Potential draft targets for the Oakland Raiders, broken down by each round.
2018 is one of the most important and intriguing drafts the Oakland Raiders have had in a long time. Like most GMs, Reggie McKenzie has an up and down track record in the draft. The dynamic heading into the draft has shifted with Jon Gruden’s $100M contract. Reggie has made it clear that he has a great understanding of what Jon and the coaching staff is looking for, hinting that this sort of direction has not been the most clear with the past staff. How much influence does Jon have? Is Reggie just providing a recommendation to help Jon make the decisions? Time will tell.
With 11 picks the Raiders have a chance to really improve the roster. They must get a real impact player, three or four solid starters and another four contributors. I would also expect them to take some shots late in the draft with high upside, high risk player.
Using my big board and overall projection on where players are valued I have gone through and listed out players the Raiders should target in each round. Enjoy!
Round 1 – Pick 10
Edge, Bradley Chubb, NC State
This is the dream scenario. Brad Chubb is my highest graded defensive player in this draft and he fills a major need. The chances of him being available at 10 are probably less than 5%. A guy can dream right?
LB, Roquan Smith, Georgia
Roquan is my second highest graded defensive player in the draft and is sitting at 5 overall. I think there is a good chance he is available at 10 depending on what the 49ers do. Is Gruden willing to take a LB this early? We know McKenzie isn’t inclined to.
DB, Derwin James, Florida State
Derwin might have the highest upside of any defensive player in this draft. Raider Nation is concerned about where he slots on. Who cares, he can play anywhere and in the first round you take the best player available, you don’t try and force a “need”.
IDL, Vita Vea, Washington
There hasn’t been a more talked about pre-draft debate than Vea vs Hurst. They are two totally different players. I prefer Vea because I think he helps a defense in more ways than Hurst. We know Gruden wants more interior defensive help. Is this his guy?
CB, Jaire Alexander, Louisville
It’s taken a little while, but it looks as though people are starting to realize how good Jaire Alexander is and I wouldn’t be surprised if he is taken before Minkah and Derwin. Jaire fits what Guenther looks for in terms of mentality.
Round 2 – Pick 41
RB, Derrius Guice, LSU
There is word that Guice is slipping in the eyes of NFL personnel groups with some character concerns, plus he is a RB and they tend to slip in the early rounds. Could he be available at 41? If so, I’ve heard nothing that would prevent me from making this pick. Guice is the complete package and can be a top 10 NFL back for the next 5-7 years.
CB, Mike Hughes, UCF
He didn’t test quite as well as you’d like at his size, but the tape is undeniably good. He’d have late first round value at this pick. If he is available he is an obvious target.
LB, Rashaan Evans, Alabama
Another guy who hasn’t tested as well you would have expected, but he does so many things well on film. There are some LB needy teams late in R1, but they might get scared away by his measurables. If that happens, the Raiders could find themselves in a position to take a monster in the middle.
OT, Tyrell Crosby, Oregon
It’s a barren offensive tackle class, but Tyrell Crosby is one of my favorites. He checks all of the boxes in terms of size, athleticism, tape and attitude that you want in an offensive tackle. He’d be an immediate upgrade at right tackle.
IDL, Nathan Shepherd, Fort Hays
If this guy played at a major program I think we’d be talking about a top 15 pick. He is that good on film and he has all of the measurables. It’s very hard to project where he is going to go but I would be extremely comfortable taking him at 41.
Round 3 – Pick 74
LB, Malik Jefferson, Texas
In Malik you are getting a little bit of a project, but one that has a ton of experience and production as a LB and an Edge. At the very least you are getting sub-package weapon and someone who could turn into a very good SAM or Will.
CB, Carlton Davis, Auburn
Carlton is a big and physical corner with a ton of big game experience. He is still a little raw but he has late first round skills that need refining. I trust Ansley and Guenther to be able to mold him into an above average starter.
RB, Rashaad Penny, San Diego State
If Guice isn’t available in Round 2, Penny is more than a consolation. He has the size, speed and change of direction ability to be a big time weapon.
WR, Anthony Miller, Memphis
The wide receiver group is a very tricky and interesting one this year. There are a ton of guys projected to go in Round 2 or 3. It really will depend on what teams are looking for. There will be a couple that fall into the third round that have second round value. I am hoping for Miller who plays with an edge and help you in so many ways.
CB, MJ Stewart, North Carolina
MJ has loads of experience all over the field and might be the most plug and play nickel CB in this draft.
Round 4 – Pick 112
LB, Dorian O’Daniel, Clemson
What can I say? I love this guy. He’ll do what Nicholas Morrow did last year times five. Great in coverage, physical tackler, leader and will have loads of special teams value.
RB, John Kelly, Tennessee
A Raider Nation favorite that I think will go later than some think because there are so many R2/R3 running backs that they are bound to push back the third tier a little bit.
OT, Jamarco Jones, Ohio State
Jamarco Jones isn’t a world beater but he is sold and checks all the boxes. I think he has starter potential at a premium position.
Edge, Kemoko Turay, Rutgers
I think I am being a bit optimistic with this availability projection. Turay didn’t put up huge surface stats at Rutgers and had some trouble staying on the field which might push him to Round 4. Otherwise his athletic ability and pass rush skills are undeniable.
