Myles Jack being off the board at No. 13 would screw up this selection, as the Dolphins would take Eli Apple, making him unavailable to Oakland. If, however, Apple is still up for grabs at this juncture, I expect him to be one of the favorites for this pick. The Raiders have Apple ranked very highly because of his athleticism. He'll also obviously fill a huge need across from Sean Smith if David Amerson leaves via free agency next offseason.
*** OTHER 2016 NFL DRAFT POSSIBILITIES: ***
1. Sheldon Rankins, DT - Adding a fierce, interior pass-rusher like Rankins would provide a huge boost for their defense.
2. Darron Lee, LB - I don't know if Oakland thinks it's too early to take a non-pass-rushing linebacker, but Lee could be too talented to pass up.
Pick change; previously Vernon Hargreaves, CB
Rd. 2, Pk. 13
Darian Thompson, S, Boise State
Darian Thompson had a rough Combine, but as Tony Pauline reported, Thompson was dealing with an illness. The Raiders like Thompson, as they need a safety to go along with the newly acquired Reggie Nelson.
Rd. 3, Pk. 12
C.J. Prosise, RB, Notre Dame
The Raiders have discussed adding another running back in the draft, as they don't fully trust Latavius Murray.
Rd. 4, Pk. 16
Willie Henry, DT/NT, Michigan
The Raiders took care of a bunch of their needs this offseason. One thing they still have to acquire is some help on the defensive line, especially in the wake of Mario Edwards' potential career-threatening neck injury.
Rd. 5, Pk. 4
Kentrell Brothers, ILB/OLB, Missouri
As mentioned in the first round, Darron Lee is a possibility for the Raiders at No. 14. Linebacker is an area of need, so it'll have to be addressed at some point.
Rd. 5, Pk. 15
Rashard Higgins, WR, Colorado State
Derek Carr has two talented receivers at his disposal. Adding a third could make the offense even more lethal.
The Raiders have plugged a lot of holes in free agency, but they could still use an inside linebacker. Jack could be a steal for Oakland, plus Reggie McKenzie likes rare athletes. With Khalil Mack, the Raiders could have a freaky athletic front seven.
Jack's natural pass-coverage skills are extremely rare. He has the speed and athleticism of a defensive back in the body of a linebacker. NFL evaluators love what he can do in the passing game, and he even played nickel corner at UCLA. Don't be surprised if the 6-foot-1, 245-pounder improves annually with his huge upside.
Jack notched 15 tackles, one interception and a pass broken up in his shortened 2015 season. He also had two carries for seven yards and a touchdown on offense. The junior suffered a knee injury in practice that ended his year early. As a sophomore, Jack racked up 87 tackles with eight tackles for a loss, seven passes broken up, one interception and one forced fumble. While only a freshman starter in 2013, Jack became a superstar who was named the Pac-12's Offensive AND Defensive Freshman of the Year. On the defensive side of the ball, he recorded 75 tackles with 11 passes broken up and two interceptions. His pass-coverage skills for a freshman were outstanding. Jack ran for 267 yards on 38 carries (7.0 average) with seven touchdowns, too.
Rd. 2, Pk. 13
Le'Raven Clark, OT, Texas Tech
The Raiders could use an understudy for Donald Penn.
Clark (6-5, 312) has natural talent as a pass protector with quick feet, athleticism, and length to defend the edge. He also has the strength to open holes in the ground game. While he has an early round skill set, Clark is all potential right now as he looked great on some plays and clueless on others. That was also apparent at the Senior Bowl. Teams love his skill set and potential, so if he lands with good coaching, he could become a quality starting left tackle.
Clark was solid for Texas Tech the past few seasons, including his games versus Oklahoma State's Emmanuel Ogbah and Arkansas' Trey Flowers. Clark had a strong freshman debut in 2012 as he started 13 games at right guard. In 2013, Clark took over at left tackle and was a steady blind-side protector for the Red Raiders after that.
Pick change; previously Kyler Fackrell, LB
Rd. 3, Pk. 12
Darian Thompson, S, Boise State
The Raiders grab some safety depth and competition after losing Charles Woodson to retirement.
Thompson (6-1, 208) had an impressive week at the Senior Bowl on top of three straight seasons of good production at Boise State. In 2015, he had 65 tackles with four passes broken up and five interceptions. Thompson has an impressive combination of size, tackling ability, instincts and ball skills. He had a big junior year with seven interceptions and 71 tackles. As a sophomore, Thompson recorded 63 tackles and four interceptions.
Rd. 4, Pk. 16
Perez Ford, OLB, Northern Illinois
The Raiders need could use some linebacker depth and have taken a liking to Ford.
Ford is a sleeper prospect who generated interest from teams and has been taking a number of pre-draft visits. He is a fast linebacker who is versatile. In 2015, Ford totaled 42 tackles with 6.5 for a loss, five sacks, and a forced fumble. He had similar production the previous season with 57 stops, five sacks, nine tackles for a loss and three forced fumbles. Ford had 4.5 sacks as a sophomore. Sources say Ford could go in the fifth or sixth round.
Rd. 5, Pk. 4
Daryl Worley, CB, West Virginia
The Raiders grab some cornerback depth.
