The Las Vegas Raiders are turning the corner, which also hurts their draft position as the season winds down.
It’s funny how quickly things can change for a team in the course of an NFL season. Just four, maybe three weeks ago, Raider Nation was calling for Josh McDaniels’ head. The besieged head coach was facing a mountain of criticism, with national talking heads piling on. Former players and analysts were questioning his prospects as the leader of the Raiders. Well, now not so much.
The recent victory is a double-edged sword, however. See, many fans felt as if the Raiders needed to draft one of the “can’t miss” prospects available next April. At the same time, I think it’s obvious Raider Nation would gladly take winning over the draft’s pecking order or any incoming rookies.
The fact is, the Raiders’ brass said it was trying to “win now” while building a sustainable foundation for the future. Surprisingly, as we quickly approach Week 14 (Thursday Night Football for the Raiders), making the playoffs is now a possibility, albeit a small one.
As a potential playoff berth gains traction, the Raiders will continue dropping down the order. For the purposes of this mock draft, we’ll go with the latest lineup available, which has Dave Ziegler and Co. picking 12th overall. At that point, you’re out of the top 10, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any top-notch, game-changing talent there to be had.
Considering some of the holes on the defense, maybe Ziegler goes there early. That would make sense, all things considered.
So, who should the Raiders target? Well, here’s one plausible scenario.