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WWJD #13- The Las Vegas Raiders Mock Draft v3.0



The Las Vegas Raiders are a mystery team in this years NFL Draft. They could move up for a specific player or trade back to acquire more picks, or they could do BOTH!


The Raiders entered into NFL Free Agency with 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 (1 year, $7M) and safety Jeff Heath (2 years, $8M). They also added a pass rusher in defensive end Carl Nassib, formerly of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who inked a three year ($25M deal with $17M guaranteed).

The Raiders them turned to the offensive side of the ball and addressed Derek Carr’s backup when they agreed to sign former Tennessee Titan quarterback Marcus Mariota. The former #2 overall pick. Mariota 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. Mariota signed a 2-year contract worth $17.5M, ($7.5M guaranteed for 2020) that could jump to over $35M if he meets all the incentives. With Carr, Mariota, Nathan Peterman, and Deshon Kizer in the quarterback room, the Raiders may not be looking to add another one to the mix, unless they are.

They also added former Cowboys tight end, Jason Witten to a 1-year deal worth $4.75M and former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor to a 1-year deal worth $1.47M with only $887K guaranteed.

The Silver and Black also added cornerback Eli Apple, formally of the New Orleans Saints, as well as former Dolphins tight end Nick O’Leary and Browns offensive lineman Eric Kush. Heading into the third week of NFL Free Agency, with the 2020 NFL Draft a month away, work still needs to get done with a wide receiver, which is their most significant need right now. The Raiders could always use another linebacker to start alongside Littleton and Kwiatkoski, along with another safety that can be a playmaker next to Jonathan Abram.

So it’s time for my mock v3.0. In this mock draft, there WILL BE trades (since the mock draft simulator I am now using allows them). I am drafting the best player available at what I think are the most critical positions in terms of the need for the Raiders.

When the Raiders get on the clock at pick 12, CeeDee Lamb is the only wide receiver off the board, leaving Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III still available. While adding either one of those wide receivers would be a great fit, the Minnesota Vikings call and offer their 1st, and 2nd round picks. This draft is deep at wide receiver. With only five picks, I took the trade, especially since the Raiders also have pick 19 at their disposal.

Later in the draft, at pick 121, the Raiders receive a call from the Miami Dolphins who offer picks 141,154,185 and 251 for picks 121 and 159. I jumped at this trade because of the Raiders’ lack of quality depth and to fill multiple needs in all three phases. With both deals, I netted a +3 in picks giving Las Vegas 10 picks to continue the Raiders’ rebuild.


So here is my Raiders Mock Draft v3.0 done via the PFN Mock Draft Simulator:


Round 1:



Photo Credit: Jeff Roberson

(#19): CJ Henderson- CB- Florida: The Raiders add another playmaker to their secondary in the University of Florida cornerback CJ Henderson. He has the size (6’1/202), potential, and makeup to become a future star, and give the Raiders an outstanding cornerback tandem.

A starter of 27 games during his career with the Gators, Henderson is a highly talented cover corner. His lean body and advanced technique help him become one of the better man cover corners in this draft class. For his many positives, there are lots of mental lapses in his overall game, and he suffers as a run defender. Henderson’s length, eye discipline, and savvy with playing the ball are among the tops in this class, but he must continue to add muscle mass and show a hint of interest as a run support player. Because of what he brings to the table from a coverage standpoint, he still has the makings of being a top-20 selection, but he won’t be for every team due to his negatives as a run defender.

Henderson has all the traits needed to be dynamic in coverage at the next level and two years of strong tape in the SEC to support the idea. His size, length, fluidity, quickness, speed, and coverage instincts give him a chance to be a top corner that is tasked with shutting down the opposition’s top receiver; he has every physical trait necessary to do so. While his ball production was modest at Florida, there are flashes of him making aggressive plays on the ball and positioning himself to disrupt at the catch point. Several of those instances show up in particular when he is in zone coverage, and I like his aggressiveness in that area. Henderson’s reluctance as a tackler is a red flag. We’ve seen some corners (Greedy Williams) overcome this at the NFL level, but his current temperament is alarming and something that will keep him off the field on Sundays if it doesn’t change. His entire approach to run support, tackling and clearing contact in pursuit spoils his film resume in coverage. Henderson has Pro Bowl potential if he commits himself to compete in all phases of the position.

(Previous pick: Jerry Jeudy at 12)



Photo Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

(#22): Justin Jefferson- WR- LSU: My favorite wide receiver in this draft, LSU playmaker Justin Jefferson is my choice for the Raiders’ second 1st-round pick. Jefferson is highly productive, catching over 100 balls for over 1,500 yards and 18 TDs, and was the alpha male setting the tone in the LSU receiver room. He played primarily in the slot at LSU, but he is a legit potential #1 receiver.

