Potential targets for the Oakland Raiders in the 2nd round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
The Oakland Raiders had a busy first day of the 2018 NFL Draft, trading down from the 10th pick to the 15th to select Kolton Miller while also trading the 3rd round pick acquired in that trade down for Steelers WR Martavis Bryant.
While the pick of Miller has received much criticism, especially with the likes of Derwin James and Harold Landry still available, day two of the draft brings another opportunity for the Silver and Black to add impact players.
The Raiders will be 41st overall and 75th overall, barring any trades. Per the “Predicting Reggie McKenzie’s big board” project I put together in mid-april, I will be focusing primarily on players that check all the boxes based on recent Raiders draft history.
If you are unfamiliar with that project, check out the article when you have a moment. The final product resulted in a big board of 125 players, so for the most part, those are players I will focus on as potential targets. However, there are some players who barely missed the cut (like a player who came up 1/4″ short, or maybe 0.01 seconds too slow) that could be in the mix as well.
In order, ranked starting with the most ideal selection, here are my targets for the Raiders in Round 2.
A player I would have been thrilled with as the 10th overall selection has fallen out of the first round. Perhaps I over-valued him, or maybe NFL teams are more concerned with his injury-hampered senior season, but he’s the best player on the board.
The Raiders immediately need a third pass rusher, as the loss of Denico Autry has left them not even an average option for this role. And beyond that, they’ll need a long-term pass rusher to pair with Khalil Mack.
Landry dominated college football his junior season in 2016, racking up 16.5 sacks in just two games. And over a two-year span, he also picked up 38 tackles for loss over a two-season span.
The cornerback room is going to be quite crowded as the Raiders signed a handful of CBs this offseason in an effort to band-aid the problem. But no one that has been signed is a long-term solution, and one is needed to complement Gareon Conley. And if Conley doesn’t pan out, another young cornerback to assume the role of CB1 will be needed.
Isaiah Oliver is tall, long, athletic and polished. He’s good enough to have been drafted in Round 1, and he’d be a steal in Round 2. He fits the mold of CBs that Reggie McKenzie, Jon Gruden and Paul Guenther all prefer. No question he’d be a top target if he were to be available.
Hurst comes in ranked 3rd on my wish list, but he’s more of an honorable mention truthfully. The reason for that is because the latest buzz is he is going to go on the third day of the draft, if at all.
His heart is reportedly a more serious concern than initially known, and there are rumblings that his football career could be in jeopardy. That’s too high to justify a high pick on him, hence the reason why he might fall or go undrafted.
But on the field, he’s a top-ten talent and he is exacty the type of pass rushing DT the Raiders need.
If not Hurst, Shepherd is the next best option. The small-school DT dominated his competition, and he has the size and tools to continue to make an impact in the NFL.
Shepherd may be more of a late day two or early day three pick, but it’s not likely he’ll be available the next time the Raiders are on the clock. So if they like him enough, they better grab him here.
Sweat was one of the most impressive players at the entire combine, but his production at Florida State underwhelmed — hence why he is still available.
But the truth is he was terribly mis-used at Florida State, and he could wreak havoc when he is allowed to pin his ears back and get after the quarterback.
Running back wasn’t originally an idea I had for Round 2, but that changes for Derrius Guice.
Guice is baby Beast Mode — he’s an animal that is athletic enough to run around you, but he’s more likely to run through you. Marshawn will likely be gone after the season, and Guice is a perfect player to pass the torch to.
My guess is the Raiders wait to add a RB until later on, but Guice is fantastic. No question about it.
These are the honorable mentions:
Reid is a safety, but he’s damn good. If the Raiders see Melifonwu as more of a box-hybrid type of player, that opens the door for someone like Reid.
Meeks is a CB but he could also play safety. Like Oliver, he’s got the size and speed combination the Raiders look for here.
Malik Jefferson is a LB with all the physical ability you could want. He hits hard, and he’s got great instincts. That are parts of his game that need refinement, but he’d be a great pick. The only problem is McKenzie doesn’t value LBs all that highly, so Gruden would have to pull the trigger here.
Lorenzo Carter is interesting as he can serve as an outside linebacker and also a pass rusher, depending on how you want to use him. In Paul Guenther’s defense, why not both? He could be an intriguing chess piece.
If the Raiders do want another OT like has been reported, Tyrell Crosby, Connor Williams and Chukwuma Okorafor stand out as the three top options. But if the Raiders do want to draft another tackle, it makes more sense to grab one in Round 3 or Round 4.