CB, Holton Hill, Texas
Holton is a guy that could go Round 2 and could go Round 7 so naturally I’ve projected somewhere in the middle. From a talent perspective Holton is a top five CB in this class, but he has a lot of character concerns that teams are going to have to get comfortable or not comfortable with. He absolutely locked down Byron Pringle, who I love and he is one of the most fearless tacklers I have ever studied from the CB position.
Round 5 – Pick 159 + 173
WR, Javon Wims, Georgia
One of my poorly hidden draft crushes. I believe he has Round 3 value but based on chatter he might available this late. He fills a huge need in terms of WR ability to win 50/50 balls.
IDL, RJ McIntosh, Miami
He didn’t test nearly as well as I would have thought but he has real pass rush skills from the interior.
IDL, Rasheem Green, USC
Rasheem is a pure high upside pick with some risk of flopping. He has a ton of raw skills and he could turn into a force as an interior pass rusher.
CB, Greg Stroman, Virginia Tech
Greg had a really great year in coverage last year and flashes some really great ball skills as a former WR. He also provides a ton of value as a punt returner.
WR, Justin Watson, Penn
Justin blew up his pro day with some elite numbers. He isn’t just a workout warrior either, he was incredible productive in the ivy league and shows polish as a route runner.
LB, Josey Jewell, Iowa
Josey has instincts flooding out of his years and I love his zone awareness as a pass rusher. He isn’t a great athlete but he has starter ability and could be available in round 5.
Edge, Trent Harris, Miami
Trent racked up an impressive amount of sacks and pressures while splitting time with Chad Thomas on the edge. I think he could end up being a very production third down edge rusher.
CB, Arrion Springs, Oregon
Arrion is one of the most underrated corners in this draft. He has the size, athleticism, physicality and technique you want in a boundary corner. He isn’t going to snag a ton of interceptions, but he will be in position to break up a ton of balls and provide a lot of support against the run.
RB, Nyheim Hines, NC State
Hines is the definition of a weapon. The form wide receiver turned running back has shake and breakaway speed. He also is a great return man and can fill the void that was created in Cordarrelle Patterson got traded to New England.
P, Michael Dickson, Texas
I don’t study punters. Most folks say this guy is the best one and his numbers back that up. 44+ net average is really good. The Raiders need a punter and I don’t think this guy will get many 15 yard penalties.
Round 6 – Pick 185, 212, 216, 217
IDL, Bilal Nichols, Delaware
It’s very possible that Bilal goes earlier than the 6th, but his inconsistent effort and production could push him back. If he does fall, he could be a steal. He is the prototypical 3-technique IDL with powerful hands and a quick first step.
CB, Darious Williams, UAB
Darious had a breakout season for the returning UAB program. He shows a great ability to adjust and find the ball. He projects as a nickel corner in the NFL.
WR, Daurice Fountain, Northern Iowa
Fountain is another small school prospect that could get picked much earlier based on post season flashes and great pro day numbers. He is still a bit raw as a route runner, but he has soft and natural hands and some legit after the catch ability.
CB, Ryan Carter, Clemson
Ryan has been under appreciated ever since he was a throw in recruit at Clemson. All he has ever done is over achieve and prove folks run. I expect him to continue to do that in the NFL as a slot corner.
RB, Martez Carter, Grambling
Martez is another change of pace back with electric “shifty-ness”. He is a threat as a runner, receiver and a returner. He has legitimate Darren Sproles like skills.
IDL, Kahlil McKenzie, Tennessee
I mean, how can you not make Reggie’s son a target? On the real, Kahlil has some serious juice inside, he just hasn’t quite put it all together yet. His flashes of power are real though.
Edge, Ade Aruna, Tulane
Ade tore up the combine with some really impressive explosion numbers for a man of his size on the edge. The production doesn’t match the physique, but there are some things that pop out in his tape that lead you to believe his best football is ahead of him.
RB, Ito Smith, Southern Miss
See Martez Carter’s description above and replicate it here. Ito is another change of pace weapon that will be a valuable chess piece for an offensive coordinator.
LB, Devante Downs, Cal
Downs has the size and instincts to be a 3-down NFL starting LB. He’d probably be looking like a Round 3 or 4 pick had he not hurt his leg midway through the year. He was playing like a top five defensive player in the Pac-12.
WR, Dylan Cantrell, Texas Tech
It’s the year of the athletic white wide receiver is it not? Cantrell has elite size and speed and he doesn’t drop anything. As I write it out the 6th round seems more and more unrealistic.
Round 7 – Pick 231
WR, Malik Turner, Illinois
Malik was in a brutal situation at Illinois, but the skills, size and athleticism are unarguably there. I think he is going to surprise some people wherever he lands.
CB, Trey Johnson, Villanova
His corner counterpart Malik Reaves gets more notoriety, but I prefer Trey. He is more athletic and more physical in coverage.
OT, Jamil Demby, Maine
Good size and held up very well at the East-West Shrine game and Senior Bowl. He may not be athletic enough to stick outside, but should provide good flexibility with the size to be able to bump inside if need be.
IDL, Du’Vunta Lampkin, Oklahoma
I love Lumpkin’s flashes. He doesn’t have a ton of experience but has some serious juice inside. He may be a very good player in a couple of years.
RB, Ray Lawry, Old Dominion
Injuries de-railed Lawry’s senior year after an outstanding Junior year. He has great wiggle and contact balance and I think he is going to be a great depth piece for somebody’s backfield.