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WWJD #11- The Las Vegas Raiders Mock Draft v1.0



The Las Vegas Raiders are addressing some key needs in Free Agency but they will again add to the team’s solid foundation through the NFL Draft.


The Raiders opened NFL Free Agency with a flurry of moves that addressed some essential needs, namely on the defensive side of the ball at the linebacker and defensive tackle positions. With the signings of former Los Angeles Rams’ linebacker Cory Littleton (3 years, $35.25M, $22M guaranteed) and Chicago Bears linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski (3 years, $21M, $13.5M guaranteed) the Silver and Black signed two of the top linebackers available.

Raiders’ general manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden continued to sure up their defense with the additions of two former Dallas Cowboys, defensive tackle Maliek Collins and safety Jeff Heath. On Wednesday, they closed out their business day with the signing of defensive end Carl Nassib of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who inked a three year, $25M dollar deal with $17M guaranteed.

The Raiders also addressed the offensive side of the ball when they agreed to sign former Tennessee Titan quarterback Marcus Mariota. The former #2 overall pick will be the primary backup to Derek Carr, and is expected to push him in a more competitive environment and provide a veteran option should Carr go down with an injury or doesn’t play well. They also added former Cowboys tight end, Jason Witten. The former Monday Night Football analyst agreed to sign a 1-year deal worth $4.75M.

But there are still needs heading into Day 3 of NFL Free Agency and the 2020 NFL Draft. The Silver and Black also added cornerback Eli Apple, formally of the New Orleans Saints, but still need a wide receiver, which is arguably their most significant need now. The Raiders still need to add another linebacker to start alongside Littleton and Kwiatkoski and find another safety that can be a playmaker next to Jonathan Abram.

So it’s time to mock. In this mock draft, the rules are simple: there will be no trades, and I am drafting the best player available at MY PERCEIVED most prominent position of need for the Raiders.


So here is my Raiders Mock Draft v1.0 done via The Draft Network:


Round 1:


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 (A): Jerry Jeudy- WR- Alabama: Jon Gruden needs a legitimate #1 receiver for his offense to work, and he knows Derek Carr needs to have a guy that can be a difference-maker catching his passes. Jerry Jeudy is just that type of weapon. I’ve had multiple NFL front office people tell me Jeudy reminds them of Antonio Brown without the diva attitude and drama. He has terrific hands, is excellent after the catch, and is the best route runner to enter the draft in many years. Jeudy also has a quality that a lot of wide receivers lack when they enter the NFL: He knows how to set-up his routes without throttling down.

Jeudy, available at pick 12, fills the Raiders’ current most significant need and was the best available player on my board.



Round 1 (B): Kenneth Murray- LB- Oklahoma: The Raiders’ most significant need coming into this offseason was at the linebacker position. The new free-agent additions and the drafting of Murray gives the Raiders one of the better linebacking cores in the AFC. Kenneth Murray is a fast, physical linebacker who fits what the NFL is today. He can play the pass equally as well as playing the run; he is scheme diverse. If there is a knock on Murray, it’s that he doesn’t trust his eyes enough at times, but that’s coachable. Murray is big (6’2/243) and ran a 4.52 forty at the NFL Combine.

Murray is exactly what the Raiders want on the field, but he is even better off it. He is a leader and understands what it takes to be a professional. As the brother to three adopted siblings who have special needs, Murray is playing for a bigger purpose.

The Raiders have no picks in the 2nd round this year.


Round 3:


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 (A): Jalen Hurts- QB- Oklahoma: Jalen Hurts came into the 2019 season with a lot of questions that needed to be answered, namely, can he throw the ball well enough to be an NFL quarterback? After transferring to Oklahoma from Alabama, he lost his starting job to Tua Tagovailoa in-part due to his inability to get the Crimson Tide passing game going. Under Sooners’ head coach and quarterback whisperer Lincoln Riley, Hurts showed he could be the type of passer that potentially could be an NFL signal-caller.

What Hurts is more than anything is a winner. He won at Bama and in Oklahoma. His teammates respect him, and he is widely considered a good teammate and leader. While there are flaws in his game, and quite frankly, I’d be surprised he is still available in the 3rd round, he has the skillset to become a quality NFL quarterback. In this mock, at this point in the draft, I jumped at the opportunity to take him and again to take the BPA (best player available) at a need position.


