Home » NFL Rookies » Picks, predictions and the need for a right tackle – The Athletic

Picks, predictions and the need for a right tackle – The Athletic


The Las Vegas Raiders hold the 17th pick in the NFL Draft when it kicks off with Round 1 on April 29. The Raiders own eight selections in the seven-round draft.

Raiders’ draft choices

Round pick overall notes

1

17

17

2

16

48

3

15

79

From Ari

3

16

80

4

16

121

5

18

162

From Mia

5

23

167

From Sea

6

16

200

Full draft order

See how every pick in the seven-round NFL Draft is scheduled.

Predicting the Raiders’ picks

Dane Brugler’s “The Beast” NFL Draft preview guide
Vic Tafur’s seven-round Raiders mock draft
Tashan Reed’s seven-round Raiders mock draft
The Athletic’s beat-writer mock draft
Raiders depth chart

NFL Draft details

Round 1: April 29, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN/ABC, NFL Network)
 Rounds 2-3: April 30, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN/ABC, NFL Network)
 Rounds 4-7: May 1, noon ET (ESPN/ABC, NFL Network)

About the Raiders

Head coach: Jon Gruden
 General manager: Mike Mayock
 Last year’s record: 8-8, second place in AFC West

Raiders’ needs in the draft

Right tackle: The Raiders need a new starter after trading Trent Brown to the Patriots. Brandon Parker, a former third-round pick, has made it pretty clear in three seasons that he simply isn’t up to par, though he would be penciled in to start if the Raiders don’t add a starter. It’s always risky to depend on a rookie to start at tackle in Year 1, but the job offensive line coach Tom Cable has done with left tackle Kolton Miller and others on the Raiders’ offensive line should give coach Jon Gruden confidence it can be pulled off.

Free safety: The Raiders recently signed Karl Joseph, their 2016 first-round pick who spent the 2020 season with the Cleveland Browns. That gives them a veteran in the secondary who’s made some plays in his career — his previous final snap as a Raider in 2019 was a game-clinching interception against the Chargers. But the Raiders still should be looking for a long-term answer to fill the center fielder role in Gus Bradley’s Cover 3 system.

Linebacker: This is more about depth. Bradley uses a 4-2-5 front most of the time, so linebackers Nick Kwiatkoski and Cory Littleton will handle the bulk of the responsibilities here. Nicholas Morrow is back on a one-year deal and has shown he’s capable of starting at Sam linebacker in the 4-3 base and can fill in at Mike or Will. Another versatile backup would be useful, considering Tanner Muse is primarily going to be a special-teams player and Kwiatkoski and Littleton missed significant time in 2020.

Defensive end: The Raiders have a bunch of defensive ends on the roster: Yannick Ngakoue, Clelin FerrellMaxx Crosby, Carl Nassib and Arden Key. You can never have too many pass rushers, though, and nobody in that group is under contract beyond 2022 (the Raiders have a fifth-year option on Ferrell for 2023 that, at this point, is extremely unlikely to be picked up). Finding a player with upside who could begin as a depth pass rusher would be ideal.

Defensive tackle: The Raiders have plenty of depth at this position after going on a free-agent frenzy, signing Quinton Jefferson, Solomon Thomas, Matt Dickerson, Darius Philon to add to a group that includes Johnathan HankinsMaurice HurstKendal Vickers and David Irving. But all eight of those players are signed only through the 2021 season and none are can’t-miss, high-impact players that Gruden and Bradley would surely love to have in the middle of the defensive line.

Raiders’ draft history

First-round picks from the last five years

2020: WR Henry Ruggs III, pick 12: The first receiver taken, Ruggs was 11th among rookies with 26 catches, ninth with 452 yards and 10th with two touchdowns.

2020: CB Damon Arnette, pick 19: Injuries limited him to nine games (seven starts) as a rookie and he finished with two passes defended and no interceptions.

2019: DE Clelin Ferrell, pick 4: A reach at No. 4 overall when the Raiders couldn’t execute a trade back, Ferrell is a solid NFL defensive lineman but has yet to show the impactful traits wanted from a top-five pick.

2019: RB Josh Jacobs, pick 24: He’s topped 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons and made his first Pro Bowl in 2020 after rushing for 1,065 yards and 12 touchdowns.

2019: S Johnathan Abram, pick 27: The hard hitter missed most of his rookie season with a shoulder injury, then his second season was plagued by inconsistency and blown coverage assignments.

2018: LT Kolton Miller, pick 15: He recently earned a three-year, $54 million extension after starting 46 of a possible 48 games his first three seasons. The Raiders view him as their franchise left tackle.

2017: CB Gareon Conley, pick 24: He had four interceptions in parts of three seasons (23 games total) with the Raiders before being traded to Houston for a third-round pick at the 2019 trade deadline.

2016: S Karl Joseph, pick 14: His size (5-foot-10) led to struggles in coverage during his first stint with the Raiders, though he was playing well before a season-ending injury in Week 10 in 2019. After a year in Cleveland, he’s back with the organization.

(Photo: Christian Petersen / Getty Images)

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