The Las Vegas Raiders hold two first round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, and at No. 19, here are some outside-the-box prospects they could select.
With the Las Vegas Raiders having two picks in the first round, the possibilities and combinations they could go with are virtually endless. Plus, if you thought that Joe Shmoe's mock draft 18.0 had some wild picks just to be different, mix in a life of quarantine and you have a high probability of things getting even weirder.
What justice would i be doing though if i didn't use this time to look at all the options and pose some potential picks that might stray from the norm or strike the often overused term of a "hot take". At this stage of the game, most people have a gauge for where certain players are projected to go and where they rank not only within their position, but in this class overall.
The Raiders really addressed a lot of defensive needs during free agency and has many asking the question of whether that changes their game plan going into the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft (if we ever have it). They got a lot younger and a lot better at the linebacker position and signed some great depth additions to the defensive line that will add a lot of value to an already rising group.
I'm going to highlight a few outside the box options the Raiders could look to target with the 19th overall pick, their second selection in the first round. With the way free agency panned out, the Raiders range of potential prospects and where they could go has definitely widened. I will touch on a couple positions that might not have been in the conversation previously.
We saw sophomore defensive tackle Mo Hurst have a sneaky good year for only playing 50% of the defensive snaps. Part of that was due to the team asking Clelin Ferrell to play inside a lot more then he probably should have.
We also saw Mike Mayock bring in Maliek Collins via free agency who was among the best in the league last year in first move pressure off the ball and disrupting the middle of the field. Couple that with his former DC in Dallas coming in as the new defensive line coach and Collins could be the most underrated signing of the Raiders free agent class.
But they only brought him in on a 1 year deal, which means uncertainty at the position beyond this year is once again a potential problem. That is where Javon Kinlaw comes into play.
Out of South Carolina, Kinlaw is an absolute beast on the inside. Though he isn't as polished as top-10 prospect Derrick Brown, he is easily the next best IDL in this draft. His ability to collapse the pocket and get pressure up the middle is not far behind Brown's and something we are seeing the NFL covet a lot more lately.
If the Raiders were comfortable with where their linebacker group sat and Kinlaw was still there on the board, it would be hard to pass up on him. Pairing him with Hurst would give the Raiders a dynamic duo up the middle for years to come.
Before you scoff at this idea, hear me out. The cornerback position was the one spot the Raiders didn't address with a top free agent option like everyone expected them to. Outside of consensus No. 1 CB Jeff Okudah and Florida Prospect CJ Henderson, who both could be gone in the top 15, the cornerback class has concerns with each player.
Many will point to LSU's Kristian Fulton or Utah's Jaylon Johnson as the potential next guys up in the rankings. Looking closer though, Trevon Diggs has everything we've seen Mayock like in a cornerback.
Coming in at 6'2" 205 lbs, the Alabama prospect has incredible length to go along with his size measuring in with 32 3/4 inch arms. Looking back at both corners the Raiders drafted last year in Trayvon Mullen and Isaiah Johnson, they were also large rangy players measuring in at 6'1"/200/31" and 6'2"/208/33" respectively. By the looks of things it would appear as if Mayock has a type.
With length and size becoming coveted traits for a cornerback, Trevon Diggs checks all the boxes. Not to mention his older brother is new Bills WR Stefon Diggs, so we all know the potential of his athletic ability. On top of that, he comes from an elite defensive system at Alabama and a long line of successful defensive backs. Though he isn't as polished as the top two players mentioned earlier, his speed and ball skills at that size give him a very high ceiling.
Ideally you'd like to see him be taken in a situation where the Raiders traded back in the first round, or even found themselves getting into the top of the second round. But don't sleep on Trevon Diggs as a potential intriguing cornerback who could quickly start to be mentioned as a day 1 option.
One of the top wide receivers coming into the college football season, Clemson's Tee Higgins has somewhat been a guy people aren't talking about as much. Names like Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, and Henry Ruggs III have been the popular speaking points when referring to this WR class.
It isn't completely surprising that things have gone this way though, as Higgins has had somewhat of a wonky 2 months. He only participated in a few of the drills at the combine, while sitting out of the 40 yard dash due to general fatigue. One of the more questionable traits to his game is his speed, so a lot of people were waiting to see what he ran at his pro day before it was eventually canceled. When a scout or team isn't sure whether you're a 4.42 guy or a 4.59 guy, having a number to solidify that question mark can do a lot to strengthen your stock.
Regardless of where the answer to that lies, his film shows what a nightmare he can be for defenses. At 6'4" 210 lbs, he's a big physical receiver that can go up and get any ball thrown his way. What he may lack in speed is made up for with his ability to high point the ball and become a threat in the red zone.
Realistically if they went with a receiver at 19 it would insinuate that they were in a can't pass situation with a player like Jeff Okudah or Isaiah Simmons falling to them at 12. Though highly unlikely, this would put them in a best case scenario in my opinion. If you thought Mike Mayock had a thing for Clemson centerpieces last year, just wait if he gets the chance to double dip with both his first round picks.
Were you a big fan of Johnathan Abram last year when the Raiders selected him? well welcome to his twin with better coverage ability. Alabama safety Xavier McKinney is a hard hitting, physical player who can also slide over to free safety when needed as well as come down as a nickel corner in coverage.
McKinney has done a lot to improve his stock this year and solidify himself as the No. 1 safety in this draft class. Many viewed Grant Delpit as the run away player slotted there, but a down 2019 season has many questioning if he's even regarded as the second best safety this year.
Even though corner is a much bigger need for the Las Vegas Raiders, this would be a best player available type pick for a defensive back unit that can use all the help they can get. A dynamic safety that can do it all, being paired with an electric counter part in Abram would give the Raiders a back end of their secondary teams would fear.