pick 212) Nick DeLuca, LB, North Dakota State
While he is not going to wow you athletically, DeLuca will outsmart you. The heady linebacker has a high football IQ allowing him to compensate for his athletic shortcomings. The Raiders had a linebacker similar to DeLuca in the past — Greg Biekert.
Round 6 (Pick 212) Joe Ostman, DE, Central Michigan
While he may be light in the breeches (236 pounds), Ostman is a Gruden Grinder to a T. A relentless wrecker, Ostman has excellent hand technique to go with a nose for the quarterback. Meanwhile, he may need to become a maniac special teamer at first, but can develop into a sub package rusher.
Round 6 (Pick 217) Scott Quessenberry, C, UCLA
Serving as a consistent and quality pivot to Josh Rosen, Quessenberry is a solid all-around prospect. Not one aspect of his game stands out, but that is not a bad thing. Gruden noted he loves current center Rodney Hudson because of hustle and intelligence, Quessenberry has that.
Round 7 (Pick 228) Equanimeous St.Brown, WR, Notre Dame
The combination of size (6-5, 214 pounds) and speed (4.48 40) coupled with an accurate strong-armed quarterback in Derek Carr and you will see St. Brown’s capabilities. Will need to work on his ability to break free of physical coverage. However, he has talent.