The Combine has officially come and gone, so here's a look at the Las Vegas Raiders post-combine mock draft, which includes a trade down in the first.
The Las Vegas Raiders hold two picks in the first round, plus a total of five picks over the first two days. Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden hit it out of the park in last year's NFL Draft, but doing it again is an entirely new task at hand.
The Raiders' staff spent the entire last week in Indianapolis, evaluating players on and off the field. The weekly event presented them the opportunity to meet with players privately, before getting an up-close look at what each prospect can do in their position drills.
Many players were peppered with questions revolving around their game translating into the NFL. As was Mike Mayock when he took to the podium at the start of the week, with quarterback questions containing a large portion of his viewing time.
Now with a week of evaluations under their belt, here’s a Las Vegas Raiders post-combine mock draft.
It's well documented, the Raiders are looking to enhance their wide receiving corps with the effort of finding a true WR1. Oklahoma's CeeDee Lamb exhibits everything you look for in a pass catcher, making a strong case for the top spot among wide receivers, alongside Alabama's Jerry Jeudy.
During the week of the NFL Combine, Lamb said he met with the Raiders and he appeared intrigued with the coach Gruden.
“Just to potentially be playing in the NFL, I’m grateful,” Lamb said at the Combine. “But playing for the Raiders and Coach Gruden, it would be a huge honor on my end. Like I said, I’m very grateful for the opportunity. I truly mean that.”
Lamb played three years at Oklahoma, hauling in 62 receptions for 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns during his junior year. Most notably, Lamb hangs hit hat on playing physical with the opposition, while tracking the ball in flight with the ability to adjust accordingly. Ultimately, his ball skills are what separates him from other receiving prospects as Lamb is one of the more natural pass-catchers in this year's draft class.
*Trade back with Tennessee Titans
The Raiders have put off addressing their linebacker position for years now. As they head into the offseason, linebacker is arguably their most glaring need and one where they could potentially look to overhaul the entire position. The wait is over — the Raiders are likely to take a sideline-to-sideline linebacker with one of their first-round picks, and Oklahoma's Kenneth Murray fits the bill.
Heading into the combine, expectations were sky high, and Murray delivered in a big way. Murray ran a 4.52 40-yard dash, which was good for sixth among linebackers at this year's combine. Unfortunately after his second attempt of the 40-yard dash, Murray suffered a hamstring injury, ending his day.
News regarding Murray's injury was released later on stating it's something minor and should be good to go moving forward.
The highly touted linebacker recorded 102 tackles, resulting in four sacks and a career-high 17 tackles for loss. His game caught the attention of many scouts during his time in Norman, mainly due to his versatility in stopping the run, but also playing a prominent role in covering running backs and tight ends for the Sooners' defense. Oklahoma’s Pro Day is set for March 11, but no announcement has been made stating whether Murray will participate or not.
*Pick acquired via Tennessee Titans
Throughout the media portion of the NFL Combine, a hot topic of discussion revolved around the Raiders quarterback position.
"Derek played at a high-level last season," said Mike Mayock at his combine press conference. "I'm very happy with Derek. But as I've said before, we will evaluate every position on our roster and if there's a chance to upgrade, we will look into that."
Regardless of how you interpret Mayock's statement, by in large, he didn't indicate he was moving off of Carr, nor did he suggests that Carr is the Raiders starting quarterback for 2020 and beyond.
With that said, Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts is a viable option under center and one who helped himself in a big way during his time in Indianapolis. It's been well established that Hurts has the mobility and smarts up top to transition into the NFL. However, the question that loomed large regarding his style of play, was could he show enough arm strength and accuracy to be considered a draft target over the first two rounds?
Hurts was an apparent winner among quarterbacks at the combine, showing his refined qualities as a passer. In addition to his quality passing efforts, Hurts posted a 4.59 40-yard dash, ranking the fastest among players at his position. Other measurables of his include 9 3/4" hands, 31 3/4" arms and a 77 5/8" wingspan, to go along with his 6-foot-1, 222-pound frame.
If Hurts can continue to prove he can pass the ball with consistent accuracy while showing adequate arm strength, he is one of the most intriguing day-two options at quarterback just based on all the traits he presents within his skillset.
The Raiders find themselves in a position where every area on the defense could use improvement via free agency or the draft. Last year they snagged second-round pick Trayvon Mullen, who brought some promising tools to the outside cornerback position. However, with Daryl Worley hitting free agency, the team now needs to find Mullen a new counterpart, and UCLA's Darnay Holmes is a potential option to play opposite of Mullen.
