The Oakland Raiders selections in a three round mock draft by Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated.
In a post-Super Bowl mock draft, Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated dives into the first three rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft. In those rounds, the Oakland Raiders will be picking 24th, 56th and 88th.
Let’s jump right into it.
In the first round, Burke has the Raiders selecting Budda Baker, safety out of Washington.
"Essentially, he’d be the replacement for veteran Reggie Nelson, who has one year and no guaranteed money left on his contract. A Baker–Karl Joseph combo at safety would cover all sorts of ground, with Baker often patrolling deep as Joseph walked up near the line."
Despite what his Pro Bowl selection tells you, the Raiders need to replace Reggie Nelson. He came up with several game-clinching interceptions, but all in all, it was a rough year for the veteran safety.
So by that logic, the Budda Baker selection is justified. Personally, I am a fan of Baker’s game, but at about 5’10” 192 pounds, the Raiders would field two undersized safeties. So there is some concern with that.
But like Karl Joseph, Baker plays bigger than his size. He isn’t afraid to dish out punishment, and he’s plenty capable. Not quite the “hitman” that Joseph is, but he can make plays in the backfield.
Marlon Humphrey, Taco Charlton, Teez Tabor and Caleb Brantley were all available, and personally, I would have taken any of those four over Baker.
In the second round, pick 56, Burke has the Raiders nabbing Gareon Conley, cornerback out of Ohio State.
"Conley is another Ohio State cornerback who really gets up in receivers’ grills when he’s thrown into man coverage."
At 6’2″ and 185 pounds, Conley easily checks those boxes as far as what Reggie McKenzie typically looks for in a cornerback.
Conley is a player that is growing more and more in favor with draft analysts. NFL.com has a quote from an NFC North Scout that says Conley could even end up in the first round.
"“He’s not as good as the other cornerback (Marshon Lattimore), but he’s a good corner. If he measures over 6’0 and runs in the low 4.4s he will come off the board on Thursday night.” — North area scout for NFC team"
Conley could immediately start at the slot cornerback position, and if needed, he has the size, length and athleticism to play on the outside. Looking at the other players available in Burke’s mock, Conley is the same player I would have selected.
In the third and final round of Burke’s mock, with the 88th pick, he has the Raiders taking Taywan Taylor, WR out of Western Kentucky.
I’ll start by saying this is a great pick. It might feel a little early (Taylor has been projected more in the fourth or fifth round) but it’s only a matter of time before that changes. In a quick mock draft I put together in this week’s mailbag, I also had the Raiders picking up Taywan.
In need of an upgrade at slot wide receiver, Taylor would solve that problem, and then some.
Here’s a short compilation of Taylor doing work.
In Burke’s mock, North Carolina WR Ryan Switzer was also available, and most will probably lean that direction. But I’m taking Taylor.