Oakland Raiders: First-round 2019 NFL mock draft, Senior Bowl edition

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images /
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Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images /

Now you’re probably thinking the Raiders should have spent that first pick on a defensive end instead of Williams, right? It makes sense, seeing as most folks assume an edge defender is the team’s primary need this offseason.

However, we have to keep a couple of things in mind here. First, the Raiders actually have plenty of young, high-upside talent along the defensive line. Players like Arden Key, Maurice Hurst and P.J. Hall all flashed pass-rushing prowess as rookies, and the hope is they’ll take another step forward as sophomores. Better coverage will only help in that regard.

Second, the 2019 draft class is loaded with defensive line talent. Because of this, one of those top edge rushers is going to slip through the cracks and make their way down to the Raiders at No. 24. In this instance, I’m going with Montez Sweat as the guy to suffer said slide.

While he’s not on the team they’re coaching at the Senior Bowl, the Raiders will get a good look at Sweat on Saturday. And based on the early reports out of Mobile, he figures to grab their attention early and often.

Sweat is an explosive defensive end who uses his excellent first step and powerful punch to force his way into opposing backfields. Assuming he shines during the Senior Bowl, expect Gruden and Co. to keep a close eye on him leading up to the 2019 NFL Draft.