Donald Penn, 35 by the end of the month, is coming off a Lisfranc injury and reportedly won't be ready to return for a couple of months. This is obviously a big concern. Meanwhile, Oakland has a huge hole at right tackle. Offensive tackle is a position absolutely must be addressed early in the draft.
Mike McGlinchey is the top tackle in this class, and there's speculation that he'll be a top-10 pick. This is the most logical destination for him in that range.
*** OTHER 2018 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. Vita Vea, NT - We've had Vea here for a while. He would still be a strong option if Ward weren't available, as the Raiders attempted to sign Ndamukong Suh.
2. Denzel Ward, CB - Corner is a huge need, and the ability to obtain the top player at the position is almost too good to be true.
Rd. 2, Pk. 9
Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis
The Raiders signed Jordy Nelson, but he's obviously just a short-term answer across from Amari Cooper.
Pick change; previously Terrell Edmunds, LB
Rd. 3, Pk. 11
Terrell Edmunds, S, Virginia Tech
There's some talk that the Raiders want Roquan Smith in the first round. The problem is that Smith may not be available. Terrell Edmunds would be a viable option to fix the linebacking corps (or safety position, depending on how Oakland wants to use him.)
Pick change; previously Harrison Phillips, DT
Rd. 4, Pk. 10
Michael Dickson, P, Texas
The Raiders cut Marquette King, so they'll be looking for a punter at some point on Day 3.
Rd. 5, Pk. 22
Marcus Allen, S, Penn State
The Raiders re-signed Reggie Nelson as a short-term answer at safety, but they need better play there for the long haul.
Rd. 5, Pk. 36
Simmie Cobbs Jr., WR, Indiana
It wouldn't surprise me if the Raiders added a receiver earlier than this - Anthony Miller in Round 2? - but they need to address the position at some point, given Jordy Nelson's declining skills.
Rd. 6, Pk. 11
Dimitri Flowers, FB, Oklahoma
Jon Gruden discussed the importance of a fullback in his offense, so look for the Raiders to spend a third-day pick on one.
Rd. 6, Pk. 38
Jaleel Scott, WR, New Mexico State
The Raiders needed a receiver before the whole Michael Crabtree-Jordy Nelson "exchange," so adding a second wideout in the draft makes sense.
Rd. 6, Pk. 42
M.J. Stewart, CB, North Carolina
The Raiders could take a couple of cornerbacks late in the draft if they don't address the position early.
Rd. 6, Pk. 43
Grant Haley, CB, Penn State
Here's even more secondary help for the Raiders, who really need to attack this area during the offseason.
Rd. 7, Pk. 10
Darrel Williams, RB, LSU
The Raiders have some aging running backs on their roster, so they'll need to add some youth at the position.
The Raiders could use an upgrade at middle linebacker. Davis is an instant plug-and-play contributor for Oakland. His intelligence and character are a great fit with Khalil Mack and Derek Carr.
Davis collected 60 tackles, two sacks and four passes broken up in 2016. Davis was a strong inside presence who made a ton of clutch tackles for Florida in 2015. He was an unsung hero of one of the best defenses in the nation and was a beast who season in the SEC Championship along with the other late-season games against elite competition. In 2015, Davis totaled 98 tackles with 11 tackles for a loss, four passes broken up, an interception and 3.5 sacks.
The 6-foot-1, 238-pounder is fast, physical and instinctive. He has sideline-to-sideline speed with the athleticism to be a three-down defender. Davis could be a Mike (middle) or a Will (weakside) linebacker in a 4-3. He also could function on the inside of a 3-4.
The Raiders could use an interior disruptor and pass-rusher.
In 2016, Adams had 44 tackles with 8.5 for a loss, 4.5 sacks, two passes batted and one interception. There were times where he looked like a first-rounder with his size and speed. From a skill-set perspective, Adams is an early round talent, but his motor varies between hot and cold. The 6-foot-3, 308-pounder possesses an interesting body type that could fit as a 4-3 three-technique or a 3-4 defensive end. He had a very good Senior Bowl performance, rushing the passer really well in the one-on-ones.
In 2015, Adams had 44 tackles, three for a loss, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one pass broken up. He dominated that season's opener against Louisville and seemed poised for a massive year, but that didn't come to fruition as his motor was too inconsistent. Adams recorded 43 tackles, eight for a loss and three sacks in 2014.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Jeremy McNichols, RB, Boise State
The Raiders were able to add Marshawn Lynch, but he isn't a long-term answer. Oakland could use a mid-round pick on one of the many excellent values at running back.
McNichols (5-9, 214) doesn't have great size, but he was a tough runner for Boise State in 2016. The junior averaged 5.4 yards per carry for 1,709 yards with 23 touchdowns. He also had 37 receptions for 474 yards with four touchdowns. As a sophomore, McNichols averaged 5.6 yards per carry for 1,337 yards with 20 touchdowns. He had 51 catches for 460 yards with six scores. McNichols could at least be a back for the passing game in the NFL.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Vincent Taylor, DT/3-4DE/NT, Oklahoma State
The Raiders could use multiple interior defensive line additions.
