When all the smoke cleared, the Las Vegas Raiders had a successful 2021 NFL Draft, addressing multiple needs across the three-day event.
During the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Las Vegas Raiders made some waves, as they selected Alabama’s Alex Leatherwood with the No. 17 overall pick. Seen as a late-first, or even second-round prospect, Leatherwood’s selection was even more of a shock considering the likes of Christian Darrisaw and Teven Jenkins were still on the board.
Still, the pick filled a need, and while he did not play right tackle with the Crimson Tide, he is going to be the starter there on Day 1 according to general manager Mike Mayock. As the Raiders went into Day 2, every talking head was saying how bad night one was for them, but they were singing a different tune after Day 2.
Raiders shored up the biggest areas of need
On Day 2, the Raiders started making some moves, moving up five spots to select TCU safety Tre’von Moehrig at pick No. 43 overall. This was the best safety on their draft board, and fills a major hole, as he is going to be a perfect free safety in Gus Bradley’s secondary for years to come.
Also on Day 2, the Raiders continued to bolster their defense, adding the best Buffalo football player since Khalil Mack in Malcolm Koonce, before landing a punishing safety/linebacker hybrid in Divine Deable. Both of these players are going to be chess pieces for Bradley.
Las Vegas wrapped up their 2021 NFL Draft by continuing to address the secondary, a major area of need for the team heading into this draft. They brought in another safety in Tyree Gillespie, and a cornerback in Nate Hobbs, before finishing the draft by selecting a center in Jimmy Morrissey.
Overall, they added high-character, productive college players, the kind of guys you can continue to build this franchise around.
With the 79th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Las Vegas Raiders selected Malcolm Koonce out of Buffalo. Here is our quick reaction grade.
There is still some work left to do with the roster, as the team still needs help at cornerback, and they also much bring in some more depth at defensive tackle. If Leatherwood is the real deal, this is going to be a special unit on the offensive side of the ball, and hopefully Gus Bradley has enough weapons on defense to improve that unit, possibly leading to a playoff run for Las Vegas.