Holmes is a former five-star recruit who went slightly under the radar as a member of the Bruins defense. Despite being slightly undersized, Holmes is one that never backs down from a challenge as he's the ultimate competitor, playing much bigger in contested situations.
At the combine, Holmes put his speed to the test running a 4.48 40-yard dash. During other drills throughout the testing, the former Bruin showed crazy fluidity and the ability to open his hips and turn with ease, checking more boxes that talent evaluators are looking for in a cornerback.
Holmes finished his junior season with 33 tackles, two interceptions and six passes defended. At the next level, Holmes could see time in the nickel and outside the numbers as a versatile cornerback.
Former first-round pick Karl Joseph is set to hit free agency this offseason, making safety an area where depth could be an issue heading into the 2020 season. However, the team still has big hopes for Jonathan Abram who they used a first-round pick on last year, so seeing him in extended roles could help elevate the potential vacancy of Joseph.
One option at safety is Southern Illinois' Jeremy Chinn, who's seen tremendous growth throughout the scouting process. At one point, Chinn wasn't among those spoken upon as a mid-round pick come draft day.
Chinn caught national attention when he attended the annual Senior Bowl and tested extremely well. He didn't stop impressing there as he recorded a 4.55 40-yard dash at 6'3", 221-pounds at the combine.
Chinn's mixture of size and speed is what has talent evaluators up in arms about his skillset, and his 20 rep bench press, 41" vertical and 138" broad jump only helped his cause in Indianapolis. It's safe to say, Chinn was a definite riser among safeties at the combine this week.
Yes, another linebacker — the Raiders desperately need them. There is a good chance that all three starting linebackers for the 2020 season weren't on the roster last year.
Evan Weaver, from the University of Cal is a ball-hawking linebacker, to say the least. In each of his past two years in Berkley, Weaver recorded 155 tackles during his junior season and followed that up with a staggering 181 tackle performance throughout his final college season.
In most cases, those college statistics would indicate a top draft pick, but many teams had questions about Weaver's sideline-to-sideline speed and his weight fluctuation during his time in college.
The former Cal Bear tested very nicely according to the expectations that were thrown on his shoulders. He recorded a 4.76 40-yard dash which exceeded the time that many originally had anticipated. Weaver is a tackling machine, but the biggest concern for him is when he's put in man coverage, due to his running ability. Although, after posting a decent 40-time, Weaver could see more attention as the draft inches closer.
The Raiders found their franchise running back last year with the selection of Josh Jacobs in round-one. Now, they’re on the hunt for another talented rusher once again, as they look for a "power-back" to work alongside Jacobs.
Vanderbilt's Ke'Shawn Vaughn brings the thump, running with a down-hill style of attack. His skillset is the exact prototype the Raiders could’ve used last season when looking to pick up short yardage downs in crucial moments.
At the combine, Vaughn recorded a 4.51 40-yard dash to pair with his 32" vertical jump and 117 broad jump. His results at the combine didn't leave people with a jaw-dropping impression, but that's not what Vaughn is all about — his style of play is much more.
His game is primarily focused on volume carries, where he can push the pile when needing to pick up musty-have downs. Vaughn is coming off back-to-back 1,000 yard rushing seasons where he averaged 10.5 touchdowns per year. Expectations at the next level indicate Vaughn will contribute alongside other rushers, making him a quality option to carry the rock behind Jacobs.
The Raiders entered the 2019 season thinking wide receiver was their deepest group until things went south quickly. They had numerous pass-catchers come and go throughout the year, causing a massive overhaul at the position. In a draft class where it's loaded from top to bottom, doubling up isn't such a bad idea after all.
Wisconsin's Quintez Cephus came into the combine and put up an impressive 23 reps of 225 pounds. After a hot start on the bench press, he was clocked at 4.73 40-yard dash, ranking last among receivers at the combine.
His 40-time wasn't ideal by any means, but Cephus' speed has never been his calling card. He tested out fine in all other areas of the combine, posting a 38.5" vertical, 124" broad jump and 7.2 three-cone drill.
Cephus projects as a target who can thrive in the red zone where he'll use his strength to his advantage. Cephus' larger frame will allow him to box out the opposition just as he did from time-to-time in the college ranks.
Cephus finished his senior season with 59 receptions, 901 yards and seven touchdowns.