In three days, the Las Vegas Raiders begin their new era in the desert from the safety of homes. With the pandemic forcing people inside, the draft will occur via teleconference.The Raiders are still chasing the Kansas City Chiefs and feel the Chargers and Broncos in the distance.
For this mock draft, the Raiders made two trades. Las Vegas sent the 19th overall pick to the Indianapolis Colts. In return, the receive the 34th, 44th, and 197th selections. Mike Mayock wants to get into the second round. As a result, netting two second rounders would achieve that goal. Next, the Raiders shipped the 91st overall to Minnesota. The Vikings send the 108th and 155th picks to Las Vegas.
Round 1, 12th overall (Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn)
Rationale: With the arrival of Rod Marinelli to coach, the line needs a bit more punch. The former Auburn standout gives the Raiders another interior threat that will give Clelin Ferrell a chance to shine. Either Mo Hurst or PJ Hall should worry.
Round 2, 34th overall (Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State)
Rationale: Derek Carr needs a go-to wideout, Tyrell Williams resides as the intermediate to deep threat. Meanwhile, the Raiders select Aiyuk as their high volume wideout and Number Four’s best friend.
Round 2, 44th overall (Cameron Dantzler, CB, Mississippi State)
Rationale: Mayock and by extension, Gruden prefers players that thrive in pressure situations. Dantzler stared down the LSU receivers and shut them down. Dantzler brings that confidence, agility, and cover skills to Las Vegas.
Round 3, 80th overall (Zack Moss, RB, Utah)
Rationale: Behind Josh Jacobs, the Raiders like a bruising back up to absorb carries and spell the workhorse. Moss’ brand of violence will make Gruden smile. While he flashes some nimbleness and ability to elude, Moss loves to plow over defenders.
Round 3, 81st overall (Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio State)
Rationale: By signing Nick Kwiatkoski and Cory Littleton, the Raiders attacked their issues at linebacker. Yet, in a 4-3 base, they still need to finally develop a linebacker. Harrison plays better downhill, stout versus the run and offering pass rush ability as a blitzer.
Round 3, 91st overall (Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR, Liberty)
Rationale: With Aiyuk, the Raiders solve their issues opposite of Tyrell Williams. In AGG, they double-dip at receiver. The productive college wideout gives the quarterback the vast catch radius and sneaky speed that should eventually supplant Williams in the future.
Round 4, 121st overall (Alex Highsmith, DE, Charlotte)
Rationale: Arden Key should be all out of chances. He can’t continue to keep a spot. If he does, he needs to fight for snaps with Highsmith. Unlike Key, Highsmith arrives with a full arsenal of pass rush moves that allow him to unleash them, regardless of situation.
Round 5, 159th overall (Tanner Muse, S, Clemson)
Rationale: Gruden and Mayock love Clemson athletes. Granted, Isaiah Simmons will be long gone and they should steer clear of Tee Higgins. However, the versatile Muse will start on special teams, and should rise up the depth chart as a hybrid. His size could see him operate in the box. On the other hand, the straight-line speed could see him thrive in limited coverage.
Round 6, 187th overall (Casey Toohill, LB, Clemson)
Rationale: The Raiders need all the burst from the front seven they can find. In Toohill, they could find a tweener that could see reps as strictly a pass rush specialist. Toohill excels bearing down on the quarterback. Paul Guenther could find a home.