Mike Fanelli | April 7th, 2020
The offseason for the Raiders was very different from every other franchise, thanks to the move from Oakland to Las Vegas. The 2020 NFL draft was supposed to be held in Las Vegas but COVID-19 had other plans. Thankfully, the draft will still happen on time and the Raiders still have seven picks, including two in the first round and five within the first 100 selections.
During free agency, the Raiders were very active. It started by re-signing Richie Incognito and then signing two linebackers, Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski, to a combined $56.3 million dollars. In addition, the Raiders signed former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Carl Nassib to a three-year deal worth over $25 million dollars. The team went on to sign several other players to one-year deals including Jason Witten, Nelson Agholor, Maliek Collins, and Damarious Randall. With multiple first-round picks, expect the Raiders to have a big impact on how the first night of the draft plays out.
To help with this mock draft, I used The Draft Network mock draft simulator.
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Round 1, Pick 12: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Does everyone remember the Antonio Brown experiment? Needless to say, that didn’t end well. With no AB on the roster, the Raiders were left without a true number one wide receiver. Hunter Renfrow had a nice rookie year but he’s a pure slot receiver and shouldn’t be the top receiver on any team. While CeeDee Lamb and Henry Ruggs III have a shot to be the first receiver off the board, Jeudy is right in that mix too. Over his last two years at Alabama, Jeudy had over 1,150 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns in both seasons. He would step in day one for the Raiders and finally give this offense a true number one wide receiver.
Round 1, Pick 19: C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
I considered picking Jordan Love here as it is clear Jon Gruden isn’t in love with Derek Carr. However, as great as it would be to add Love, the Raiders have bigger holes that need to be filled. The Raiders currently have a bunch of cornerbacks on the roster and it’s an open competition on who starts. Last year’s second-round pick Trayvon Mullen will likely claim one starting spot but the other spot is up for grabs. Pairing Mullen with Henderson would give the Raiders a nice set of young cornerbacks. During his three year career at Florida, Henderson had eight turnovers and 20 passes defended. In a division with Tyreek Hill, Keenan Allen, and Courtland Sutton, you need to have multiple good cornerbacks.
Round 3, Pick 80: Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma
Alright! Now it’s time to add a quarterback. Carr can’t go another year unchallenged for the starting spot and Marcus Mariota has struggled to stay healthy. While Mariota’s contract suggests he will be given a chance to start, only the first year of the deal is guaranteed and Carr could be released or traded while leaving little dead money on the books. Everyone is aware of how great of a teammate Hurts is and every NFL head coach should want him in their locker room. Hurts has the potential to turn into a starting caliber quarterback, and even if he doesn’t, he will be a high end backup and a great locker room guy. With quality backup quarterbacks worth their weight in gold, taking Hurst in the third round isn’t a reach.
Round 3, Pick 81: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State
Doubling down on wide receiver? Bet your ass I am. Tyrell Williams‘ first season as a Raider was a disappointment after signing a massive contract last offseason. He struggled with injuries and played games hurt. The Raiders can release him after the 2020 season with no dead money and unless he has a great season, they will. Instead of waiting till next year to give Jeudy and Renfrow a running mate, the Raiders would be wise to add Aiyuk in the third round. During his final season at Arizona State, Aiyuk had 65 receptions for just under 1,200 yards and eight touchdowns. Whoever is playing quarterback for the Raiders, they can no longer complain about a lack of weapons.
Round 3, Pick 91: Rashard Lawrence, DT, LSU
Currently, the Raiders have strong depth at defensive tackle with the addition of Collins to go along with Johnathan Hankins, Maurice Hurst, and P.J. Hall. However, Collins is signed to just a one year deal while Hankins’ deal also expires after the 2020 season. With both potentially out the door after this season, the Raiders would be wise to add some depth in the middle rounds this year. Over his last three years at LSU, Lawrence had 114 total tackles, 19.5 for a loss and eight sacks. While he may never turn into a full time starter, he would form a nice rotation next season with Hurst and Hall.
Round 4, Pick 121: Netane Muti, iOL, Fresno State
Even though the Raiders re-signed Incognito when the offseason started to a two year deal, only the first year is guaranteed and he will turn 37 years old before the season starts. On the other side, Gabe Jackson could be on his way out the door and the Raiders lack depth at guard. Muti has experience at both guard and left tackle during his time at Fresno State. Ideally, Muti would spend a year as the swing guard behind Incognito and Jackson, but if he needs to start as a rookie, he can.
Round 5, Pick 159: Lamical Perine, RB, Florida
Last year’s first-round pick Josh Jacobs had a great rookie season and looks like a future star in the league. However, the depth behind him is questionable at best. Jalen Richard was re-signed to a two-year deal but has no guaranteed money after next season and could easily be released. Meanwhile, DeAndre Washington is a free agent and has yet to be re-signed. Over his last three seasons at Florida, Perine had 28 total touchdowns despite being in a running back committee situation. Jacobs struggled with injuries to close out last season and adding some quality depth behind him would be a smart idea.
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