Rd. 5, Pk. 15
Jordan Howard, RB, Indiana
The Raiders could use some running back depth and competition.
This is as great of a fit from both the value and need perspective as any other in the draft so far. I absolutely love what the raiders have done over the past few years and GM Reggie McKenzie finally got the Raiders out of cap hell as well as adding key pieces through the draft. Who would’ve ever thought that the Raiders would’ve been able to bring in key free agents like Bruce Irvin, Kelechi Osemele, Sean Smith, and Reggie Nelson without drastically overpaying really any of them. Players WANT to be a Raider for the first time in a while and I can’t say I blame them. Now, that’s not to say they are a great or complete team yet as they definitely have some needs, not the least of which is the middle linebacker position. This is where Reggie Ragland the linebacker out of Alabama comes in. Ragland is yet another stud coming out of Nick Saban’s Alabama defense. Ragland is as tough and instinctive as they come. He may not be as fast as some would like and he plays a non-glamourous position so he might actually fall lower than this, but to me he’s absolutely worth this pick, especially on this defense where he can focus on just being a hard-nosed thumper in the middle. Another one of my favorite picks in the draft and an easy one for me once the signings of Smith and Nelson helped shore up the weak secondary.
Arguably the best pure pass-russhing DT in a class abundant with talented defensive lineman, Rankins will give Oakland an immidiate boost as a pass-rusher and run-stuffer. His versatility will allow him to play all over the line in Oakland's multiple-front defense---expect him to complete right away with Dan Williams for the 3-technique role ( resulting in Williams being asked to permanently play the 1-technique ) and rotate with Mario Edwards at 5-technique in the team's under front . A guy drawing comparisons to Aaron Donald and Geno Atkins should be getting fans excited and the opportunity to draft Rankins in this spot is simply too good for GM Reggie McKenzie to pass up, despite not being a need-position. While the selection of Reggie Ragland would shore-up the middle of the Raider defense for years to come and give the team's run-defense a long-needed anchor, Kentrell Brothers will more likely than not be available at 44 and was a terror last year playing the run.
TRADE: (Raiders get 31 overall pick in 2016 draft from the Broncos, 3rd round 2016, 2nd round 2017.) The Raiders are quickly becoming a contender with the strides they made last year and the off season players they just added. Osemele, Irvin, Sean Smith were all top 20 rated free agents this year and the raiders added them to an already young, good core of players. They feel comfortable trading down this far with the Broncos and collecting more picks to add to this growing team. Even with the addition of Sean Smith, they still need help at corner with D.J Hayden not living up to his first round status from two years ago. Apple would really help that defense that looks to be stout in 2016.
After years of struggling through years of DJ Hayden, the Raiders actually enter the season in pretty good shape at CB, with Sean Smith signed away from KC and David Amerson putting in a surprisingly strong first season in Black and Silver. That said, they're still currently left with Hayden or a few other bad options playing the slot, and Amerson and Hayden will both be on the last years of their rookie contracts in 2016. If Amerson plays well again, he'll be looking for a decent sized contract and can't be given a 5th year extension. Alexander could either start immediately in the slot, or spend a year developing before taking over as a slot/outside corner hybrid to pair long-term with Smith.
It's taken a few years, but Oakland is finally in the position where they can afford to sit back, let the draft come to them, and take the best player available. GM Reggie McKenzie successfully deconstructed a roster filled with aging veterans who had clearly lost a step, cleared the books of outrageous contracts, and used the 2014 draft as a foundation for the franchise in Khalil Mack, Derek Carr, and Gabe Jackson. Most of the spots that were once areas of need are now filled with either homegrown, ascending talents or youthful free agent acquisitions in the prime of their careers. The offensive line looks to be one of the best in football, but left tackle Donald Penn is getting long in the tooth and the battle between Austen Howard and Manelik Watson at right tackle is rather uninspiring. Jack Conklin will fit well with the big, bruising group they've assembled. He's technically sound with his hands and mirrors rushers really well, and his physical road-grading attitude will have Derek Carr and Latavius Marray grinning from ear to ear next season.
Show/Hide Other Mocks with Jack Conklin Going to Raiders
Rd. 1, Pk. 14
Karl Joseph, S,
When there were rumors about Karl Joseph shooting up to the first round, we reached out to team sources and asked if they agreed with that. They didn't. Some said he might be a fringe first-rounder, but most told us that they relegated him to the second round, with his injury being somewhat of a factor. With that in mind, I think the Raiders are reaching here. I wouldn't have minded it if the Raiders moved down and took Joseph, but I think No. 14 is too early.
That said, I don't think this is a horrible pick. Joseph is a risk because of his injury, but if he completely gets over it, he could be a very good player for Oakland. The Raiders have definitely improved this offseason and could make a run into the playoffs.
Rd. 2, Pk. 13
Jihad Ward, DT/3-4DE,
I'm glad to get one right in my mock re-draft. I figured that the Raiders would be interested in Jihad Ward when Sheldon Rankins was unavailable to them at No. 14. Ward fills a big need on the defensive front, which lost Justin Tuck and perhaps Mario Edwards (to injury). Ward was expected to be chosen in the middle of the second round, so the range obviously makes sense.