The Raiders hold five picks inside the top 90 selections, so let’s take a look at what their options could be come draft day.
With the Raiders rounding out their season with a last-minute loss against the Denver Broncos, they've finished the year at 7-9 and are locked in to pick No.12 and pick No.19 come draft day.
The Raiders showed a three game improvement from last year's four win season. They still remain with many holes on the roster — most notably at wide receiver, linebacker and quarterback depending on how you slice it. Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden's first collective draft class surprised many people around the league, but can they pull the rabbit out of the hat in back-to-back years?
Mayock's reputation in the NFL landscape speaks for itself and he finds himself once again in a good position to acquire top-tier talent with five picks on the first two days of the draft.
CeeDee Lamb has been mocked to the Raiders for quite some time now, and here is another supporting case for his potential arrival in Las Vegas. It'll be no surprise if the Raiders explore their options for a dynamic pass catcher with one of their two first round picks.
Lamb is regarded as one of the best wide receivers to come out of college football this season and if you tune into his film, it won't take long to realize why. He does so many things to an exceptional level — he's physical, has quality body control, superior ball skills and adequate speed. Lamb checks just about every box you’d look for when evaluating a wide receiver.
Gruden's offense this season revolved mainly around a running attack and the use of his tight ends. By adding an outside playmaker such as Lamb, which the Raiders desperately need, the playbook would open up another dimension to attack opposing defenses. Lamb projects as a prolific No.1 pass catcher in his near future.
- Ball skills
- Consistent production
- Short area quickness
- Straight line speed
The quarterback debate involving the Raiders signal caller has been an ongoing topic for the last few seasons. Whether or not Derek Carr is the guy moving forward remains a question that'll have more clues telling down the road. Carr has given the organization stability at the quarterback position, which they had lacked for close to a decade prior to drafting him, but the odds that Gruden goes three drafts in a row without selecting a quarterback seems awfully slim.
Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts projects as an adequate starting quarterback in the NFL, but would benefit with a year of sitting behind a veteran during his rookie season to learn the offensive system and the in's and out's of the position. Hurts has shown progression as a pocket passer throughout every season in college, while also doing immense damage when tucking the ball and running it himself.
One of the biggest knocks on Carr is his inability to extend plays, and that's one area where Hurts has thrived in college, making something out of nothing.
Throughout Gruden's coaching career he's always been adamant about protecting the football, which is another positive quality that Hurts possesses. In Hurts' senior season he committed just eight interceptions to go along with his total of 52 touchdowns (passing and rushing).
His draft stock recently took a slight hit with his recent performance against LSU in the semifinals game, but his overall sample size speaks large volumes.
- Off script plays
- Decision making
- Reads in the secondary
The Raiders lack of production at linebacker has been a crucial flaw for a handful of seasons. Unfortunately for the Raiders, this year's draft class isn't very deep at linebacker, but the need is significant enough, where they must address it.
Jacob Phillips has experience playing in space as a coverage linebacker and also contributed to the Tigers run support during his three years in Louisiana. The Raiders may reconstruct their entire linebacking core this offseason through free agency and the draft. Phillips would provide traits that fit Paul Guenther's scheme with a lot of upside for a mid-round pick. Phillips has shown the ability to dissect plays early on while playing in the second level of the defense, making him a valuable asset to any team that drafts him.
Today's current state of NFL linebackers have changed dramatically over the last few years. If players can't play in space or maneuver sideline-to-sideline they're viewed as someone who can't play on third down. Phillips' frame of 6'4" 233 pounds projects as a potential three down defender which would give the Raiders production in an area they must improve.
- Plays in space
- Top tier competition
- Immediate burst
- Twitchy movement
The Raiders find themselves entering the 2020 season with a lot of questions surrounding the safety position. Last season, they were hit with several injuries to their safety corps — putting Jonathan Abram and Karl Joseph on injured reserve after starting the year as the two starters. With those two guys sidelined, Gruden was forced to hand over the reins to players like Erik Harris, Curtis Riley, D.J. Swearinger and Dallin Leavitt.
By the Raiders drafting K'Von Wallace, it would give the secondary another complementary piece of depth on the backend. During his time at Clemson, Wallace was used as a chess piece — playing nearly every position in the secondary, but had his best production while taking snaps at safety.
The Raiders need more versatility on defense and Wallace would give them a figure who can move all across the field. He's progressed every year in college, so Wallace provides a large belief that he could take another leap forward with another season of refinement.
- Football IQ
- Run support
- Man coverage
The Raiders pass rush received a massive boost this season with the emergence of Maxx Crosby and solid efforts from Benson Mayowa. However, they still lack rotational depth at defensive end and with Mayowa hitting free agency, there becomes an opening at the position.
Bradlee Anae projects as a mid-round pick who put together a productive college career at Utah. Anae showed flashes of taking over games, but couldn't do so with enough regularity to be grouped the premier edge rushers in this year’s draft class.
Anae won the Morris Trophy as the Pac-12’s top defensive lineman, while recording 13 sacks in his senior season. The more reps he gathers under his belt, the more he'll be able to refine his technique which needs some work as of now, but his future remains exponentially bright for a pick outside the first two rounds.
- Hand usage
- Get off
- Secondary moves
- Run support
Last year’s draftee, Josh Jacobs gave the Raiders running game the thump that Gruden loves in his featured backs. However, the Raiders are still missing a physical runner who can lighten the load for Jacobs. Most importantly, Gruden's offense lacked a short yardage runner despite using his fullback, Alec Ingold.
Ke'Shawn Vaughn is a downhill runner out of Vanderbilt who consistently used a powerful stiff arm to throw off tacklers. His vision for a large back stands out from the rest of the pack as a player who can make easy adjustments on cutbacks. Vaughn is by no means a speed demon, but his role with the Raiders would be used primarily to pick up short yardage.
With Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington set to hit the free agent market this offseason, a new running back is likely to be in the cards for the Raiders.
- Physical runner
- Yards after contact
- Non factor in passing game
Tony Pride Jr.
Cornerback his been a revolving door within the Raiders organization for quite some time. After receiving some stability in 2019 from Trayvon Mullen, Guenther might have a playmaker to matchup against opposing team’s No.1 wide receivers. Opposite of Mullen was Daryl Worley, who's set to become a free agent this offseason, so the Raiders could be in an active pursuit to upgrade the position in free agency and through the draft.
Notre Dame's Tony Pride Jr. is a 'project cornerback' who has had moments in college where he looks like a big-play defender. Although, he also has moments where he gets torched in man coverage, giving up the big play. Pride has a track and field background, and his game shows it with his fluent motion of shadowing the receiver.
Last season, Oakland allowed an averaged of 256.7 passing yards per game. Playing in the AFC West, teams such as the Chiefs and Chargers possess playmakers like Travis Kelce, Tyrekk Hill, and Keenan Allen. With that in mind, having adequate cornerback duos to matchup against their premier pass catching corps is a huge factor, and something the Raiders have lacked in recent years.