Taylor (6-3, 304) is a sleeper prospect who could end up being a nice value pick in the mid-rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft. He has disruptive speed at the point of attack and the strength to fight off blockers. Taylor played well as a junior and decided to skip his senior year. In 2016, Taylor totaled 51 tackles with 13 for a loss, seven sacks, two forced fumbles and one pass broken up. He recorded 48 tackles with 8.5 for a loss, five sacks and a pass broken up in 2015. Taylor has quality size and athleticism with good upside to develop.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Jordan Sterns, S, Oklahoma State
The Raiders could use some safety depth behind Karl Joseph and Reggie Nelson. Additionally, Nelson is a free agent next year.
Rd. 6, Pk. 6
Kareem Are, G, Florida State
The Raiders grab some offensive line depth, and Are could be a steal.
Rd. 7, Pk. 7
Ishmael Zamora, WR, Baylor
The Raiders hosted Zamora and have taken players with character issues in the past.
Rd. 7, Pk. 7
Hardy Nickerson, ILB/OLB, Illinois
The Raiders further bolster the weak middle of their defense with a good run defender.
Oakland could use linebacker help badly. Here's a plug-and-play starter who could have a big impact for the Raiders' run defense and help them in pass coverage. Smith could remind Jon Gruden of Derrick Brooks. <br> <br>
From the start of the 2017 season, Smith (6-1, 225) impressed scouting sources with his great play. They compared him to the Falcons' recent second-day picks of the LSU duo of Deion Jones and Duke Riley, except they say that Smith is better than either Jones or Riley. These sources feel Smith is more on a par with Lavonte David coming out of Nebraska. There is no doubt that Smith is a fast and physical linebacker who flies around the field. He is an excellent run defender with speed and athleticism to cover in the passing game. <br> <br>
Smith amassed 137 tackles with 6.5 sacks, 11.5 tackles for a loss, one forced fumble and two passes batted in 2017. In 2016, he led Georgia in tackles with 95. Smith also had five tackles for a loss, one pass batted and two forced fumbles that season.
In his second stint with the Oakland Raiders, new head coach Jon Gruden has the luxury of drafting the best player available at the number ten overall position. With an offense that is already loaded with talent at the core positions, Gruden must address the defense in order to keep the Raiders competitive in the division. As he has done in the past, Gruden selects the uber athletic youngster with All-Pro upside at a position of need in Edmunds. Oakland has long been characterized as a franchise that promotes athleticism in their draft evaluations since the Al Davis days and general manager Reggie Mackenzie is more than happy at this position to continue the tradition.
Edmunds is a fast, rangy, and hard-hitting linebacker out of Virginia Tech that can help fill the hole that the Raider had only temporarily patched last year with their signings of Navarro Bowman and Malcolm Smith. The trio of Edmunds, Bruce Irvin, and Tahir Whitehead should remind Gruden of his Super Bowl winning days in Tampa Bay. Edmunds also provides the additional pass rush to help compliment NFL superstar Khalil Mack in a department that has been lacking in his tenure in Oakland. The Raiders has several different options at the ten spot with the available prospects Marcus Davenport, Roquan Smith, and Mike McGlinchney, but the youth (19 years of age) and tremendous upside of Edmunds has to have McKenzie salvinating at the possibility of adding another raw and hard-working prospect to an evolving, multi-faceted defense for defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. The selection at a position of need for the team allows them the ability to address the edge rusher and offensive tackle position in later rounds.
The Raiders have needs all over their defense. Cornerback is probably their biggest need, and this mock has the best corner available to Oakland. Reuniting Ward with Gareon Conley would give the Raiders an excellent corner tandem to turn their pass coverage from a weakness to a potential strength. <br> <br>
Some team sources are very high on Ward (5-10, 183) and think he is one of the best defensive prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft. The one concern shared across the league is Ward's height as he checked in just below 5-foot-11 at the combine. For the NFL, Ward has good speed, athleticism, ball skills, and quick feet to run the route to prevent separation. He times his reaches well and shows nice instincts to play the eyes and hands of receivers. To go along with his cover skills, Ward is generally a disciplined player and is not a gambler. Ward looks like a future starter and could have No. 1-corner potential in the NFL if he can overcome his size limitations. <br> <br>
Ward recorded 37 tackles with 15 passes broken up and two interceptions in 2017. While primarily a backup in 2016, Ward totaled 23 tackles with nice passes broken up.
