NFL mock draft 2019: How Raiders could use their three first-round picks originally appeared on nbcsportsbayarea.com
Jon Gruden’s tear-it-down-then-build-it-up philosophy will take an important step in April, when his Raiders decide how to use the three-round picks they possess in the NFL draft.
Oakland’s roster needs are numerous. Edge rusher? They actually need two of those, with Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin gone. Deficiencies at running back, wide receiver, middle linebacker and safety also are apparent.
So, while the Raiders might be tempted to package two of their later first-round picks in a trade for an earlier selection, they could be better off standing pat and drafting two potential superstars.
[RELATED: Raiders need to address their middle linebacker problem]
The trades of Mack to the Chicago Bears and Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys brought those later picks. Unfortunately for the Raiders, the Bears and the Cowboys either have clinched or are close to clinching a playoff berth, meaning those acquired picks will fall between Nos. 21 and 32. Not exactly what Gruden and Co. were thinking when they made those deals.
Still, first-round talent is first-round talent, and here’s what various NFL mock drafts have the Raiders selecting, should they own the Nos. 2, 22 and 27 picks in the 2019 NFL Draft:
No. 2: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
No. 22 (via Dallas): Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
No. 27 (via Chicago): Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
What they said on Williams: “Teams might question whether the 19-year-old is ready for the NFL from a maturity standpoint, and one scout said teams just don’t know enough about his character to check off that box, but his play on the field is a sure thing. At 300 lbs, he can be a three-down player in any scheme.”
What they said on Bush: “Bush’s performance, motor, leadership, athleticism … none of that is questioned. If he was bigger, we might be putting him in the same category as Devin White, as a three-down linebacker.”
What they said on Fant: “Fant’s talent is hard to deny, and as a receiver it really is all there-if it was just about that, he’d be a slam-dunk first-round pick. But he clashed some with coaches, and hasn’t always been the most enthusiastic blocker.”
No. 2: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
No. 22 (via Dallas): DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia
No. 27 (via Chicago): Zach Allen, DE, Boston College
What they said on Williams: “He exploded on the NFL radar in his redshirt sophomore season thanks to his ability to create pressure up the middle with power and a good first step. The Raiders’ defense needs playmakers, and Williams is the best one in the draft after [Nick] Bosa.”
What they said on Baker: “Plainly stated, the Raiders need talent at cornerback. Baker is the type of experienced college cornerback who can come in immediately and start and make an impact for Oakland.”
What they said on Allen: “Allen is the last first-round edge rusher available, and he’s the type of end who works the run and pass. He could rise higher than this spot over the next few months.”
No. 2: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
No. 22 (via Dallas): Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
No. 27 (via Chicago): Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State
What they said on Bosa: “Is there any way Bosa doesn’t go first overall? Sure, and should he be on the board when the Raiders go on the clock, expect them to take him without a second thought.”
What they said on Wilson: “Wilson … fits the prototype for what NFL teams look for in linebackers: sideline-to-sideline speed, smart, good tackler and good in coverage.”
What they said on Oruwariye: “Gareon Conley has shown glimpses of his first-round talent this season but the Raiders’ defense remains one of the league’s worst. Adding Oruwariye, a physical, fluid cornerback who can cover, makes sense here …”
The Draft Network
No. 2: Josh Allen, DE/LB, Kentucky
No. 22 (via Dallas): Nassir Adderley, Safety, Delaware
No. 27 (via Chicago): Kelvin Harmon, WR, N.C. State
What they said on Allen: “Interior defensive line isn’t like edge defender, where you can put three on the field and be fine on passing downs. The Raiders have far bigger needs, and [Quinnen] Williams or Ed Oliver would absolutely be a luxury pick here.”
What they said on Adderley: “And don’t think he’s just a small school kid either, this guy can run and hit and play free safety or slide into the box. Adderley is an outstanding athlete with size, range and ball skills. Watch his stock rise over the next few months.”
What they said on Harmon: “Their wide receiver group is currently one of the worst in the NFL, and a big-bodied receiver like Kelvin Harmon could be a big asset on the outside in contested catch situations.”