Oakland Raiders

Raiders draft grades: Analysts score the team well, even while questioning top pick

Watch the reaction when Raiders select Clelin Ferrell with the No. 4 pick

The Oakland Raiders selected Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell with the fourth overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft on Thursday, April 25, 2019.
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The Oakland Raiders selected Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell with the fourth overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft on Thursday, April 25, 2019.

A week has passed since the 2019 NFL Draft kicked off.

The Raiders, who had three picks in the first round, selected Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell at No. 4 overall.

In all, Oakland made nine selections over the three-day, seven-round draft before adding more players with post-draft signings, including former UC Davis wide receiver Keelan Doss.

With the Raiders opening rookie minicamp Friday, here’s a look at how analysts graded the team’s draft haul:

The Raiders’ 2019 draft class

Round 1, No. 4 overall pick: Clelin Ferrell, defensive end, Clemson

Round 1, No. 24 overall pick: Josh Jacobs, running back, Alabama

Round 1, No. 27 overall pick: Johnathan Abram, safety, Mississippi State

Round 2, No. 40 overall pick: Trayvon Mullen, cornerback, Clemson

Round 4, No. 106 overall pick: Maxx Crosby, defensive end, Eastern Michigan

Round 4, No. 129 overall pick: Isaiah Johnson, cornerback, Houston

Round 4, No. 137 overall pick: Foster Moreau, tight end, LSU

Round 5, No. 149 overall pick: Hunter Renfrow, wide receiver, Clemson

Round 7, No. 230 overall pick: Quinton Bell, defensive end, Prairie View A&M


Mel Kiper Jr. liked what the Raiders did but thinks they could have moved down if Ferrell was the guy they wanted first.

“Overall you have to like the talent influx from the draft class,” Kiper wrote. “They loaded up on power-program, tested talent. They hit a pile of needs, though they had plenty to hit. The reality is they needed it.”

Grade: B


Dan Parr was complimentary of all AFC West teams’ drafts. The Raiders weren’t the head of the class, but they didn’t bring up the rear, either.

Parr: “It’s still a couple years too early to tell if Jon Gruden is a genius or a silly man for dealing away Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper, but we all know the fate of his 2019 draft picks, the three first-rounders in particular, will play a huge role in history’s judgment of those decisions. It seems Gruden and Mayock did a nice job of setting a new foundation, although taking Ferrell at No. 4 was stunning, considering Kentucky’s Josh Allen and Houston’s Ed Oliver were still on the board (and might have been a better solution to the squad’s pass-rushing woes). ... It’s hard not to like the Jacobs and Abram picks. That’s the top RB and safety in the draft.”

Grade: B

CBS Sports

Pete Prisco called the Jacobs pick a “good move” but wasn’t big on Ferrell going fourth.

Prisco: “Ferrell was taken too high for my blood, but they bounced back to take Jacobs and safety Johnathan Abram with their next two first-round picks. I do like fourth-round corner Isaiah Johnson.”

Grade: B-

Sports Illustrated

Andy Benoit’s grade for the Raiders isn’t exactly a good one. He wasn’t complimentary of the team’s first three picks, especially Ferrell.

Benoit: “Ferrell may well live up to his high draft billing ... but when a team picks a guy fourth overall, the team generally expects him to become a superstar. And 99% of superstar defensive linemen have some sort of twitch, quickness or burst. Ferrell did not show a ton of that at Clemson, instead looking more like a ‘good at everything, great at nothing guy.’ ”

Grade: C-

Yahoo Sports

Eric Edholm wasn’t high on the Ferrell pick but had plenty of good things to say about Jacobs.

Edholm: “They got Jacobs right about where we expected him to be taken; it’s hard not to like what he offers, and it’s easy to see how Jon Gruden could feature him in his system. The Raiders added some juice to their offense that they lacked last season, and Jacobs is just going to be a fun power/slasher back who will open eyes with his receiving chops.”

Grade: B-

USA Today

Nate Davis wrote that the Raiders’ grade has little to do with general manager Mike Mayock because he wasn’t on board when the team traded Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper, saying the new players brought in as a result of those deals need to prove they’re worth what Oakland gave up.

Davis: “You can quibble that the price was a little high for fourth overall pick Clelin Ferrell, but there’s no guarantee he would have remained available down the board had Oakland lured a trade partner — and they’re difficult to find when you’re talking about a selection that high. But make no mistake, new GM Mike Mayock wanted high-character, highly productive players who love the game, and Ferrell checks those boxes. Subsequent first-rounders Josh Jacobs and Johnathan Abram also seem like the foundational players such picks warrant, and second-round CB Trayvon Mullen could prove nearly as valuable.”

Grade: B

Sporting News

Vinnie Iyer has good things to say about the Raiders’ GM-coach tandem and was one of two analysts here with a top mark for the team.

Iyer: “Turns out Jon Gruden’s championship experience and Mike Mayock’s years of ace draft analysis work pretty well together in rebuilding a roster. They went right down the line in filling key holes and finding good value with Ferrell, Jacobs, Abram, Mullen, Moreau and Renfrow.”

Grade: A

Bleacher Report

While some analysts are questioning the Ferrell pick, Kristopher Knox seems to like the choice, saying, “He has the potential to give the Raiders a top-tier edge rusher for the next decade.”

Knox: “While it’s fair to question the Ferrell pick with talents such as Josh Allen and Ed Oliver still on the board, this draft should provide a solid foundation for the Raiders as they make the transition from Oakland to Las Vegas.”

Grade: B+

San Diego Union-Tribune

Eddie Brown gives the Raiders a high grade due to how many of the team’s picks could play a prime role.

Brown: “I count at least six potential starters year one in this group.”

Grade: A

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Noel Harris is a sports reporter for The Sacramento Bee, with a focus on the Kings. He’s been in professional journalism for more than 18 years. His roles have included sports editor at The Modesto Bee and news editor at two smaller California newspapers, as well as online producer and copy editor.