Here’s a full seven-round mock for the Las Vegas Raiders heading into the 2020 NFL Draft. (Photo by … [+]
The Las Vegas Raiders head into next week’s 2020 NFL Draft with multiple selections in both the first and third rounds. It’s an opportunity for head coach Jon Gruden and Co. to build more talent on a roster that seems to be on an upward trajectory.
There’s a lot to look at here as the Raiders conduct their first draft with the Las Vegas namesake. Will Gruden look to find that quarterback of the future, even after adding Marcus Mariota to the mix?
More than anything, Las Vegas must find more weapons for whoever is under center next season. That’s where my full seven-round mock starts.
Note: Mock draft conducted on the Fanspeak simulator using Bleacher Report Matt Miller’s big board.
First Round, 12th Pick: Henry Ruggs, Wide Receiver, Alabama
Alabama’s Henry Ruggs would give the Raiders that No. 1 receiving threat they have been looking for. … [+]
We all know one Mr. Jon Gruden loves himself some speed at wide receiver. We also know that Las Vegas is in need of a future No. 1 pass catcher following the entire Antonio Brown fiasco.
Enter into the equation the blazing fast Ruggs, who absolutely dominated elite SEC competition with Bama. The 5-foot-11 Ruggs ran a ridiculous 4.27 second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. He’s quick off the line and can get open with the best of them underneath. A pick like this brings back memories of the Al Davis era. What better way to start another era in Las Vegas with a flashy pick? It just makes too much sense.
First Round, 19th Pick: C.J. Henderson, Cornerback, Florida
A pure shutdown cornerback, Las Vegas would be getting an absolute steal in C.J. Henderson at 19. … [+]
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PSA: I can’t envision Henderson falling to the second half of the initial round. Alas, that’s what happened in the mock draft simulator. I also had the Raiders potentially looking to trade down here. That would not be a possibility if Henderson is available. He’s getting some late play as a top-10 pick.
Henderson (6-foot-1, 204 pounds) is the true definition of a boundary corner. After Las Vegas’ deal with Eli Apple fell through, this is a position of utmost need. He’s physical at the line and shows plus-level athleticism for such a big defensive back. Henderson would be a Day 1 starter for Vegas with Pro Bowl upside. No-brainer here.
Third Round, 80th Pick: Grant Delpit, Safety, LSU
Despite a down 2019 season, Grant Delpit has the “it” factor. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
Seeing a theme here? General manager Mike Mayock and Co. are poaching top-end talent from the SEC in this final mock draft. In Delpit, the Raiders add a player many had pegged as a top-10 prospect heading into the 2019 college football season. Some lackluster tape has seen his drop dramatically leading up the annual draft.
Even then, the physical traits are here. He stands at 6-foot-2 and is physical both against the run and in coverage. Prior to dealing with a high-ankle sprain last season, Delpit also showed the ability to play single high safety. He’d be a tremendous fit with 2019 first-round pick Johnathan Abram and can even play nickel linebacker if needed.
Third Round, 90th Pick: Adam Trautman, Tight End, Dayton
Tight end might not be a need, but Adam Trautman would be too hard to pass up on here. (Photo by … [+]
Note: Las Vegas sends third-round pick (81st) overall to the Texans for third-round (90th pick) and fourth round (121st pick)
Despite boasting five picks in the first three rounds of the draft, Las Vegas is going to want to add more capital here. Houston pays a premium to move up less than 10 spots to select Notre Dame wide receiver Chase Claypool. In return, the Raiders add a fourth-round selection.
Is Trautman a need? Of course not. Las Vegas boasts Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller and just added future Hall of Famer Jason Witten. Rather, this is a luxury pick for Gruden and Co. Trautman could very well be the best tight end in a weak class. He recorded 70 receptions for 916 yards last season. The small-school product is also a matchup nightmare waiting to happen. Standing at 6-foot-6, Trautman provides a big target and boasts surprising speed for someone his size.
Third Round, 91st Pick: Cam Akers, Running Back, Florida State
The Raiders will go running back at some point. Cam Akers would be a great fit. (Photo by Joe … [+]
Another surprise pick, right? Las Vegas selected former Alabama standout Josh Jacobs in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. All Jacobs did as a rookie was put up 1,150 rushing yards at a robust clip of 4.8 yards per attempt. He’s RB1 for the Raiders for the foreseeable future.
Even then, talk around the water cooler in Vegas is that the team is going to target a mid-round running back. Akers is just the guy. He struggled statistically at times with the Seminoles, but most of that had to do with a poor offensive line and a lack of a passing game at Florida State. Akers (5-foot-10, 217 pounds) packs a punch at the line and would complement Jacobs well. His vision and surprising speed is also a plus here.
Fourth Round, 111th Pick: Damien Lewis, Guard, LSU
Big. Bully. That’s the best way to describe what the Raiders are attempting to build along the interior of their offensive line. Current starters Richie Incognito and Gabe Jackson represent this to a T. Despite that, Las Vegas needs to get young here. Incognito is on his last legs. Jackson has been dealing with injuries recently.
Lewis (6-foot-2, 329 pounds) is a perfect fit in the Raiders’ scheme. He’s a drive blocker who can dominate in a power-specific blocking scheme. The issues relating to lateral quickness and athleticism won’t impact Lewis too much in Vegas. See: Incognito.
Fourth Round, 121st Pick: Jonathan Greenard, EDGE, Florida
Vegas boasts two young edge rushers in that of second-year players Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell. Specifically, Crosby showed out big time as a rookie mid-round pick last season. Even then, depth is needed behind these two. Greenard recorded 16 tackles for losses and 10 sacks in his only season with the Gators after transferring from Louisville.
Fifth Round, 175th Pick: James Morgan, Quarterback, Florida International
Could James Morgan be the quarterback of the future in Las Vegas? (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon … [+]
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Note: Las Vegas sends fifth-round (158th pick) to the Packers for fifth-round (175th pick), sixth-round (208th pick) and seven-round (236th pick)
Again, it’s all about picking up more late-round selections. Heading into the draft, Las Vegas did not have a pick after Round 5. Mayock and Co. change that in a three-for-one trade with Green Bay. In the process, the Raiders finally add that quarterback you have all been waiting for. Morgan has been ascending draft boards in recent weeks. He’s your prototypical quarterback Gruden prefers. At least initially, he could come in and be the No. 3 option behind Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota.
Sixth Round, 208th Pick: Omar Bayless, Wide Receiver, Arkansas State
There’s no way Las Vegas is going to come out of the draft with just one receiver. It needs talent and depth at this position. Rather than going with a mediocre prospect from a big school, the Raiders hit up the small-school ranks in the big-body 6-foot-3 Bayless. Sure it was against lackluster competition, but the dude put up 93 receptions for 1,653 yards and 17 touchdowns for the Red Wolves last season.
Seventh Round, 236th Pick: David Woodward, Linebacker, Utah State
The Raiders did well to add former Pro Bowl linebacker Cory Littleton to the mix in free agency. He’ll create a solid tandem with fellow free-agent signing Nick Kwiatkoski. This doesn’t mean depth shouldn’t be addressed. Yet another small-school product, Woodward recorded 93 tackles and four forced fumbles last season. At the very least, he could be a core special teams player.