7-Round Mock Draft, Volume I: Pre-Combine

Well, it’s that time of year again you guys.

As this is all pre-Combine, when we’ll undoubtedly have players both jump up and tumble down boards after the week in Indianapolis concludes, this is a very “rough draft” in a sense. In order to provide a better lay of the land and hedge bets, I’ve provided my pals with not one, but two scenarios.

Both mocks were completed using the Fanspeak “On The Clock” mock draft generator.

In the first scenario, selections were made using Fanspeak’s big board (in this example, Budda Baker at 24).

The second mock was completed using Matt Miller’s (of Bleacher Report fame) board.

While I may not agree with these rankings, for this exercise, it is what it is. Please don’t get too riled up, or type in all caps, and yell in my mentions.

mock1 (fanspeak) 01.12 mock1 (miller) 01.12

Round One

Budda Baker‘s been a player that I’ve come back to nearly every single time, and I’m quickly zeroing in on him as a favorite at 24.

I think he’s going to have an outstanding combine and be one of those aforementioned names that’ll fly up boards. Baker would provide an instant-upgrade to Reggie Nelson who, in his defense, provided the gaudy interception numbers but also showed his age on the field just as often. Budda’s going to make an appearance in one of the first “#FilmWithFive” pieces, so be on the lookout for that.

Moving along, plenty of fans have called for an upgrade on the interior, where pressure was nearly nonexistent this season.

That’s where Jaleel Johnson steps in.

He’s not receiving the buzz that other defensive linemen are getting at this point, but that’ll change as we push toward draft day. I think he easily works his way into the first round, and Oakland would be wise to hustle to the podium if he’s sitting there at 24. I’m sure we’ll read some Sheldon Rankins comparisons throughout the #process for Johnson, who may appear undersized to most, but I’m telling y’all he makes things work:

A free safety and a defensive linemen aren’t the only choices for Oakland at 24 overall. The folks over at PFF put together a list of their top 32 prospects, and more than half a dozen fit for the Raiders. You can scroll through said list, if you’re into that sort of thing:

Defensive backs certainly standout in this class, and depending how the board falls, McKenzie will have his choice – whether it be a cornerback or safety.

In that same series of tweets above, I also briefly mentioned my love for Solomon Thomas. This is still real:

One name (curiously) left off of PFF’s list was WR/RB/all-around play-maker Curtis Samuel, who played for a school out in Columbus, Ohio. It could be due to position questions (he’s a slot wideout for me, please), or size, or some other nonsense I’m sure we’ll read from now until April. Regardless, he’s a player, and one that I’d take as early as 24. More on that at a later date, however.

Round Two

In both scenarios, I made it a point to come away with a cornerback. I’ve been rather vocal all season, and despite the “splashy” signing and new money, both Sean Smith (facts) and David Amerson have been largely underwhelming (just facts) for the Raiders. As such, the secondary remains a notable concern.

Realistically, and as good as Reggie has been when it comes to the draft, it’s unlikely that Oakland comes away with two starters in the spring. Could they draft a player and perhaps sign a name? Maybe. But for now, let’s start with at least one corner in the first three rounds, deal?

This may be a tad bit high for Chidobe Awuzie, but that’s because I’m probably higher on him than most. He’s been a standout to consistent PAC-12 football-watchers throughout his four years at Boulder. He’ll probably come in at just a touch over 5’11” and sports an athletic build with the wheels and hips to match. For me, he checks all the boxes in addition to being able to play inside, covering the slot, or on the outside.

Corn Elder is everything that Raiders’ fans wanted DJ Hayden to be, and more. Unlike Awuzie, Elder’s specialized in the sense that he’s going to flourish in the slot He’s a complete shutdown there. Furthermore, I’m not sure you’ll find a better pure tackler amongst this already noteworthy cornerback class. Assuming McKenzie’s willing to “break the threshold”, this is an easy away to forget all about drafting a certain somebody at 12 overall.

Round Three

Truthfully, at this point, I’ve watched two tackles. I’m not sure I’ll watch very many more. Instead, let me tell you guys about Jim, who’s graded plenty of them.

