The NFL Draft is rapidly approaching and the Oakland Raiders will be on the clock in just matter of days. The prognostication machine is running at full steam with pre-draft reports, rumors, and mock drafts coming out everyday from all corners of sports media trying to predict one of the most unpredictable events in all of sports.
One of the more intriguing teams in the draft happen to be the Raiders, as they are prime position to grab an elite level prospect or make a blockbuster deal to increase their amount of draft selections. The Raiders are in prime position to infuse their depth chart with some young, promising talent.
Here is my full draft mock for the Oakland Raiders, but I am not mocking any trades:
1. Round 1, (5) – Kahlil Mack, DE/OLB, Buffalo:
Despite a busy free agency period, which saw the Raiders add a number of different players to beef up their pass rush, but you can never have too many impact pass rushers in the NFL. Adding a defender like Clowney or Mack would give the Raiders an impact defender that they can build around for years to come.
Mack is an explosive edge rusher that displays great burst and acceleration coming off of the edge. He also has a solidly built frame that would allow him to hold up against NFL offensive linemen and he is strong enough to fight through blocks. Mack also possesses a relentless motor that is highly desirable to NFL personnel managers.
Mack makes sense for the Raiders with contract of Justin Tuck being just a two-year deal. Mack can be used a rotational and situational player during his rookie year. He then can be worked into the starting lineup, as Tuck is being phased out.
2. Round 2, (36) – Derek Carr, QB, Fresno St:
The Raiders passed on selecting a quarterback with their first round pick, but they are able to watch Carr slide right into their laps, as he is a victim of the slide of Bridgewater. Bridgewater falling pushes Carr into the top of the second round, which is great for the Raiders. The Raiders were rumored to be highly interested in selecting the prolific college passer and they get a chance to get great value, as well.
Carr has some of the best arm talent in this draft class. He possesses great arm strength that can make all the throws at the NFL level. He also displays good velocity and accuracy on his throws.
Carr is adept at reading coverages and recognizing incoming blitzes and make the correct pre-snap adjustments, due to his work in the film room. He can get flustered under constant pressure and will tend to rush passes.
He is highly underrated as an athlete. Carr has shown decent mobility to move around in the pocket and displays enough to speed to elude incoming pass rushers. Typically, he looks to pass while on the move, but he has shown a decisiveness to take off and scramble.
The Raiders need to find a quarterback that they can begin grooming to be their eventual starter. Matt Schaub is 32 years old, which means he is on the down slide of his career in the NFL. Adding Schaub lessens the need for a quarterback, but it does not prevent them from selecting one.
3. Round 3, pick 67 – Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee:
The Raiders let left tackle Jared Veldheer walk in free agency, which they then attempted to sign Rodger Saffold. The Raiders ultimately failed Saffold on his physical, which voided his contract, and were left scrambling to find a left tackle. They ultimately settled on former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Donald Penn, who will be 31 this upcoming season.
Richardson is an athletic freak with outstanding size at 6-6, 332 pounds and shows good explosiveness coming off the line. He is oozing with natural ability, but needs to refine his technique. He tends to fall back on just his physical skills, instead using technique and positioning. He would give the Raiders a young tackle to slot in a couple years for Penn. He also can provide them with immediate impact, as an extra in running and short yardage situations.
4. Round 4, pick 107 – Terrance Mitchell, CB, Oregon:
The Raiders upgraded their cornerback position, by bringing in Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown from the San Francisco 49ers. They also have last year’s first round pick, D.J. Hayden. Rogers is a bit long in the tooth, so having depth at the position is vital.
The Raiders were one of a few teams that attended a private pro-day held by Mitchell. Mitchell looked impressive and improved on a forgettable performance at the NFL scouting combine.
Mitchell is use to being the underdog, as he spent his time at Oregon in shadow of the much-more heralded Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. Mitchell’s body type is ideal for the position, as he is long and lean. He also flashes good quickness and agility, despite not showing great straight line speed. His best attribute is his play recognition, which allows him to bait the quarterback and then break quickly on the throw.
His lack of top-end speed leads to him to getting grabby with receivers, which will lead to penalties at the next level. Refining his technique and back peddle should allow him to mimic the movement of the receiver much better, which will allow him to play much cleaner coverage.
5. Round 7, pick 219 – Sean Parker, S, Washington:
Parker is an athletic, undersized ballhawk at the safety position. Charles Woodson is not getting any younger and getting a young guy to develop at the position is what needs to be done. Parker had 21 pass defenses and 11 interceptions during his career. He is also extremely physical in the running game. He needs to improve with his play recognition skills and can be overaggressive at times.
He would benefit from apprenticing under the tutelage of Woodson. He possesses a lot of the same playmaking skills that make Woodson special. At the very least, he becomes a solid special teams producer.
6. Round 7, pick 235 – Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon:
He is one of those late round flier picks, where you try to catch lightning in a bottle. Lyerla is a physical specimen at the tight end position, who could be a game changer. Lyerla is a legitimate first round talent, but his off-the-field issues are what are pushing him to be potentially undraftable.
Lyerla would add another dimension to the Raiders’ offense, which could solve the issues of not having a go-to receiver. He could have an impact like Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham with the right dedication, coaching, and support system. If not, he could end up out of the league in a matter of months.