By Kenneth Frank James Berry
The AFC West is the gateway to the Super Bowl and all roads run through Kansas City which is why it’s been a long time coming for the Las Vegas Raiders.
For years they lacked draft capital but now with two first round picks and five in first 100 picks, the Raiders are major players. They also lack a second round pick and picks in the final two rounds. It’s hard to imagine them sitting out those rounds.
Round One (12): Defensive Tackle Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
It’s very realistic the Raiders get their man in the middle to help Mo Hurst, Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby. Kinlaw is a run stuffing, pass rush amoeba with an incredibly high ceiling and even better character and work ethic.
From being homeless to a team leader at South Carolina, Kinlaw dominated the Senior Bowl until knee tendinitis shut him down. This is a can’t miss pick. The last time Oakland held this pick they took D.J. Hayden over Star Lotulelei years ago. They can’t miss now.
Round One (19): Receiver Ceedee Lamb, Oklahoma
Quarterback, offensive tackle and linebacker could cause a lot of receivers falling and somehow, the Raiders still get their man in Lamb, whose spectacular catches and physicality are what the Raiders offense is lacking in an offense with no alpha receiver. Lamb helps put Tyrell Williams in his rightful place as a number two receiver and defines everyone’s roles in the offense.
Round Three (80): Reciever Antonio Gibson, Memphis
Gibson is too good to pass on at this point because of his ability to be a full time running back that can spell Josh Jacobs and his skill set to play in the slot. He’d be a day one starter as a kick and punt returner and would push Hunter Renfeow for reps which only helps give Derek Carr options to throw to.
Round Three (81): Corner Bryce Hall, Virginia
Hall had some first round buzz before injuries derailed a great senior campaign but his skill set and intelligence may lend to him playing nickel back and safety. He’s incredibly smart, tenacious and has great ball skills.
He comes in day one either taking a starters spot or solidifying his own. Hall’s college coaches have nothing but praise for him and head coach John Gruden loves guys who play all four years.
Round Three (91): Linebacker Logan Wilson, Wyoming
The Raiders have this thing where they purposely draft linebackers in the later rounds with hopes to develop them into stars. Historically that hasn’t happened in the past 10 years but Logan Wilson could change that.
He fared well at the Senior Bowl and tested great athletically. Wilson could be a solid piece to round out the starting linebacker Unitas well as being a special teams terror out the gate.
Round Four (121): Receiver Lynn Bowden Jr., Kentucky
You can never have too many playmakers and if the Raiders ever hope to outduel the Kansas City Chiefs they need playmakers all over the receiver room. Bowden lightening with the ball in his hands with an intelligence for space and running lanes that would make a running backs coach blush.
If he’s even still on the board at this point, Gruden has to build a wall of protection and weapons around Carr for this process to work. Bowden makes himself an x-factor no matter where they put him.
Round Five (160): Safety Julian Blackmon, Utah
Blackmon was the quarterback of a great Utah defense and with being a converted cornerback, he can be the perfect deep safety for Oakland and would be a great clash or styles with first round pick Jonathan Abrams.
Utah sends defensive backs to the league and Blackmon is seen as the best of the bunch. It would be a steal for Blackmon to fall that far and the Raiders someone to come in and push that safety group.