Raiders’ Derek Carr discusses Antonio Brown and playing against Khalil Mack next season
How quickly things can change in the days leading up to the NFL draft.
The position of need for the Raiders remains the same in the eyes of draft analysts: pass rusher. However, what’s new is there now seems to be a consensus on whom they think will have their name called early on April 25 in Nashville, Tenn.
All but one analyst sampled here like the same player for the first of the Raiders’ three first-round picks – a change from the most recent roundup, when they were all across the board.
The Raiders have three picks on the opening day: Nos. 4, 24 and 27. Who will General Manager Mike Mayock, coach Jon Gruden and Co. call on first?
Here’s a sampling of what analysts are predicting:
Updated April 3
Draft analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay have been known to take playful shots at each other as they discuss their predictions. However, in their first published joint mock this year, they are in lockstep on the first seven picks. For the Raiders at No. 4, each likes Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams.
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.”
Kiper: “Williams is the type of defensive playmaker Jon Gruden loves, and you have to think the Raiders coach would be thrilled if he made it to No. 4.”
McShay: “Could the Raiders think about a quarterback here? Gruden got to see Drew Lock up close at the Senior Bowl. But let’s not forget that this team badly needs defensive line help. Williams had 19.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks last season.”
Updated April 2
The league’s official website provides mock drafts from multiple analysts. The latest to check in is Charles Davis, who also has Williams going to the silver and black.
Davis: “Joy in Raider Land! The team makeover continues with this force from ‘Bama who will help set a new and more forceful tone for this defense.”
Updated April 8
Like NFL.com, CBS Sports also offers mocks from multiple analysts. The latest to post is Ryan Wilson. He’s another tabbing Williams as the Raiders’ choice.
Wilson: “Williams is a monster. He dominated just about every snap during the 2018 season and he came to the combine and dominated there, too. He blazed a 4.83 40-yard dash, which only confirms what we already knew: His physical abilities are off the charts, and he’s not only a legit top-5 talent, he has an argument as the top-overall pick.”
Updated April 1
It’s been a while since Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz has posted a mock. In this one, he has Williams heading to Oakland.
Middlehurst-Schwartz: “Oakland has some promising second-year players on the interior in Maurice Hurst and P.J. Hall, but Williams is the kind of talent Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock should lunge for should he be available here. The Outland Trophy winner sizes up as a consistent disruptive presence and a potential cornerstone for a defense in need of one.”
Updated April 3
Eddie Brown also likes Williams in silver and black.
Brown: “A trade-up with the Arizona Cardinals for the right to select (Oklahoma quarterback Kyler) Murray wouldn’t shock me. ... If they stay put ... 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.
Updated April 1
The site run by Walter Cherepinsky is updated more than just about any you’ll find. However, this time we check in with Charlie Campbell, who also writes on the site. He has Kentucky edge Josh Allen heading to Oakland.
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.”
Campbell: “Allen would give the Raiders’ defense a lot of solutions with his ability to rush off the edge and play off-the-ball linebacker. For the NFL, Allen is fast and dynamic edge defender with natural feel to go along with a dynamite first-step. He closes in an instant, using his good athleticism to bend around the edge or dodge blockers. ... He would be a great fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker. In a 4-3, he could rush off the edge and play outside linebacker.”
Updated April 1
Danny Kelly’s most recent mock has the Raiders taking Williams with the No. 4 pick.
The analyst calls Williams a “slippery interior menace who combines physicality, burst, and violent hands to discard blocks and get into the backfield” and says he has shades of Gerald McCoy, who has played his nine-year career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and has six Pro Bowl nods.
Updated April 6
Joe Tansey only gave detailed analysis for two teams in his mock. One of those teams was the Raiders, who he has drafting Williams.
Tansey: “Bringing in a weapon to (Derek) Carr’s offensive arsenal with the No. 4 pick seems unlikely with the plethora of defensive talent available at the top end of the first round. But if the Raiders come away from April 25 with a defensive difference-maker and two assets for Carr to work with, they could be seen as the biggest winner of the first round.”