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Round 3 (B): Willie Gay Jr.- LB- Mississippi St.: Why would the Raiders take another linebacker after drafting Murray? The answer is simple: Willie Gay Jr. is a stud and too good to pass up right here in the draft. He has excellent tape and tested in the upper half of players at the NFL Combine. He also blew away NFL teams during the interview process and gained even more fans in NFL circles. I projected him to go in the 2nd round of the draft, but with back to back picks in the 3rd round, landing Hurts and now Gay Jr. would be a considerable win for Mayock and Gruden.

Gay Jr. was highly productive for Mississippi St. He is a strong, physical, athletic linebacker who started six games at WILL linebacker for the nation’s No. 1 defense in 2018. “Chip,” a name his grandmother gave him, played in five games in 2019 and missed eight due to three separate incidents that happened at Mississippi State during the last two seasons. Gay Jr. finished with 28 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss, a forced fumble with two recoveries, and returned an interception 52 yards for a touchdown.

While the off the field issues may scare some people, with the Raiders’ leadership and the team knowing what exactly what happened, I have no doubts that Gay Jr. will be fine and make a positive impact on the field for the Silver and Black.


Round 3 (C): Harrison Hand- CB- Temple: The Raiders have a very nice young core of cornerbacks with Trayvon Mullen, Isaiah JohnsonKeisean Nixon, and the addition of Apple. But after them, there is a considerable drop-off. I expect LaMarcus Joyner is looking to have a bounce-back year after inconsistent play for most of the season, as well as dealing with injuries. But Harrison Hand, the cornerback out of Temple, is a “Mayock guy,” meaning he plays physical, unafraid, and underrated by most evaluators.

Hand, a transfer from Baylor, is a 6’0/192 lb cornerback that had 3 interceptions, 43 tackles, and one forced fumble in 2019. He joined the program as a transfer in the spring and quickly earned the starting cornerback spot. Hand led the team in tackles in a standout win and defensive performance against #21 Maryland, while notching his first interception and pass breakup as a Temple Owl. Hand was all over the field against #23 Memphis, recording an interception, pass breakup, a forced fumble, and 2 TFL while leading the team in tackles (9).


Round 4:


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Solomon Kindley- OG- Georgia: The Raiders may not keep Gabe Jackson, and they need to make sure they have a backup plan in place. They need a guy to groom to take over the starting offensive guard spot in a couple of years. University of Georgia guard Solomon Kindley is a big dude that has the tools to be an outstanding guard in the NFL.

Kindley paired incredibly well with another power player in Andrew Thomas to give the Georgia Bulldogs ample punch in the ground game off to the left side. Kindley has a ton of pop to his hands and provides a sufficient anchor, allowing him to either roll through contact and carry his momentum forward, or sit down on charges when he’s in pass protection. He’s pleasantly mobile when forced to work laterally — he’s worked across the face of defenders on reach situations. He’s got a ton of mass below the waist, allowing him to keep his center of gravity low and wrestle with positioning effectively in one on one situations.


Round 5:


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 Anfernee Jennings- DE- Alabama: The Raiders need to get to quarterbacks and not only sack them, but disrupt their timing to help the secondary. Alabama defensive end Anfernee Jennings is the type of player that can do this with his hand on the ground or standing up.

Jennings aligns as an edge defender in the Crimson Tide hybrid scheme. In the passing game, his production has superseded his skill set. He shows excellent strength and pop in his hands to disengage and close on the QB. In the run game, he is heavy at the point of attack. He has perfect hand placement and is very difficult to move vertically. He’s stronger and more powerful than he is explosive. As a result, some of his movements are slow twitch. On 3rd down, his skill set is maximized by rushing him only from a 3 point stance. He doesn’t project well as a core special teamer, and he would struggle in space at the next level.


Round 7:


Photo Credit: Terrance Quaites – Franchise Sports Media

Javin White-SS/OLB- UNLV: The NFL is transitioning to a positionless league, meaning teams with players to able to play multiple positions. The Raiders would love to have players that can be on the field for all three downs, and UNLV has one in Javin White.

White has played safety, outside linebacker, and cornerback for the Rebels during his career. He is a turnover machine and a guy who plays with swagger, aggression, and an edge. The superconfident White came up big in crucial situations for UNLV throughout his career and was their vocal and emotional leader on the field. There are no off the field concerns with White, and he has been working with the Las Vegas community throughout his time in Vegas.

White didn’t get a combine invite, but he blew up at a college All-Star game playing all three positions there and opening scouts’ eyes around the nation. He is the hybrid that the Raiders need and could groom to be a special player. Early on, he projects to be a key special teamer, but he is the type of player with the kind of mentality that would be a starter sooner rather than later.


Stay tuned to Franchise Sports Media for my next Mock Draft.

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