Maybe the Oakland Raiders just need one more piece to take their secondary from awful to over the top? General manager Reggie McKenzie has used some of his best draft picks in the last two drafts to rectify this lackluster Raiders secondary.
Oakland went with safety Karl Joseph out of West Virginia in the first round of 2016. Last year saw the Raiders double-down on defensive backs with Gareon Conley out of Ohio State in round one and Obi Melifonwu out of UConn in round two. Joseph played better in his second professional season. Conley and Melifonwu played sparingly due to injury.
So yes, there is belief that this trio, if healthy, could be exactly what the Silver and Black need to right this ship defensively. Any or all of them could pop under defensive coordinator Paul Guenther in 2018. That being said, you can never have too many good defensive backs on your football team.
Given that the Raiders are probably going defense with their first-round pick, it wouldn’t be shocking to see them take another defensive back high in the upcoming draft. Here are five defensive backs that would be worth a first-round selection by the Raiders in 2018.
Though it would be a reach to take him where the Raiders are picking at No. 9 or No. 10, Alabama Crimson Tide safety Ronnie Harrison is certainly worth a first-round selection. He’d be an ideal candidate for the Raiders to take in the teens or early 20s if they are to trade back with a quarterback desperate team.
Harrison leaves Tuscaloosa a year early, but a two-time national champion with the Crimson Tide. Alabama made it to the national title game all three years Harrison played for Nick Saban in the SEC. At 6-foot-3, 214 pounds, Harrison could be a terror as a hard-hitting strong safety. We all know how the Raiders love guys that remind them of Jack Tatum.
Harrison recorded 174 total tackles in college (110 solo, 64 assists). He had 17 pass breakups, 7.0 tackles for a loss of yardage, seven interceptions, 3.5 quarterback sacks, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble. Like most Alabama defensive backs, Harrison should be ready to play in the NFL day one.
The only issues with Harrison might be that he is a productive of Alabama’s system, getting to play next to other elite players. His size, speed, hands and tackling ability are all huge pluses. However, he could be seen as a redundancy to what the Raiders already have in Joseph and Melifonwu. Either way, Harrison should be a good pro if he’s able to stay healthy.