Raiders 7-round mock draft: Finding their franchise QB on Day 2

The Las Vegas Raiders fill some key needs in this early mock draft ahead of NFL Conference Championship weekend.

Las Vegas Raiders Introduce Antonio Pierce As Head Coach, Tom Telesco As General Manager
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Jer'Zhan Newton. player. 13. Defensive Tackle. . . . 13. 481. Jer'Zhan Newton

While many of the members of Raider Nation have their hearts set on one of the top 3 QBs, it may be an impossible task to trade up to a top 3 pick considering how needy those teams are so we will operate under that assumption. The benefit of that of course is that guys that may have been top 5 or 10 picks in a less QB heavy draft will likely be available at 13 just by the process of elimination.

One of those guys may be Illinois defensive tackle Jer'Zhan Newton who is climbing up the draft boards. Years ago a player like Newton who measures in at 6-2 and 295lbs may have been dismissed as too small to play defensive tackle in the NFL but the success of Aaron Donald and to a lesser extent Calijah Kancey has changed the thought process there.

That was likely driven by the prevalence of heavy run games but the evolution of the game to be 60-40 in favor of the pass has called for more nimble defensive tackles that can rush the passer.

Newton excels at rushing the passer and has racked up 14 sacks in the last two seasons while primarily playing on the interior. He makes a living in the backfield and uses his smaller stature and strength to get underneath larger offensive lineman and split double teams.

The Florida native would be a great fit in Las Vegas as he would provide another pass rushing stud to pair alongside Malcolm Koonce, Maxx Crosby, and Tyree Wilson who has been better since playing more on the interior. A NASCAR package feature those 3 guys and Newton would be a fearsome proposition on obvious pass rushing downs and could help further improve a defense on the rise.