2020 NFL mock roundup: Raiders capitalize on multiple firsts
Sports Illustrated – Kevin Hanson
Pick 14 – A.J. Epenesa, Iowa DE
Unlike Edwards, SI’s Kevin Hanson does have the Raiders addressing some defensive needs while also add a dynamic playmaker for Carr. In his latest mock, the Raiders select an edge rusher early, before taking another Alabama player in the first round.
Last week’s game against the Chargers was definitely a positive for the pass rush, but overall they have struggled this season, and a player like A.J. Epenesa would be a great addition. Epenesa is everything you want in a 4-3 defensive end with his tremendous size (6’6, 280lbs) and strength, which allows him to play the run and rush the pass.
He isn’t the most flexible given his size, but is still very athletic and has shown plenty of ability to turn the corner on offensive tackles. Epenesa has been forced to fight against double and even triples teams this season, so his numbers are down, but he’s had a sack against all three of the Hawkeyes’ top opponents.
Pick 17 – Henry Ruggs III, Alabama WR
The Raiders lack speed on offense, so it is no surprise Hanson has the Raiders addressing that need by drafting Henry Ruggs III. With legit 4.2 speed, Ruggs III becomes a threat to score whenever he touches the ball.
He has done exactly that multiple times this season at Alabama taking quick slant to the house with a burst of acceleration that is easy to notice even on TV. He averages 20 yards per catch right now and could stretch the field, much like how Tyreek Hill does for the rival Kansas City Chiefs.
It is no big secret that the Raiders need a WR1, as Tyrell Williams would be much better suited as a No. 2 wide receiver. Ruggs has that big-play ability the Raiders are looking for, and would be a perfect compliment to Williams, and Hunter Renfrow.