Oakland Raiders

Raiders mock drafts: Most say defense, four like Davis ... but Fournette falling?

Linebacker Jarrad Davis runs through a drill during Florida’s NFL Pro Day in Gainesville, Fla., on March 28. Four analysts in this mock draft roundup have Davis going to the Raiders with the 24th pick.
Linebacker Jarrad Davis runs through a drill during Florida’s NFL Pro Day in Gainesville, Fla., on March 28. Four analysts in this mock draft roundup have Davis going to the Raiders with the 24th pick. The Associated Press

On Thursday, Raiders fans found out their team’s full schedule.

Next week, they’ll find out the newest members who will have a chance to play in those games.

The NFL draft’s first round is being announced next Thursday in Philadelphia. The Raiders have the 24th overall pick, a result of finishing 12-4 and reaching the playoffs for the first time in 14 years. Rounds 2-7 will take place over the following two days.

As with past mock roundups, draft predictions seem to be all over the board, but most focus on defensive players. However, for the first time in this series, four analysts agree on one player.

Here’s the latest look at who some analysts think the Raiders will take in the draft:

Sports Illustrated

Updated April 20

Staying true to his call on April 5, SI’s Chris Burke still has Oakland taking Washington wide receiver John Ross. Sacramento-area college football fans are likely familiar with Ross, who caught passes from Folsom High graduate Jake Browning in the Huskies’ high-scoring offense in 2016.

“Eat your heart out, Al Davis. The late Raiders owner loved his speedy prospects, and there is no faster 2017 option than Ross,” Burke writes in his newest mock. “Drop him in the slot playing off of Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, and he could be a huge weapon.”

ESPN

Updated April 19 (insider)

The network’s draft analysts, Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay, have completely different ideas on who the Raiders should take.

Kiper has Oakland taking LSU cornerback Tre’Davious White in a bid to help the defense.

“The Raiders’ defense is only a couple pieces away from being Super Bowl-caliber, and there’s no doubt that they will be scouring the cornerbacks in this class,” Kiper writes. “White, a four-year starter, could play outside or in the slot, and he could also help in the return game.”

No way, writes McShay. The Raiders have a need at running back with Latavius Murray’s departure. Assuming they don’t get Oakland native Marshawn Lynch out of retirement and away from the Seattle Seahawks’ grip, he has the Raiders taking Florida State running back Dalvin Cook.

“Running back is a glaring hole on an otherwise stacked Raiders offense,” McShay writes. “Cook comes with durability and character concerns, but he’s electric in the open field and has shown the ability to create yards on his own.”

CBS Sports

Updated April 17-20

The site’s six analysts agree that the Raiders need help on defense. Three of them have Oakland selecting a cornerback. However, there is accord on one player who isn’t a defensive back. Analysts Dane Brugler and Will Brinson have the Raiders selecting Florida linebacker Jarrad Davis.

“The Raiders are missing an athletic and powerful thumper in the middle of the defense, something that Davis would answer,” Brugler writes, while Brinson says, “Oakland needs to get better on the inside at linebacker in a year that isn't ‘win now,’ but sort of is because of their move to Las Vegas.”

Two NFL.com writers also have the Raiders selecting Davis.

NFL.com

Updated March 28-April 18

Five analysts make up the league site’s predictions. Most are focused on defense, but Chad Reuter breaks away from the pack.

He has the Raiders picking Miami tight end David Njoku, despite the team’s offseason acquisition of Jared Cook from the Green Bay Packers.

Reuter says, “The tight end from Miami has outstanding potential, and who wouldn't want to catch passes from Derek Carr?”

The other analysts all have the Raiders taking a linebacker. Like CBS Sports, two agree on Jarrad Davis.

Lance Zierlein says, “Davis is a physical hitter and a very good athlete. Al Davis would approve of this one.” Daniel Jeremiah adds, “Davis is one of the cleaner players in the draft. He has an ideal blend of size, speed and instincts.”

The Ringer

Updated April 11

This seems like a surprise if this player is available at 24, but Danny Kelly has LSU running back Leonard Fournette falling to the Raiders.

Kelly has Fournette, who many consider the best back in this year’s draft, going four picks after Dalvin Cook to the Denver Broncos. ESPN’s Todd McShay also tabbed Cook for the Raiders – 16 picks after Fournette would be selected by the Carolina Panthers.

Kelly seems to be high on Fournette’s talent, but it seems odd to have him fall so far.

“The Raiders may end up coaxing Marshawn Lynch out of retirement, but their interest in the former Seahawk illustrates a clear desire to add a physical identity to their running attack,” Kelly writes. “Even if Lynch unretires and joins the team as a short-term bonus, drafting Fournette here gives Oakland a long-term solution. Running behind the Raiders’ fearsome offensive line, Fournette would batter defenses, wear down opponents and, with breakaway speed, he’d make second-level defenders pay if they take a bad angle. Fournette also takes pressure off of Derek Carr to carry the offense, giving the Raiders something their high-flying offense lacked in 2016: the ability to grind out games on the ground and protect leads in the fourth quarter.”

U-T San Diego

Updated April 20

While the position has changed from last update, the side of the ball hasn’t. Draft analyst Eddie Brown has the Raiders going defensive and selecting Colorado cornerback Chidobe Awuzie.

“Awuzie possesses the size/speed combination NFL teams covet at the position, plus he’s versatile enough to play outside or in the slot,” Brown writes.

He adds that the Raiders’ top position needs are at cornerback, defensive tackle and running back.

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