Waiting for the NFL Draft feels like the most interminable period of the year. Yet, when looking at the Oakland Raiders roster, there are holes, theories, and options. Below, three pre-draft takes.
The Chris Warren Hype is Surprising
Granted, Warren checks the boxes of what the Raiders under Gruden wants in a back. First, he is bigger. His 250 pounds and running style must make Cable and Gruden excited about the potential. Next, Warren produced in the preseason, tallying 292 yards on 58 carries. However, these yards arrived at the expense of many third or fourth-string defenders. Yet, RaiderNation saw enough of him to declare his readiness for the starting role. With no less than a half-dozen backs available in the draft, the Raiders need to look elsewhere. If Marshawn Lynch does not return, a RB-by-committee feels like the right move and the smartest thing. Additionally, Warren, in concert with Richard and a probable draft pick could give the Raiders a versatile group of running backs.
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When the Raiders traded Kelechi Osemele and signed Trent Brown, this set in motion an interesting chain of events. If the Raiders keep Kolton Miller on the left side, Brown gives Oakland an elite right tackle. Even switching them would improve the line. Where does that the second-year tackle. To be honest, the Raiders need to draft a guard, slide Jackson to left guard, and use Parker as a swing tackle. Now, that may seem like a slight. Yet, whom does Parker start over? Currently, at this point in his development, operating as a swing tackle fits.
Two DE Minimum
If you look at the current construction of the Raiders roster, only three defensive ends exist. Arden Key, Josh Mauro, and the newly signed Alex Barrett are the only three edge rushers on the roster. If you look at the edge depth in this draft, envisioning the Raiders grabbing multiple pass rushers is not a stretch. Yet, which ones? Honestly, Paul Guenther loves long-limbed, explosive rushers. While Key fits that build, he struggled during his rookie season. Drafting an Allen (either Josh and/or Zach), Winovich, or Collier will set the Raiders up for the next few years. Although they will not replace Khalil Mack, this next edge superstar gives the Raiders the start of something to build on.
The Oakland Raiders, under Jon Gruden enter the draft with hope, promise and the dream of a better tomorrow. Now, let’s see what happened.