Oakland Raiders

Raiders mock drafts: Once a 49ers favorite, pass rusher expected in silver and black

Now that the NFL scouting combine has passed, there seems to be a consensus on the top two players in the 2019 NFL draft.

The Raiders aren’t on the clock until the fourth overall pick, but most analysts believe the team will select someone to help a pass rush that finished last in sacks by a large margin.

There’s a new favorite in the newest round of mocks for Oakland, a player who was once seen as an ideal fit for the other Bay Area team.

Most analysts are tabbing Kentucky edge Josh Allen as the Raiders’ choice at No. 4, the first of their three opening-round picks (they will also choose 24th and 27th).

According to NFL.com, Allen is a “true hybrid linebacker with elite physical traits who has the ability to float between coverage and pass rush duties. ... He’s fine-tuned a couple of go-to rush moves but will need to continue to diversify his rush portfolio as a pro.”

He’s not the only player who could don the silver and black when the three-day, seven-round draft kicks off April 25 in Nashville, Tenn. Here’s a sampling of the latest mocks for the No. 4 pick:

ESPN+

Updated March 6

Todd McShay on Allen: “When you manage just 13 sacks – a league low, and 17 fewer than the next-worst team – you’d best be looking for pass-rushers. Allen himself out-sacked the Raiders in 2018, recording 17 coming off the edge for Kentucky. If the (New York) Jets don’t take him at No. 3, he fits a big need here.”

NFL.com

Updated March 5

The league’s official website provides mock drafts from seven analysts: Bucky Brooks, Charley Casserly, Maurice Jones-Drew, Daniel Jeremiah, Chad Reuter, Peter Schrager and Lance Zierlein.

The site’s most recent post comes from Jeremiah, who also chose Allen: “The Raiders have needs all over the field, but none more important than their pass rush. Allen fits the bill.”

CBS Sports

Updated March 6

CBS Sports also has mocks from six men: Will Brinson, Jared Dubin, Pete Prisco, Chris Trapasso, R.J. White and Ryan Wilson. The newest mock was done by Brinson, has the Raiders trading up to No. 1 and taking Oklahoma quaterback Kyler Murray.

According to his draft profile, the 2019 Heisman Trophy winner out of Oklahoma “is like a complex burgundy with notes of Baker Mayfield, Johnny Manziel and Russell Wilson in his play, but like any quarterback, he’ll need to prove he can recognize disguised coverages and work on-time from the pocket to go from flash talent to playoff winner. ... Murray is an electric talent with a live arm, good mental makeup and the skill-set to produce at a high level in the right offense.”

Brinson: “We are all talking about the (Arizona) Cardinals taking Kyler Murray with the first overall pick and I think that’s entirely possible/likely, but I do want to explore another universe – perhaps one the Cards like even more – where they get to keep their current quarterback, trade down and, you know, give him some help.”

USA Today

Updated March 6

Nate Davis on Allen: “Oakland coach Jon Gruden has offered some interesting views on pass rushers over the past six months. At the combine, he touted ‘production’ as a trait he values, and Allen has shown oodles of that with 31 sacks over the past three seasons, including 17 last year (or four more than the Raiders generated collectively). At 6-5 and 262 pounds, Allen even projects as a bigger player than departed Khalil Mack and the kind of height/weight/speed prospect new GM Mike Mayock adores.”

Bleacher Report

Updated March 5

Matt Miller on Allen: “Josh Allen is athletic, productive and a great person off the field, according to team officials who spoke to him at the combine. That’s the trifecta every evaluator looks for, which is why Allen figures to be a top-five pick. The Raiders have numerous needs, but none like the hole they created at pass-rusher by trading Khalil Mack. Instead of paying exorbitant money for a free agent – which is what they wanted to avoid with Mack – drafting an inexpensive edge-rusher to have under contract for the next five years is the correct team-building move.”

U-T San Diego

Updated March 6

Eddie Brown, who might be the first analyst on record to connect the Raiders to Murray, now has Alabama defensive lineman Quinnen Williams as Oakland’s pick.

According to his draft profile on NFL.com, “Williams is an instant starter with Pro Bowl potential. ... His play strength is good, but his lack of mass and length will show up at times against NFL competition.”

Brown: “The 21-year-old was a revelation this season and put together an impressive performance in Indy – his 4.83 40-yard dash was the fourth fastest by a 300-pounder since 2003, according to NFL.com.”

Walter Football

Updated March 6

Walter Cherepinsky on Williams: “The Raiders will select one of four players: Nick Bosa, Quinnen Williams, Kyler Murray or Dwayne Haskins. Three of them are off (my) board. Thus, Williams becomes the obvious pick.”

The Ringer

Updated March 5

Danny Kelly on Allen: “Incredibly productive pass rusher with a mix of size, length, power and quickness” and has shades of Jamie Collins, a 2015 Pro Bowl selection who has played six NFL seasons with the New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns.

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Noel Harris is the assistant local editor for The Sacramento Bee. A former Kings beat reporter who still occasionally writes, he’s been in professional journalism for more than 19 years. His roles have included sports editor at The Modesto Bee and news editor at two smaller California newspapers, as well as online producer, page designer and copy editor.
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