Mel Kiper Jr has surprising prediction for Raiders in latest NFL Mock Draft

Hint: it's not a QB.
2007 NFL Draft
2007 NFL Draft / Chris McGrath/GettyImages

If you can believe it, another prominent mock draft dropped this week. This one comes from NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper, who released his full list of predictions for the first and second round of the upcoming event in late April.

Kiper starts off pretty chalky: his first three picks – Caleb Williams to Chicago, Jayden Daniels to Washington, and Drake Maye to New England – aren't particularly surprising. In fact, things only get weird at #5, where Kiper has the Vikings trading up to take Michigan QB JJ McCarthy.

Most of the mock draft is fairly ho-hum, although Kiper does have an interesting choice for the Raiders at 13. And it's not even necessarily a bad pick, it's just not the direction that most of the previous mock drafts – from Kiper or anyone else – have gone.

Mel Kiper Jr's surprising prediction for Raiders for 2024 NFL Draft

PICK: Taliese Fuaga, OT, Oregon State

Las Vegas could be another team to watch for the edge rushers, but I don't think it can ignore its void at right tackle, particularly in this great class. Fuaga, one of my favorite prospects in this draft, is a punishing blocker who plays with nastiness. He allowed just one sack over the past two seasons while playing right tackle for the Beavers. He and veteran Kolton Miller would make a solid duo of bookends. Cornerback is the other position I considered for the Raiders, with Terrion Arnold (Alabama) likely to go in this range.

An offensive lineman! I guess it really is Gardner Minshew's job to lose. In Kiper's defense, the Raiders could certainly use an offensive lineman. Fuaga projects as a Day 1 starter, and like Kiper mentions, getting a bonafide NFL starter across the line from Kolton Miller would be an overwhelming success, even if Fuaga goes through the standard rookie adjustment. The Raiders' offensive line played well at times last year, and teams can do much worse than a group like Miller, Fuaga, Andre James, and
Thayer Munford Jr.

It's not the most exciting pick in the world, but that's life when you commit to building a team from the lines first. If they're really set on running out 17 games worth of Minshew/Aidan O'Connell, it's probably smart to give them the best protection possible. This way, they'll be ready to go when it's their time to pick Shedeur Sanders or Quinn Ewers next year.