Raiders: Making the case to trade up to draft Jeff Okudah

Raiders (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Raiders (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Las Vegas Raiders are in desperate need of cornerback help and could fill the need by trading up to select Jeff Okudah in the 2020 NFL Draft.

The Las Vegas Raiders expect to be one of the most active teams during the 2020 NFL Draft.

The team’s 12th and 19th overall picks places them in the same ranks as the Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers as teams with multiple selections in the first round.

This leaves Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock with a plethora of options when teams officially go on the clock on April 23rd. The Raiders could potentially keep both of their selections to overhaul weaknesses at the wide receiver or defensive units.

While less likely, the team also has the capital to trade up in the draft to select a potential franchise quarterback as the heir apparent to Derek Carr. Players like Justin Herbert, Jordan Love, and possibly even Tua Tagovailoa could conceivably be in play.

However, there is one other option that I believe the team should seriously consider: trading up to draft superstar cornerback Jeff Okudah. Here’s why adding Okudah would be a wise investment.

The Premium Talent

Okudah has been the consensus No. 3 overall pick in many mocks leading up to the 2020 NFL Draft — and rightfully so! He projects to be a shutdown player at an extremely important position.

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The modern NFL is predicated on high scoring areal attacks. Quarterback is the most important position on the field. Coverage corners and pass rushers are racing stride-for-strive for the second most important.

Okudah projects to be an immediate shutdown corner at the NFL level. He has excellent agility and footwork. He is capable of being a difference-maker in both man and zone coverage. He is also a phenomenal combination of size and speed.

He has the top-end speed and athleticism to stay with speed-oriented receivers like Tyreek Hill and Brandin Cooks, while his 6-foot-1, 200-pound frame will also allow him to wrestle with more physical talents like Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins.

Okudah will also enter the NFL and instantly become one of the most dangerous defenders at attacking the ball at its highest point. He’s scary good at this skill.

He resembles a Pro-Bowl caliber receiver while the ball is in the air. His explosive leaping ability and sure hands should allow him to become a consistent turnover threat for the next decade.

Okudah has been compared to greats like Jalen Ramsey. His only notable weakness is (like many top corners) his ability to tackle consistently.

The Price Tag

This is where this decision gets interesting. Every member of Raider Nation would agree that adding a player like Okudah would be a tremendous benefit. However, a great deal rides on the price of the transaction.

It seems clear that Joe Burrow is a lock to go first overall to the Bengals. Chase Young also seems like an overwhelming favorite to go #2. If the Raiders want to ensure they are able to land the star corner, it will likely mean engaging the Lions for the third overall pick.

This would certainly require both the 12th and 19th picks. And possibly more. Which begs the question: which is more valuable — one top-three prospect, or two top-20? It would be difficult to part with both picks for a singular player.

However, this conversation becomes infinitely more interesting if Okudah begins to slip past the third pick. The possibility that teams will trade into the top-three to select a top quarterback seems to be gaining momentum as the draft approaches.

If a quarterback desperate team does move up to select a signal-caller, Okudah could slip outside the top-five. If this scenario occurs, Gruden should do everything in his power to maneuver the Raiders into position to add the star corner.

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Why Okudah is Worth the Cost

Do you remember the Raiders’ roster construction in the late 2000s? While the team has an overall void of talent, they did boast one consistent superstar — All-Pro Nnamdi Asomugha.

Remember the luxury of knowing that, no matter what else was happening, that Asomugha had his side of the field locked down?

Okudah offers the team the same type of talent. Barring a catastrophic injury or unconscionable trade, the Raiders are locked into a division rivalry with MVP Patrick Maholmes and his Pro-Bowl partner Hill.

Keenan Allen will also be a problem for the foreseeable future. For what its worth, the Denver Broncos have been connected with several different first-round caliber receivers in the 2020 draft. A superstar corner would be a tremendous asset.

The Raiders have done an excellent job of revamping a traditional porous defense during the free agency period. Their linebacking corps and defensive line look ready to help the team compete. Okudah is the final piece in building a dangerous defensive unit.

Raiders reportedly expected to take a defensive tackle in Round 1. dark. Next

Sign me up for the next incarnation of the Nnamdi Asomugha era. Sign me up for Jeff Okudah in silver and black!