Armed with ten picks, the Oakland Raiders will fill holes that lead to a woeful 4-12 season. Yet, with a surplus of cap room, everyone knows that Jon Gruden appreciates veterans. However, the draft affords the Raiders to actually introduce youthful talent and depth into the equation. Below, the pre-combine mock draft.
Despite drafting Mo Hurts and PJ Hall in 2018, the Raiders cannot afford to bypass Oliver. Blessed with a lightning first step and heavy, malicious hands, Oliver immediately improves the pass rush. Additionally, his presence and ability to knife into the backfield with slow the opponents running game.
Without beating the Khalil Mack melodrama to death, Oakland needs edge help. Arden Key flashed, but did not show the progress you would hope. On the other hand, Ferguson shows physicality and the ability to actually finish plays in the backfield. If the Raiders can land him, they will immediately jumpstart their perimeter pass rush.
In order to prevent teams from picking on the side of Gareon Conley, who made a leap in 2018, they need a shutdown bookend. Mullen’s twitchy yet smooth coverage will allow the Raiders to stop fearing the pass. With Hill, Williams, and Allen in the AFC West, the secondary needs an immediate upgrade.
Round 2, Pick 35 (Nasir Adderley, S. Delaware)
During the Senior Bowl, Jon Gruden saw the former Blue Hen standout. Karl Joseph needs a rangy playmaker next to him, allowing him to roam freely to make plays. Adderley profiles as a safety that play man, zone, or operate in the slot.
Round 3,Pick 66 (Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State)
If you look at the Raiders, in regards to their wideouts, there is a dearth of talent. Remember, Oakland will open up the wallet for a veteran wideout. One name that could draw interest is Tyrell Williams. Meanwhile, Kelvin Harmon, a polished threat with strong hands and the ability to win in just about any route, could eventually replace Jordy Nelson.
By drafting Henderson, the Raiders would let Jalen Richard walk in free agency. In all honesty, Henderson is a better back. First, he possesses better contact balance and breakaway speed. Early on, Henderson could provide a change of pace for the Raiders and a legitimate backfield threat.
With uncertainty and a lack of athleticism, the Raiders need help at linebacker. Pratt, a safety that outgrew his position, but retained his coverage ability fits here. While he can play downhill and make plays versus the game, Pratt would be key in stopping Hunter Henry and Travis Kelce. In addition, he possesses the quickness to stay cover backs.
Now, you would think that drafting Harmon in the third would suit the Raiders. Yet, the unit lacks quality depth. Seth Roberts looks to be a preseason cuts. Enter Williams. Right now, he runs sharper routes than Roberts and catches the ball with more certainty. Not to mention, he can return kickoffs, which is still another reason that he could slide in as a fourth wideout to start the season.
Round 7, Pick 220 (Drue Tranquill, LB, Notre Dame )
Currently, Marquel Lee, Jason Cabinda and a host of others inhabit the linebackers room. At this point in the draft, someone that can punish tight ends and provides coverage. Tranquill, another former safety will give Paul Guenther another valuable piece to use.
Overall, many regard Jon Gruden as a QB guru. Yet, can you name one young quarterback that he has mentored from Day 1? Stick gives Gruden the chance to develop a young passer. At NDSU, the accurate, very mobile Stick brings toughness to the surface. While he may never start for the Raiders, Stick’s skillset, complete with decent arm, would give the Raiders a player to stash and develop through preseasons and garbage time.