The Raiders, coming off their first playoff appearance in 14 years, won’t have an early pick in the upcoming NFL draft (unless they trade up).
Having the sixth-ranked offense in terms of yardage and seventh in scoring last season, most analysts expect the Raiders to use the 24th overall pick on a defensive player to boost a unit that allowed 24.1 points per game, which ranked 20th in the NFL.
Here’s a roundup of who some analysts think the Raiders will take in the draft, which begins April 27:
Posted March 22
Burke has the Raiders looking to upgrade the defense, selecting Michigan safety Jabrill Peppers with the 24th pick. “While the jury remains out on Peppers’ ultimate draft value, his combine performance and unique versatility still point toward a Round 1 landing spot.”
Updates range from March 13-28
None of the five analysts weighing in agree on a selection. Even the positions are different. The first three men participating in the mock (Chad Reuter, Charley Casserly and Lance Zierlein) have the Raiders going defense. What seems like a strange pick is Daniel Jeremiah’s projection that Oakland will take Washington receiver John Ross – but the Raiders already have Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. “This isn’t a big need for the Raiders but Ross could take this passing game to a new level with his big-play ability,” Jeremiah notes. Bucky Brooks also has Oakland going offense, selecting a tackle to help protect quarterback Derek Carr, whose MVP-caliber season was ended early with a leg injury.
Posted March 27
Infante believes Florida State running back Dalvin Cook is a good fit for the Raiders, despite a less-than-impressive combine performance. “He’s a great athlete on tape. He displays speed, vision and elusiveness on film. He can cut with the best of them, and knows how to exploit holes in a defense. ... Behind Oakland’s offensive line, (Cook) could be an All-Pro talent.”
Posted March 27
Kelly likes the Raiders to take Washington cornerback Kevin King, saying his size and speed would have been attractive to the team’s late owner. “King would’ve be a dream target for the late Al Davis: a physical press cornerback with elite size (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) and speed. It just so happens that current Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie also values those traits.”
Posted March 28
Agreeing with NFL.com’s Charley Casserly, Brugler puts Oakland on Vanderbilt linebacker Zach Cunningham. “The Raiders could use a tough, rangy linebacker and Cunningham fits the bill with his ball awareness, play speed and length to keep himself free from blocks.”
Posted March 30
Brown, who says the Raiders’ top needs are on defense, has the team selecting Florida defensive tackle Caleb Brantley. “Brantley is an effective interior pass-rusher who helps create sacks for his teammates.”