Friday Morning Draft Rumors: Raiders Version

By now you’ve seen the report that ESPN’s Todd McShay believes the Raiders are set on drafting Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith.

“I don’t know that they want to move up and go get him,” McShay said on Wednesday. “But I do know that there’s a lot of love for Roquan Smith in that building.”

McShay said he has also heard the Raiders being linked to Vita Vea and Tremaine Edmunds, who Gruden has mentioned in recent months.

“There’s a 19-year-old football player in this draft that’s a hell of a player,” Gruden said of Edmunds at the owners meetings in February. “We’re not going to discriminate against him because he’s 19. You’re the best player and you fit what we’re looking for, we’ll take you.”

Standing 6’5, with a freakish 83-inch wingspan, Edmunds is on par with anyone in the draft in terms of potential.

Nevertheless, Gruden, as you might guess, is looking for players with more than just an abundance of talent.

“Obviously, talent is what we’re looking for,” Gruden told Sports Illustrated this week. “You can’t play in pro football without talent. But we’ve had three team meetings, they haven’t been very long team meetings, short and to the point. The message has been on effort, it doesn’t take any talent to do the best you can, we’re putting a premium on effort, something each guy can control.”

Another name that has been swirling around the Raiders is Michigan defensive tackle Maurice Hurst.

Hurst was dominant this season, but because of a pre-existing heart condition, he seems to be losing momentum heading into the draft.

NFL network draft analyst Mike Mayock doesn’t have Hurst listed as one of the top six interior defensive linemen in the draft and Gil Brandt ranks Hurst as the 51st overall prospect.

Could the Raiders land Hurst in the second round or will they stay away from him altogether because of the health risk?

Some say Hurst is a better fit for the Raiders new defensive scheme than Vea, but if Vea can push two offensive lineman into the quarterback on any given play, he’ll fit in any system.

Considering all the quarterbacks that are projected to be drafted ahead of the 10th pick, the Raiders should be able to take a top-5 talent with their first pick.

If there is a player the Raiders love, he might just be there, but a trade down still seems like the most likely scenario.

Gruden reportedly wants to be aggressive in the draft. He’ll need a few extra mid-round picks for that to happen unless he can trade one or two roster commodities – Jared Cook (who continues to be talked about on the roster bubble) and a couple backup running backs come to mind. But who’s trading for a running back in this draft?

Lastly, the Raiders need to find at least 3 starters in the draft.

Defensive tackle might be the biggest position of need and NBC Sports Scott Bair says the Raiders are hell bent on improving their interior pass rush.

Gruden must find a defensive tackle in the first two rounds of the draft. He may actually want to find a couple before the lights go out on the draft.

Next on the list is offensive tackle. The Raiders are badly in need of an offensive tackle. The position has quietly (if that’s the right word) become one of the team’s greatest positions of need.

Left tackle Donald Penn turns 35 this month and probably only has another year in the tank – if that.

At right tackle, no one knows what the Raiders have. They might have a serviceable starter in the mix or maybe Vadal Alexander will surprise.

For what it’s worth, a report on Friday morning said the Raiders are high on UCLA left tackle Kolton Miller – a few of you have suggested they must be high to be high on Miller. Or something like that.

If the Raiders re-sign NaVorro Bowman, linebacker may not be a necessity, but with the interior linebackers in the draft, the Raiders could secure the position for a decade.

And one final note…

Is Khalil Mack signed yet? Lets get this one in the books already.

twitter: @raidersbeat


4 thoughts on “Friday Morning Draft Rumors: Raiders Version

  1. As just an passionate fan, here are my thoughts: OT Miller should be around at 15, possibly 20. Trading back 3 to 6 positions will add another second round pick to the Raiders. If we do trade down, take Miller to replace Penn, and then pick up an interior rusher and an LB in then second.

    I love LB Smith in the 1st round, but let’s be realistic, we need an LB that can be effective in the middle when blockers get past the line. That is a weakness in Smith who gets pushed around by bigger blockers, often getting taken out of plays. Smith would give us a huge boost in coverage if we put in the right defensive schemes, but will not be newly effective if you play him in others. We won’t be able to add a second pick if we go after Smith, and we need a LT to replace Penn, so now we are looking for an interior rusher in the third round. It’s possible to find effective help there, but dropping back in the first round, picking up a second round pick will go a long ways to to filling needs with players that will make a difference.

  2. I think Gruden’s comment about 19 year old player is smokescreen so the team probably is considering Smith above Edmunds. If reports on Smith falling down the board and other teams QB rush are true, we might acquire him and an extra second round by trading down to Buffalo, Arizona, or Miami spot. Still, I hope Fitzpatrick falls down to tenth pick for us.

    1. My thoughts exactly as far as smoke screen. I think gruden wants a certain team across the bay to think we want edmunds so that they’ll take him in front of us when really we want smith all along lol

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