With all of the signings and trades, the Oakland Raiders still find themselves with gaping holes. For them, the draft gives the franchise a golden opportunity to stockpile young talent. Granted, we all know that Jon Gruden loves veterans, but the nucleus of the team needs playmakers.
Round 1 (Pick 4) Josh Allen, DE, Kentucky
In 2018, the Oakland Raiders tallied 13 sacks. With Arden Key currently employed as the only edge rusher, Allen makes sense. Originally, the thought that Montez Sweat would be an option, but his recently diagnosed heart condition prevents the Raiders from selecting him at four. Allen immediately gives Paul Guenther’s defense a perimeter threat. Allen returned to school and vastly improved his game. Through developing better hand technique and quicker processing, he turned himself into a plug and play starter. Count on him for double-digit sacks in his first season.
Round 1 (Pick 24) Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
For the entire run of Reggie McKenzie, the Raiders failed to draft and develop a middle linebacker. That stops here; With Bush, Oakland enjoys a speedy playmaker that can cover, play downhill, and command the middle of the defense. Although the Raiders signed Vontaze Burfict to a one-year deal, odds are he will not play the entire season. Plus, Bush can excel on the outside, playing there in college on occasion.
Round 1 (Pick 27) Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
With Jared Cook looking to cash in on free agency, the Raiders needed a replacement. Fant brings a similar skillset, including speed down the seam. The Raiders need a playmaker in the middle of the field. While the Raiders do employ three other tight ends, none of which possess the big play ability that Fant serves up.
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Round 2 (Pick 35) Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State
Despite the Raiders placing a second-round tender on Daryl Worley, Gareon Conley needs a bookend. To his credit, Oruwariye will battle bigger wideouts and compete down the field. With Keenan Allen and Sammy Watkins lurking, Oakland needs bigger corners with the ability to stay hip-to-hip.
Round 4 (Pick 106) Connor McGovern, G, Penn State
With the trade of Kelechi Osemele, the Raiders will shift Gabe Jackson back to his natural left guard spot. As a result, McGovern will compete with Denzelle Good. McGovern’s punch and power will help open up holes.
Round 5 (Pick 140) Maxx Crosby, DE, Eastern Michigan
Crosby’s cerebral approach combined with technique and quickness will catch Paul Guenther’s eye. With a dearth of edge help on the roster, the Raiders could develop Crosby into an eventual starter/subpackage talent
Round 7 (Pick 218) Ryan Finley, QB, NC State
When the Raiders released AJ McCarron, his void leaves Nathan Peterman as the only backup to Derek Carr. Finley could provide Jon Gruden with the one draft pick that he covet most: a developmental quarterback. Finley possesses a strong arm, quick feet, and excellent touch. Under Gruden, Finley can slowly learn the ropes, while collecting reps in the preseason and garbage time.
Round 7 (Pick 235) Tony Pollard, RB, Memphis
Granted, the Raiders boast a crowded backfield, yet the electricty that Pollard brings cannot be denied. Imagine Gruden lining him up in the slot, setting him in motion. Plus, Pollard owns extensive pass catching experience. In space, he will provide the Raiders with an explosive playmaker. Plus, he ran seven kickoffs back for scores, so that added element exists.