10 Raiders Draft Observations (and Questions) to Kick Off the Week of the Draft

Just three days until the draft and the Raiders have options aplenty with their two first-round picks.

Let’s kick around a few thoughts, ideas, and questions, as the Raiders prepare for the most important weekend of the offseason.

The Cardinals and Jets could both draft a wide receiver ahead of the Raiders, but that should leave Gruden with at least one of the top receivers on his board (most would say Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, Henry Ruggs are top 3). A popular opinion is that teams should wait to draft a wide receiver because there are so many good WRs available. But using that logic, wouldn’t it make sense that the receivers at the top of this deep class figure to be even better than the top wide receivers in other years?

Which WR does Gruden want?

If he is drafting a wide receiver with pick 12, Gruden will be looking for an instant 70+ reception, 1,000-yard kind of player.

Which receivers in the draft fit that description? Probably not nearly as many as the draft wizards are talking up. Maybe five at most?

NBC Sports’ journalist (and political analyst) Peter King reported this week that Mike Mayock considers Lamb the most complete receiver in the draft while many believe Jeudy is the wide receiver Gruden is favoring. One or both should be on the board when the Raiders are on the clock at 12.

By the way, Gruden mostly sat out free agency in terms of adding offensive players. Do you really think he’s going to hold his breath even longer to wait and see which WR falls to him at pick 19?

King also believes the Raiders would consider Tua Tagovailoa if he falls to pick 12.

It is entirely possible that Tagovailoa will fall to the Raiders because there are a lot questions around him (none having to do with his character), but don’t look for the Raiders to draft him. Gruden wants to win now and drafting a third-string quarterback at pick 12 won’t be the best way to do that.

Pick 12 figures to be more tradable than pick 19.

This isn’t the ideal draft to not have a second-round pick because most believe there isn’t much of a talent gap between projected mid to late first-round picks and second-round picks. If the Raiders had a second-round pick they could feel a lot better about having two first-round picks. There will probably be teams calling about pick 12, but will the Raiders be open for business?

The Falcons (with pick 16) are one team known to be interested in trading up, but would pick 12 be high enough for them? Rumor is they considering a trade all the way up to pick five.

If the Raiders trade pick 12, they shouldn’t be disappointed if they end up with a wide receiver like Justin Jefferson or Tee Higgins. Both have played well against top college programs and both have proven to be excellent in the red zone – which is something that should excite Gruden.

If WR isn’t the pick at 12, is there a cornerback (other than Jeff Okudah) worthy of a pick that high?

There has been a lot of talk about C.J. Henderson as his stock has been rising (from a public standpoint at least) and a lot of times that means the hype is being artificially manufactured. Generally a top-10 prospect in the draft needs to have offered a little more production than what Henderson has shown. Henderson has real potential, but has his production been worthy of a top 12 pick?

The Raiders need to find a cornerback in the draft.

They filled some roster holes in free agency, but the Raiders still have real questions at cornerback. With no second-round pick, it’s going to be hard for Mayock to pass on a top cornerback in the first round. Last year Mayock proved he was willing to reach a little to fill a need. Could he do it again this year?

There are some very good safeties that are expected to be around in the late-first round and second round. In a perfect world the Raiders could trade down and add a safety that can plug into the starting lineup right away. Regardless of his size, Antoine Winfield Jr. has the ball skills to be a Pro Bowl safety. Remember, instincts are huge at safety. Winfield comes from a football pedigree and when was last time Earl Thomas was ineffective because of his size?

OK, it actually wasn’t that long ago.

Brian Chojnacki on Twitter

Derrick Henry is a monster. Literally made Earl Thomas his lead blocker on this play. https://t.co/5bx9ITmFlX

Last but not least… could the Raiders find themselves in the market for Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue?

It’s become obvious that Jacksonville isn’t getting a first-round pick for him. The Raiders don’t hold a second round pick, but how long before the Jaguars start thinking about taking a third-round pick (and possibly a little more) for him?

After all, Gruden said it himself. Pass rushers are hard to come by.

If the Raiders aren’t going to have an elite secondary, they better at least have an above average pass rush…

twitter: @raidersbeat


4 thoughts on “10 Raiders Draft Observations (and Questions) to Kick Off the Week of the Draft

  1. I would rather they trade the Jags the #19 and WR Williams for Nagakou and the #42 pick. I would take best receiver available at 12, Judy, Lamb or Ruggs and then take Claypool from Notre Dame at 42. That way Raiders have a top notch interior pass rusher, a speed receiver at 12 and a faster, younger, cheaper WR in Claypool to replace Williams. The salaries of Williams and Nagakou would be close to a wash. With these moves, Raiders offense is all set and they can use as many picks as they need to to address the secondary.

  2. Again, I say, take Henry Ruggs. He would put the Raiders on par with Tyreek Hill. One sports writer, very recently, said that Patrick Mahones effectively offers the Kansas City Chiefs what amounts to a “Get Out of Jail Free Card” due to his quarterbacking abilities. Of course, this is primarily, in part, due to having a wide receiver that can take the top off of any defense in the league and a very productive, if not indefensible tight end, in the form of Travis Kelce. Well, if Raiders management believes that it now has two premier quarterbacks, in Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota, and a tight end that is on par with Travis Kelce, then the logical next step would be to get a wide receiver with speed that is equivalent to Tyreek Hill. THEN, the Raiders would have an offense that could match the Kansas City Chiefs stride for stride. Further, the Raiders would have a very good, young and productive running back in Josh Jacob’s. Advantage Raiders!!! With all things then being equal, offensively, although i believe that the Raiders would have a better offensive line than the Kansas City Chiefs, the Raiders could actually contend for the AFC West Divisional Championship. Also, should the Raiders add either a second talented wide receiver at the number 19 pick or tackling machine Keith Murrary, from Oklahoma, either way, it is my belief that the Raiders would be a vastly more improved team than they were last year and be heading into the 2012 – 2022 season well positioned for a run at returning to playoff form.

  3. Yiannick is a definite talent, but don’t want to trade draft capital for a position where we have 3 young DE and newly acquired Nassib on a decent size contract. I’d rather add other positions to my team via draft and see if this foursome can bring the heat with a little more experience and a top DL coach in Marinelli. Plus hes gonna want a big $$$ contract.

  4. I’m usually a defense first person, but I’d take Lamb or Juedy with #12 then take hold Johnathan Taylor with #19. It would give Jacobs a lighter load, plus you could give Carr the option of having 4 sub 4.5 players on the field at the same time

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