Jefferson flashed an exciting skill set in 2018, and it fully materialized as part of LSU’s historic offense in 2019. On the same page with Joe Burrow, Jefferson led the country with 111 receptions, was second in receiving touchdowns (18) and third in receiving yards (1,540). Despite his brothers Jordan and Ricky being essential parts of the LSU program in previous years, Justin was a modest recruit out of high school. A versatile receiver, Jefferson has the skills to win from the slot and outside, with appeal at all levels of the field. His best qualities are his route running, hands, and ball skills.

Justin Jefferson projects as an impact starter at the NFL level. He brings size, quickness, route running polish, and reliable hands to the slot, but don’t mistake him for “just” a slot receiver. Jefferson has the physicality and footwork to win on the boundary against press coverage as well. He’ll be a sufficient weapon for any starting quarterback in the NFL. Jefferson may not necessarily be best as the focal point of the attack, but he’ll be at worst a deadly #2 threat in any offense.

(Previous Pick: Kristian Fulton at pick 19)


Round 2:



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(#58): Jeremy Chinn- S- Southern Illinois: Jeremy Chinn is a small-school safety that dominated his level of competition with explosive athletic ability and physicality. While he needs to develop his processing skills, he has every physical trait required to fill a versatile role in the defensive backfield in the NFL. In a league in need of hybrid defenders to neutralize the way offenses are attacking with pace and space to create mismatches, Chinn is a dynamic chess piece to develop. Chinn should immediately become an asset in sub-packages as his role evolves.

A physical specimen best describes Chinn. Chiseled, muscular frame with incredible explosiveness, Chinn is tall, with ideal length. Blessed with a great burst and long speed enable him to take aggressive angles in pursuit of both attacking the football or triggering downhill. He has outstanding hitting power and contact balance.

Chinn consistently makes insanely athletic plays with a rare burst to the football, and his body control is tremendous. He makes highly disruptive plays on the football while displaying a natural, fluid pedal. His change of direction skills is smooth, Chinn offers coverage versatility, including single high, split zones, and man coverage against big slots/tight ends. With his tremendous range and the ability to cover a lot of distance in all directions, Chinn has the potential to be a stud on the back end.

Chinn has next-level athleticism for the back end of a defense, and his value in the early downs will be in a traditional Strong Safety role. Chinn’s impact in coverage is most effective when he’s given shallow areas to roam and break on the ball, and he’s a potent tackler. He should be a potential 3rd-down sub-package LB who can roam in space. Chinn will need some fine-tuning from a football IQ perspective as a small school prospect, but he’s got a high ceiling with time to develop.



Round 3:



Photo Credit: Bucs nation

(#80): Darrell Taylor- DE/LB- Tennessee: Darrell Taylor enters the NFL after leading the Tennessee Vols in each of the past two seasons in both tackles for loss and sacks while compiling at least ten tackles for loss and eight sacks in both seasons. At the next level, Taylor has appeal for 3-4 teams looking for a standup outside linebacker, but he also has the functional strength needed to serve as a 4-3 defensive end. While Taylor has a nice blend of burst and flexibility as a pass rusher, his functional strength is quite impressive in terms of how he anchors against the run, tackles, and converts speed to power. With that said, Taylor has room to grow in deploying a more consistently effective pass rush plan and becoming more of a presence against the run. Taylor has a chance to become an eventual starter and factor into the rotation early in his NFL career.

Taylor is an excellent athlete with a freaky-deeky bend, good short-area quickness, and an explosive first step when he’s tasked with teeing off the line of scrimmage. He can win on a two-way go with his ability to quickly dart to a half-man relationship and finish tight corners with great bend. Taylor flashes the ability to lace a power dynamic into his rushes and has some good pop to his hands when he lands them correctly. Natural athleticism shows up in space drops as well. He is also a candidate for some cover responsibilities at the next level. Taylor plays with good discipline as a run defender when the EMLOS and has sufficient length/strength to one-arm some opponents and keep outside shoulder clean. Taylor has good explosiveness off the ball when given free rein to pass-rush on the outside track and can win rushes off of his first step at times.

Taylor projects as a potential base starter as a 4-3 defensive end OR 3-4 OLB at the next level. Taylor has adequate anchor, and strong run fits as a defender, but his ability to provide consistent pressure off the edge is a bit too hit or miss. Taylor doesn’t have elite length, nor has he shown mental processing keys to diminish the edge consistently. He’s got some real upside to work with, but his value is tempered by a lack of appealing qualities as a pass rusher.

(Previous Pick: Willie Gay Jr.)


Photo Credit: sooner sports

(#81): Jalen Hurts- QB- Oklahoma: Jalen Hurts came into the 2019 season with a lot of questions that needed to be answered. “Can he throw the ball well enough to be an NFL quarterback?” was the biggest one. He transferred to Oklahoma from Alabama, where 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.

Hurts has steadily progressed as a passer; however, he still has limitations. The improvement he’s shown over his last three seasons is notable, and the arrow is pointing in the right direction. Hurts is a perfect Day 2 QB in today’s NFL, where he can shine via the extended plays, mobility, play-making ability, and comfort off-script. Hurts’ general accuracy may temper his overall ceiling, but he’s a developmental starter caliber player.

