The Jon Gruden era starts today with the NFL Draft. Here’s what Oakland should do during the entire 2018 NFL Draft.
Full Disclosure here: I took a few attempts at drafting the Raiders for seven rounds. On my first attempt, Saquon Barkley fell to me and I had to take him. I doubt that happens anywhere outside of Fanspeak since Barkley is the consensus top player in this draft. If it did happen, I’d expect the Raiders to jump on him immediately. Regardless, that first pick changed the whole projections of the draft. Thus, I used my second attempt which seemed like a more realistic approach.
Round One: LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
The Raiders defense was bad at all levels. If they’re moving Bruce Irvin to pass rusher than that makes linebacker an even bigger need. It is a little worrisome to take a player so young this high but Edmunds has the NFL bloodlines for that not be a concern. He can develop into a generational talent and that’s why Oakland will take him.Edmunds can be a true SAM outside linebacker who can create pressure off the edge too. He’s a big and physical player at age only 19. Otherwise, Oakland probably trades out with Smith, Chubb and Fitz off the board. It is a little too high to take Guice, McGlinchey or Ridley but Oakland might.
Round Two: OT Kolton Miller, UCLA
Kolton Miller in the second round is great value. He is an ideal developmental right tackle piece for the Raiders. There’s talk about the Raiders even trading back to get him in the first round.Either way, I know McKenzie wouldn’t pass on him since Miller is super athletic and he got a lot of experience at UCLA. Miller can start at RT immediately and develop into a left tackle eventually.
Round Three: WR Deon Cain, Clemson
Cain is a sleeper in this draft class. He has the size, speed and college pedigree to make an immediate impact. He was inconsistent at Clemson but his route running and refinement are underrated.For Oakland, they get an explosive playmaker who can challenge for WR3 duties immediately. Plus, he might develop into a legit starting receiver if he works on his concentration and consistency.
Round Four: S Terrell Edmunds, Virginia Tech
Why not take the older brother of Tremaine? The Raiders need help in the secondary including strong safety. Edmunds is experienced, productive and can develop behind the veterans that the Raiders signed this offseason.
Yes, they have Obi Melifonwu and Karly Joseph as recent high draft picks at the position but Obi might be turned into a nickel back or linebacker. Edmunds could also be a linebacker on passing downs. He could be a third safety too. He’s a highly instinctive player with good athleticism to contribute on special teams and develop into a starter.
Round Five: DT R.J. Mcintosh, Miami
This is a low risk, high reward pick for the Raiders. They need help at defensive tackle. Mcintosh is a true three-technique with experience getting upfield and into gaps. He should be able to push for playing time and develop into a starter.
Round Five: RB Bo Scarbrough, Alabama
Once of the biggest names in college football over the past two years, Scarbrough is the forgotten running back in this class. He is a tall and explosive runner who can catch and run the ball through any gap. Oakland gets a nice running back to through into their deep competition at a great value.
Round Six: DL Hercules Mata’Afa
The Raiders already have some undersized edge rushers so why not grab another one? Mata’Afa was unblockable as a three technique defensive tackle in college. He’s quick and physical enough to play in the NFL despite his lack of size. The Raiders bring him in hoping his high-motor can rub off on some of the other defensive lineman.
Round Six: CB Michael Joseph, Dubuque
Joseph isn’t the biggest corner and he doesn’t have a big school pedigree. However, he can run and has a solid frame. He also has elite ball skills. With so many sixth round picks, the Raiders can afford to take a chance on another developmental player at a position of need. Oakland has a ton of corners on the roster already so Joseph has the benefit of getting a season or two to adjust to NFL talent.
Round Six: P JK Scott, Alabama
We all know the Raiders cut Marquette King this offseason. They need a punter and have the six round capital to spend one on a specialist to compete in camp.
Round Six: WR Deontay Burnett, WR
Another great value pick. Burnett doesn’t have the size, strength or speed you want in a modern receiver. However, he is an experienced player who has come up in big for USC. He’s worth a pick in the later rounds if he can develop into a nice third and fourth receiver that can do the dirty work and occasionally stretch the field.
Round Seven: DL Kentavius Street, NC State
Again all players this late are gambles and Kentavius Street is a great value here. He tore his ACL in the draft process but he was considered a middle round draft pick. Street lacks the length or size to play defensive end in the NFL and his toughness for the inside is questioned. Regardless, he has the pass rush production and athleticism to win as an interior rusher. The Raiders need some interior pass rushers and the access of picks lets them give Street time to recover.