Oakland Raiders select two edge rushers in latest ESPN mock draft

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Mel Kiper Jr. released his latest 2019 NFL mock draft on Monday, and he had the Oakland Raiders focusing on the defensive side of the ball.

The Oakland Raiders hold three first round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, and they will certainly be a team to keep an eye on this April. We have officially entered mock draft season, and ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. recently released his second mock draft of the year.

With their No. 4 overall pick, Kiper had the Raiders selecting Michigan edge rusher Rashan Gary, a pick that seems to be picking up steam as of late. Gary is a solid player, and showed great versatility during his time with the Wolverines, and is a guy who could step right in as a starter for Oakland in 2019.

At pick No. 24, the one they got for Khalil Mack from the Chicago Bears, Kiper has the Raiders bolstering their secondary, selecting Washington cornerback Byron Murphy. Murphy has been rocketing up the draft boards recently, and with a good combine, could end up being the first cornerback taken.

Finally, Kiper has the Raiders finishing up their first round by selecting another edge rusher, bringing in Brian Burns from Florida State. Burns’ game really resembles that of Arden Key from LSU, who the Raiders took in the third round in 2018, so that pick seems to be a bit of a stretch.

Of course, Oakland does need help on the defensive side of the ball, especially after a four-win season, but they need to address all three levels of their defense. While they were historically bad at getting after the quarterback in 2018, using two of their three first rounders on edge rushers does not make much sense, as the team should use at least one of the three on a wide receiver.

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Last season, Oakland finished the year with Jordy Nelson atop their depth chart, and very little else behind him. The Raiders have a ton of work to do this offseason, but they did hire a former draft analyst as their new general manager in Mike Mayock, and it would be interesting to see what his mock draft would look like in 2019.