2019 Draft: “The Shadow Mock”

So, this is my first time actually mapping out and “participating” in this sort of exercise. All credit goes to the man, Mr. Joe Goodberry, who has been running with this for several seasons now. In essence, when your favorite football team is on the board, you make the selection. If there is a trade up or a trade down, you have that board to work with. You are the “shadow general manager” for the team. If you’re like Goodberry, and you do this for long enough, you essentially build out a 53-man roster that you can manage and even import into Madden and all that fun stuff.

Before I share my thoughts and picks below, it is critical that you read my Raiders’ draft summary where I hand out “grades”. I think I’m probably a tougher grader compared to most, but I really did like this class for Oakland. I just hated the value, especially on most of the early selections. Anyway, with that said, you’ll probably be more upset with what I would’ve done below, so let’s get to that now:

The pick: First Round (No. 4 Overall) – Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

My shadow pick: IDL Ed Oliver, Houston (1.09)

In a perfect world, Quinnen Williams (or Nick Bosa, for that matter) slips to 4, and Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock are hugging it out as they scribble down his name and hand in the card. Oliver is a top-3 player in his own right, and should’ve been treated similarly. He was right there. Pairing him with Mo Hurst would’ve given the Raiders a young, dangerous duo for years to come. To be clear, and as I stated in my draft recap, I actually like Ferrell! I thought he was a top-15 player and he comes in to bolster an obvious position of need. I get it, you guys. I don’t think this selection and scenario was anywhere close to being as egregious as last year’s debacle in the first-round. So that’s a big win at the end of the day, I guess.

The pick: First Round (No. 24 Overall) – Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

My shadow pick: EDGE Montez Sweat, Mississippi State (1.26)

The late, heart issue-related concerns (which, as it may turn out, probably isn’t even a concern in the end) didn’t keep Sweat out of the first-round. Shocker. I think most front offices learned their lesson last year after seeing Hurst slip all the way to Day 3. Sweat carries a relatively safe floor with arguably the highest ceiling, given his ridiculous test scores. He’s just scratching the surface, many would tell you. Many like clichés this time of year and I’m no different. I want to use them all and use them all excessively. Tacking on Oliver at 4 and then adding a new presence on the edge like Sweat would’ve given the Raiders a completely revamped front, and quite possibly turn their position of weakness into an immediate position of strength.

The pick: First Round (No. 27 Overall) – Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State

My shadow pick: CB Byron Murphy, Washington (2.01)

Landing a top-3 player (Oliver) a top-10 player (Sweat) and my top graded CB is what dreams are made of. Murphy isn’t the special athlete some of his former Husky teammates were, but his elite production, ball skills, and recovery ability (hips) make him a pretty safe bet to make a confident jump to the next level.

The pick: Second Round (No. 40 Overall) – Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson

My shadow pick: WR A.J. Brown, Mississippi (2.19)

I’m still surprised Brown fell where he did after he turned in the Combine performance that he had. We know he’s more than athletic enough, and he pairs that with tremendous box scores and production along with strong #tape. I don’t know what other box or boxes he’s left unchecked? This would’ve been a no-brainer for me, and his addition would’ve perfectly occupied the slot for Oakland, giving the Raiders arguably the league’s best trio of wide receivers.

The pick: Fourth Round (No. 106 Overall) – Maxx Crosby, DE, Eastern Michigan

My shadow pick: EDGE Maxx Crosby, Eastern Michigan (4.04)

I enjoyed and supported this selection during draft weekend. I like Crosby’s potential, and I think he came off the board at the right spot. If I had to choose a different player, just for the sake of rocking the boat, I also liked Iowa’s Anthony Nelson (4.05) at the same position. Crosby needs an NFL strength and conditioning program in the worst way, and if his frame accepts another 10-15 pounds of muscle, the ceiling is notably higher.

The pick: Fourth Round (No. 129 Overall) – Isaiah Johnson, CB, Houston

My shadow pick: IOL Michael Jordan, Ohio State (4.34, compensatory)

I’m certainly a little reluctant here, given who the Raiders employ as the position coach, but I can appreciate the need to bolster the offensive line with Derek Carr under center.

Fourth Round (No. 137 Overall) – Foster Moreau, TE, LSU

Fourth Round (No. 129 Overall) – SAF Deionte Thompson, Alabama (5.01)

Thompson’s slide didn’t necessarily surprise, but at this point in the draft, he’s almost a screaming value. His elite range would’ve been a welcomed addition to the defensive backfield, one where we’ve seen enemy wide receivers consistently take the top off.

Fifth Round (No. 149 Overall) – Hunter Renfrow, WR, Clemson

Fifth Round (No. 149 Overall) – LB Blake Cashman, Minnesota (5.19)

The Raiders were busy in free agency, and came away with two starting players at the linebacker spots. Both Vontaze Burfict and Brandon Marshall should prove valuable in some capacity, for a season or two, but neither are long-term answers. Enter Cashman, one of the Combine’s standouts at the position. Check out Lance Zierlein’s draft notes on him and tell me he wasn’t at least floating around on Gruden and Mayock’s board: “Former walk-on to team captain” and “tough guy who lives for football”. They want to pack the locker room full of those kids (self-starters and high-character players that just love ball).

Seventh Round (No. 230 Overall) – Quinton Bell, DE, Prairie View A&M

Seventh Round (No. 230 Overall) – TE Alize Mack, Notre Dame (5.17)

I can’t quit Mack. His career was too up-and-down, and his draft slot obviously reflects that. Still, he’s a solid athlete who possess the talent needed to make an impact at the next level. The underwhelming box scores coupled with the character-type concerns had him just dodging undrafted free agent status, but he’s exactly the type of player you gamble on toward the end of Day 3 – question marks and all.

For argument’s sake, if you had to redo a pick or two or three, who would you have drafted and why?

Catch me on Twitter: @StillRyanFive