With three days until the 2019 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders sit in an enviable spot. Armed with three first-round selections, which include a Top 5, the team can build their core immediately. However, can Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock build their destiny, starting from this draft? To provide possible answers, FPC Raiders writers Ray Aspuria, Pete Camarillo, Anthony Zaragoza and Terrance Biggs offer up this mock draft.
Round 1 (Pick 4)
Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama (Biggs)
Without a doubt, the best defensive linemen in the draft. Regardless of the current tackle rotation, Williams gives the Raiders an immediate boost. With quickness, above average strength and intellect, he affords the Raiders a change to start crushing the pocket and forcing quarterbacks laterally.
Round 1 (Pick 24)
TJ Hockenson TE, Iowa (Aspuria)
Jared Cook was a key weapon last season, and this Hawkeye fills the void. Hockenson gives the Raiders a weapon in the passing attack and run game. While not as fleet-footed as Cook, Hock is a solid receiver and blocker — something Cook could not do as well.
Round 1 (Pick 27)
The only real knock on Ya-Sin is that he only played a year of D1 football and needs to polish up his technique. Outside of that, he has ideal size and speed for a modern corner on the outside. He moves well and was productive at both levels during his college career. If he bulks up he might even play safety too. Not too many corners are state champions at wrestling like he was so you know he can develop the strength and physicality to play a high level at corner.
This might be a tiny bit of a reach, but It’s a tough board and Oakland needs a guy they can count on developing. Still, The Raiders find themselves Tempted by a slew of receiving options like D.K. Metcalf and A.J. Brown but they already got their tight end and they have a dozen receivers already on the roster. There’s also a few guards still available you could make a case for but that’s not exactly a premium position. The first round linebackers are gone.
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Thus, we turn our heads to the secondary. Nelson Adderley or Taylor Rapp makes sense and they’ve both been mocked here. However, Adderley probably is a bigger risk-reward player and a better fit for what the Raiders need. Still, there’s a chance either or both might be available later in the second. Further, I’m in the camp that Joyner and Joseph will start at safety. Hence, the Raiders take a corner that both fits BPA and fills a need.
Round 2 (Pick 35)
Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama (Zaragoza)
Mack Wilson – Although the Raiders signed Vontaze Burfict and Brandon Marshall this past offseason, they still need to add young talent to the defense. Mack Wilson is a tough physical linebacker that possesses the leadership traits required to lead. Wilson shows the ability to cover at his position, something that has plagued the Raiders linebackers the last few years. Solid pick for round two.
Round 4 (Pick 106)
Ben Banogu, DE, TCU (Biggs)
In Banogu, the Raiders could enjoy a versatile rusher with outstanding tools. First, his quickness places slower tackles at a disadvantage. Next, his burst allows him to get home on stunts. When lining up straight across, the nimbleness from Banogu will allow the Raiders to rush just four.
Round 5 (Pick 140)
Hjalte Froholdt, OL, Arkansas (Aspuria)
Gruden harps the Raiders have a hole at guard and the team does well, adding Froholdt this late into the draft. Big and strong enough to absorb interior rushers, Froholdt held up well in film against Alabama’s Quinnen Williams.
Round 7 (Pick 218)
Karan Higdon, RB, Michigan (Camarillo)
The Raiders have a need at running back. Why not draft someone like Higdon? He topped a thousand yards his senior year after being a solid contributor. He doesn’t have great size or speed. He’s not a great receiving threat or elusive. However, he’s a willing blocker. Higdon plays physical and gets downhill. His one-cut style should work well with the Raiders scheme if he gets an opportunity. This late in the draft, he is probably the best player available too.
Round 7 (Pick 235)
Gerri Green, Edge, Mississippi State (Zaragoza)
Playing alongside Montez Sweat, it’s no surprise people forget about Gerri Green. A team captain last season for Mississippi State, Green has the ability to rush the passer on the end (8.5 sacks the last two years) and line up at OLB. Paul Guenther loves versatility on his defense, and Green fits that’s mold.