Raiders Draft: Seven Rounds of Fun with Fanspeak

In the spirit of draft week, and feeling inspired after reviewing Mel and Todd’s combined mock draft effort, I grabbed my good pal Nick Hjeltness, and we had a back-and-forth of our own.

For those unfamiliar with Nick, he does some really strong work for Just Blog Baby, covering the Raiders and over at numberFire as well.

01.14 (Ryan): Sheldon Rankins, DL, Louisville

The easy choice for me at 14, especially with the other familiar faces already off the board. Rankins would provide the interior pressure that this line has been missing. With names like Khalil and Bruce off the edges, Sheldon fits nicely, and gives Oakland a potentially dominant defensive front.

A senior that stood out in Mobile, some have suggested that Rankins may be a tad smaller than McKenzie prefers, so we’ll see if that comes into play. If he makes it past New Orleans, there should be no hesitation when Oakland’s on the clock.

02.44 (Nick): Karl Joseph, FS, West Virginia

To follow up Sheldon Rankins at 14th overall, Oakland continues to build on the defensive side of the ball with the selection of Karl Joseph.

If not for his ACL tear in October, Joseph might be a lock as a first-round pick, so he presents incredible value at 44th overall. Joseph might be undersized, but he certainly doesn’t play like it. He can dish out punishment with the best of ’em, while also offering the ability to cover in both man and zone.

Alongside Reggie Nelson, the back-end of Oakland’s secondary is in good shape.


03.75 (Ryan): Deion Jones, OLB, Louisiana State

It wouldn’t surprise me if Deion Jones is off the board to start Day 2, so I love this value here for starters.

A player similar to Ohio State’s Darron Lee, Deion Jones is all over the place on film. Like Lee, Jones needs to add some bulk in order to survive in the league, but when that happens, he has all the athleticism to help unlock success.

General managers are looking for these “new” linebackers: smart, quick, and rangy. Blessed with the aforementioned movement skills, Jones has no fear getting into it at the line of scrimmage.

It’s easy to see Coach Ken pounding the table for this guy.

04.144 (Nick): Robert Aguayo, K, Florida State

A Florida State kicker hailed as the next big thing? It’s only right Robert Aguayo ends up in Oakland.
With the offense being as dynamic as it is, the Raiders need a sure-thing at the Kicker spot to convert when the offense fails to do so. Janikowski has had a great run, but this a team that is getting younger and getting better. Aguayo accomplishes both.

Players such as Paul Perkins and Nick Vigil were tempting, but the idea of being set at Kicker for another 15 years sealed the deal.

05.143 (Ryan): Kalan Reed, CB, Southern Mississippi

Just glancing at Reed, you’re probably wondering why he’s still on the board in the 5th?

I don’t get it, either.

Reed looks the part from a height, weight, and speed standpoint. Then you get to the tape, where he’s consistently making plays on the ball. He can play man or zone; the folks over at Pro Football Focus absolutely love him. He just pops, and it’s difficult to find a notable shortcoming in his game. One of the highest ceilings of any cornerback in this entire class.

I’m sure he’ll get questioned for “only” playing at Southern Mississippi, but Kalan can ball. Period. Draft him.

05.154 (Nick): Blake Martinez, ILB, Stanford

Arguably the position with the least amount of talent on the roster, ILB is in need of some help.
Enter Blake Martinez.

Martinez isn’t a flashy player, but he’s a quality one. He’s physical, can play downhill, and is a reliable tackler. He’s got great instincts and also offers some value in coverage.

06.194 (Ryan): James Bradberry, CB, Samford

I believe Oakland comes away with at least two defensive backs in this draft.

Much like Reed, Bradberry passes the eye test. This pick is a little more projection, but he certainly has the tools to develop. He excels in press, and does his best work at the line of scrimmage. He doesn’t quite have the anticipation skills of Reed, and occasionally gets caught playing soft in coverage. He’ll have to answer similar competition level questions, but he’s well-worth the dice roll in the sixth.

07.234 (Nick): Dominique Robertson, OT, West Georgia

For their final pick of the draft, the Raiders look to get some help at offensive tackle.

Dominique Robertson is small-school prospect with extremely long arms and a powerful upper body. He impressed enough to earn an invitation to the NFL Combine, where he held his own against better competition. He could develop into a quality right tackle under the tutelage of Mike Tice.


Catch me on Twitter: @StillRyanFive

Follow Nick on Twitter: @nickhjeltness