The Raiders have needs all over their defense. Cornerback is probably their biggest need, but from what I'm hearing Oakland values Vea more than the top cornerbacks. Additionally, the Raiders do need a run plugger and a disruptor at the point of attack. Adding a Haloti Ngata-type defensive lineman to go with Khalil Mack would make Oakland's front seven significantly improved. <br> <br>
Vea recorded 44 tackles, 3.5 sacks and four passes batted in 2017. The 6-foot-4, 337-pounder was a load at the point of attack for Washington in 2016, too. He totaled 39 tackles with 6.5 tackles for a loss, five sacks, one force fumble and two passes batted on the season. Vea has a serious combination of size, length, strength, and quickness at the point of attack. He is a heavy nose tackle who is a rock against the run and can occasionally collapse the pocket in the pass rush. For the NFL, Vea also has the height and length to play end in a 3-4 defense as well as nose tackle.
The Raider have made some interesting moves in free agency. The Raiders are desperate for linebacking and conerback help. Edmunds is the best linebacker available, a little bit of reach. They also could use help at CB. They signed Rashaan Melvin in free agency, shoring up their CB's. They also announced that Bruce Irvin is being moved to Rt DE, to concentrate on rushing the passer, further thinning out the linebacking ranks.
Also,.. it's now been reported that the Raider also are unlikely to resign Nelson, their co-leading tackler at safety. The did sign Gilchrist as a free agent as a replacement. However that leaves them with 3 strong safeties,.. one of which Joseph, who is a clear cut starter,. the others would be best as rotation back ups.
In this scenario, due to the rush for QB's, Fitzpatrick & James have fallen and are likely the 'best players available'. So, I think the Raiders will go with the one they rate the most highly.
I've selected Fitzpatrick, as I believe he is the best 'fit' in terms of personality, and team needs. He is a pure free safety, with the ability to swing to CB should the need arise, giving the Raiders more flexibility in their defensive backfield. Also, he can play with any of the other safeties already on their roster. The same might not be said of James, as he is more like the safeties already on their team.
Show/Hide Other Mocks with Minkah Fitzpatrick Going to Raiders
Rd. 1, Pk. 15
Kolton Miller, OT
Meh. This is kind of a reach but not an overly egregious one. Kolton Miller is an athletic tackle who should be able to start on the blind side one day. In the meantime, he can play right tackle, and he'd be a big upgrade over what the Raiders had there last year. Miller won't have to wait long to start on the blind side, given Donald Penn's age and health concerns.
I'm not a fan of this pick, but I don't hate it. The Raiders really wanted Mike McGlinchey. He was snatched off the board one pick earlier, so the Raiders did the right thing and moved down, so I think they should be credited for that.
Rd. 2, Pk. 25
P.J. Hall, DT
The Raiders tried to sign Ndamukong Suh, but failed to pry him away from the Rams. They really needed a defensive tackle, and Hall is an explosive interior presence. The consensus was that Hall would be a third-round prospect, but it's the end of the second frame right now, so I wouldn't say this is a reach, or anything. This is a decent pick.
Rd. 3, Pk. 1
Brandon Parker, OT
The Raiders already selected one offensive tackle, so why move up for another one? I don't get it. I don't mind the position, as the Raiders needed to add two tackles with Donald Penn injured and in decline, but this trade up didn't seem necessary at all.
Rd. 3, Pk. 23
Arden Key, DE/3-4OLB
Arden Key is a first-round talent. He's a great athlete who should be able to develop into a stellar player if he stays clean. The "staying clean" part of it is a problem, however, as Key has both off-the-field and medical problems. Still, in the third round, why not take a gamble?
Rd. 4, Pk. 10
Nick Nelson, CB
This seems like a great value pick for the Raiders. Nick Nelson was seen as a second-round prospect before he hurt his knee during the pre-draft process. However, teams were optimistic about his ability to return soon, so Nelson should contribute for the Raiders in the near future, filling a big need at cornerback.
Rd. 5, Pk. 3
Maurice Hurst, DT
Wow! What a great pick. This might just be the best selection in all of Day 3. The Raiders are getting a first-round prospect, an interior disruptor who will put lots of heat on opposing quarterbacks. Hurst fell because of a scary heart condition, but the fifth round is a great time to take a chance like this. What else could the Raiders do, take a special-teams scrub?
Rd. 5, Pk. 36
Johnny Townsend, P
MILLEN PUNTS BALL INTO THE BACKSIDE Grade
The only thing worse than taking a punter in the fifth round is reaching for a punter in the fifth round. The Raiders wanted JK Scott, so they panicked and selected a worse punter, all because they didn't like their punter's antics. Dumb.
Rd. 6, Pk. 42
Azeem Victor, ILB
Azeem Victor was seen as a second-day prospect once upon a time. Several suspensions and a DUI later, he's now a sixth-round pick. Victor did not play well last year either. Unless he turns his life around, he won't last very long in the pros. I don't mind this risk here, but this pick will probably amount to nothing.
Rd. 7, Pk. 10
Marcel Ateman, WR
I had Marcell Ateman slotted to the Raiders' Bay Area rival 49ers in the fifth round, so I like the value here in the seventh frame. Ateman can't separate very well, but he's largely framed and has nice ball skills. He could easily stick in the pros.