The 2018 NFL Draft looks to be a loaded one at several position groups. There looks to be at least four quarterbacks worthy of going inside the top 15. The amount of defensive front-seven players is off the charts. There are some excellent offensive linemen and defensive that could go very high as well. But what if a team like the Oakland Raiders wants a skill position player?
It’s not a likely scenario, but the Silver and Black may need to look to upgrade their offensive weaponry a bit this offseason. The receiving corps lived to drop footballs. Are we sure the tight end group is up to par for what Jon Gruden wants to do in 2018? If it was a one-year thing with Marshawn Lynch in Oakland, who is pounding the rock as the Raiders’ bell-cow?
Admittedly, it’s not a top-heavy group of skill position players in this upcoming NFL Draft. That being said, the Raiders should be able to get somebody really good in the middle rounds if they feel so inclined. However, this has been an offseason where the Raiders have just sort of gone for it.
Prying Gruden out of the ESPN Monday Night Football booth was the splash coaching hire everybody talked about. It will be interesting to see what the Raiders do in free agency and the upcoming NFL Draft. Should they want a skill position player in the first round, here are five guys they could target.
Though he only played in 22 games for the Florida State Seminoles in college, wide receiver Auden Tate could be a sneaky-good find at the back-end of the first round for a team in need of a reliable possession receiver. Tate is a big target at 6-foot-5, 225 pounds and could be that tight end/slot receiver type Gruden would love to feature in his offense.
It’s not surprising to see a bit of a mass exodus at Florida State. Former head coach Jimbo Fisher left Tallahassee for the Texas A&M job in College Station. The Seminoles have many high draft picks with minimal collegiate experience. Tate would certainly fit that mold.
Obviously, the Raiders would need to trade back from No. 9 or No. 10, possibly even twice to be far enough back in the first round to draft him. Oakland would be able to pick up several picks on their quest to move back and draft Tate. A team like the Jacksonville Jaguars could be a viable trade partner if the Jaguars want to draft Blake Bortles‘ replacement at the back-end of the top 10.
In three years for Florida State, Tate had 65 catches for 957 yards and 16 touchdowns. All of his productivity came in the last two years. His 10-touchdown junior season in 2017 could have him as a potential late first-round pick. He’d be more of a developmental project for the Raiders, but would satisfy a possession receiver need for the Silver and Black.