Jim Cobern is a good friend, and one of the hardest working and brightest draft minds that I know of. When Jim tells me to put a name on the list, he gets added to the list. No questions asked. Mr. Cobern has Erik Magnuson as a borderline first rounder, so this was a pure value pick in this mock. Chances are, he goes closer to Jim’s ranking, but Magnuson would come in and start at right tackle day one. No more Howard or Watson questions to deal with.

Evan Engram has been one of “my guys” when I first caught a glimpse of him at Mississippi. In Oakland, he’d be a monster-threat playing that “big slot” role, adding to an already potent offense. Engram’s a difference-maker that Mychal Rivera isn’t, and one that we’re not sure Clive Walford is (he isn’t). I also think Engram’s a better blocker than he’s given credit for. A no-brainer in the second, I’d sprint to the stage in the third round if he were to tumble a bit.

Round Four

This is where things start to get fun. The talent pool starts to thin out a bit, but there’s still value to be had.

Much like Evan Engram in the third, I’d be surprised if Samaje Perine was still hanging around in the fourth. Walking away with Perine in the fourth would become my favorite draft pick ever, I think.

With Samaje Perine – and this is assuming Latavius Murray walks, of course – you’re getting a true, 3-down running back who’s a stout 235 but bringing hips and feet to the table that normal 235 pound backs do not possess. Perine might get “overshadowed” by his teammate Joe Mixon at times (who’s an elite runner in his own right), but a lot of eyes will be wide open once the numbers go official at the Combine in a couple of months. He’s freaky.

Kendell Beckwith is a bit of a question mark at this point, given the injury (ACL), but could end up solving for Oakland’s issues at middle linebacker. A true Mike, when healthy, Beckwith certainly looks the part. If you’re doing the box score thing only, you’ll notice he fills that up, too. When you throw on the tape, you see a tenacious player in the mold of a more “traditional linebacker” who’s instincts consistently stand out. Keep checking in on the rehab progress as Beckwith holds some serious value depending where he’s selected.

Round Five

In the second mock draft “scenario”, we added a weapon in Evan Engram.

Hoping back on board with the first mock, and sticking with the offense, we can add a spark to the slot there as well. Isaiah McKenzie, the former four-star athlete they call “The Human Joystick”, McKenzie would provide a valuable addition to not only the slot, but also on special teams where he’s a menace on punt returns. The knock? Isaiah might barely come in at 5’8″.

Josh Jones in the fifth is a true testament to the depth of this year’s secondary class. He’d fight Nelson for that starting spot shortly after walking into Alameda.

Round Six

In March or so, we’re going to look back and laugh seeing Gerald Everett once mocked in the sixth round.

Missed out on Hodges, Engram, Njoku, etc.? Don’t stress. Everett’s going to end up just outside that tier when all is said and done.

Aaron Jones played football at UTEP.

Nobody watches UTEP football games, so we all missed out on some greatness as Jones was literally the entire offense.

Round Seven

Orion Stewart is a name that doesn’t come up in conversation much, but could gain some steam after the workout numbers are posted.

The athletic safety (who could probably fit that linebacker/safety “moneybacker”-type role) looks at home in the box, where he’s been stout against the run. However, he’s done well to improve his stock this past season, adding a handful of interceptions and pass break-ups, putting a stamp on his well-rounded game. I could add something generic here like, “he’s got the height and speed that teams covet in the secondary.” He does.

Admittedly, I’m not sure Josh Malone hangs around until the end of the draft. He’s the near-ideal height-weight-speed receiver on paper, and the tape shows much of the same. For the Raiders, he’d be the perfect replacement for Andre Holmes (another height-weight-speed player), who may or may not be back in 2017.

Adding additional EDGE help is rarely frowned upon. This time, in the form of Ken Ekanem.

Jerome Lane is a converted linebacker who’s flourishing at wide receiver nowadays. Much like Aaron Jones at UTEP, unfortunately, not many folks are tuning in for Akron football games. Lane might be worth the price of admission alone. Check the brief write-up below, and read through to the “interesting facts”. Again, Jerome’s an athlete, and obviously the #genes run in the family:

Housekeeping item: Volume II will be live shortly after the Combine wraps up. That’s the plan for now, anyway. Expect many new faces, in addition to a few draft-crushes reappearing and remaining the same.

Catch me on Twitter: @StillRyanFive