Though the Raiders drafted Eddie Vanderdoes and Treyvon Hester in the 2017 NFL Draft, their additions won’t be enough to offset the potential losses of Justin Ellis and Denico Autry in free agency. It will be interesting to see what Ellis and Autry will be able to garner on the open market this spring.
Ellis has been a key cog in the Raiders run defense this season. Autry for a while there emerged as the Raiders’ third solid pass rusher after Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin. However, his play has dipped a tad due to a few injuries suffered a few weeks ago. The Raiders may end up keeping both, but we have to believe that they will be going with a defensive lineman with one of their first three picks in the draft.
Oakland could very well go for a guy in the trenches with their first pick of the draft. With the way the first-round draft boards are shaking out, the Raiders are almost certainly going to go with a defensive front-seven player with their first round pick. Inside linebacker could be in play for that pick, but there are more defensive linemen to choose from at that spot in the draft.
The Raiders have the luxury of going with either a nose tackle or a defensive end with this pick. Not necessarily best player available, but there will certainly be a guy that plays with his hand in the dirt that can help take this Raiders defense to the next level. It would be strange to not see the Raiders go with a defensive lineman in either the first or second round this spring.