Hurts is an accomplished college quarterback that brings a dynamic dual-threat skill set to the table. With that said, he’s far more advanced as a runner than a passer, and considerable growth is needed for him to become a triggerman of an NFL offense. While he found great success in college tapping into his athleticism to extend plays and making throws outside of the offensive structure, he’ll need to develop his ability to execute in rhythm at the next level. For that to happen, he’ll need to sharpen up his processing skills and develop more consistency with his trigger.

From an arm talent and physical tools perspective, there isn’t much missing with Hurts, but his ball placement and decision making as a passer need significant improvement. There are notable concerns with his lower body throwing mechanics that, if fixed, could help him become more consistent with his accuracy. Working through progressions and throwing to an NFL route tree will require time to develop, in addition to the other areas that need work. Hurts is physically gifted, but he’s more of a project entering the league and will take time before he’s ready. His intangibles and athletic ability should create some opportunities for him to make plays in sub-packages early in his career.

(Previous Pick: Cam Akers)


Photo Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

(#91): Chase Claypool- WR- Notre Dame: Chase Claypool is a hybrid who can be a significant weapon for the right offense. His size and speed are a mismatch for any defense and give Gruden a weapon that he hasn’t had as a head coach. Claypool ran a 4.41 at 6’4/238 pounds at the NFL Combine, which made some scouts I talked to re-think the talk that he should move to tight end.

Claypool illustrated steady growth throughout his career at Notre Dame, peeking as a senior in 2019 when he caught 66 passes for 1,037 yards and 13 touchdowns. The appeal with Claypool stems from his size, catch radius, and straight-line speed. He finds success in contested situations and can out-muscle most defenders. With that said, separation quickness, release technique, and inconsistent catching technique are notable items to be concerned with when projecting him to the next level. Claypool is likely to be challenged with plenty of contact at the release and catch point in the NFL, making it necessary for him to continue to showcase his physical demeanor and win in tightly contested situations. Claypool has limitations to be mindful of, but he can fulfill a niche role as a big slot that provides a complementary weapon for an offense that features speed and separation specialists to draw coverage away from Claypool and ensure spacing for him to work. Claypool is a proven special teams performer, adding value to his incomplete skill set that will enable him to stick at the next level.

(Previous Pick: Jeremy Chinn)



Round 4:



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 (#141) 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 aligned 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, you maximize his skill set 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.

Jennings is a next level starter and should find success as a base defensive end in an even front system. Jennings’ length, rush counters, and functional strength will allow him to be a persistent presence against the pass, even if his lack of explosiveness won’t allow him to serve as a game-changing defender. Jennings‘ great hands, gap discipline, smart play, and technique will enable him to step into an NFL defensive system and contribute early.

(Previous Pick: Solomon Kindley)



Round 5:



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(#154) Quintez Cephus- WR- Wisconsin: Quintez Cephus has exciting qualities as a possession receiver in the NFL, where his ability to create leverage, physicality, and hands all shine. Despite not being the most explosive receiver, Cephus is a technician as a route runner that does well to create leverage and present himself to the quarterback. He is outstanding at getting his frame in position to win at the catch point, and he attacks the football with an alpha mentality. With that said, Cephus is not without limitation, as he isn’t the most elusive or fluid, and his ability to outmuscle NFL corners as he did in college that made him so successful could be a concern. Cephus should be a quality WR3/4 that gives substantial contributions on special teams at worst.

Cephus is one of the more undervalued receivers in the class of 2020. He can win from the outside, he can win from the slot, and if he played in about 100 other offenses in college football, he’d have had drastically better production. Significant off-field allegations (since cleared) kept him off the field in 2018. While Wisconsin didn’t initially welcome him back, the entire football team, coaches included, went out of their way to go to the administration to fight for him to return, which he did.  Cephus bounced back with a strong 2019 campaign, showing effective releases, strong hands, and an assertive mentality with the ball in the air. He is a potential starter.

(Previous Pick Leki Fotu at 159) 


Round 6:



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(#185) Jon Runyan Jr.- OG- Michigan: Jon Runyan Jr. is the son of former NFL offensive lineman Jon Runyan. Determined and smart, Runyan held his own as a Big Ten tackle despite a lack of desired physical and athletic traits. He’s inconsistent taking control into initial engagements, but stays after it and recovers back into the second phase of the block. Runyan Jr. plays with high hands that diminish his power and control, but that should improve as he slides inside to guard. He has adequate athleticism and body control to fit into a variety of run schemes but may not excel in any. Some scouts feel Runyan’s protection experience at tackle improves his draft value as a later-round backup-caliber guard. In contrast, others think Runyan should be a capable starting guard in the NFL.

Teams will like his competitive toughness and run blocking ability, but issues with technique and in pass protection will hold him back on the edge. He has experience at guard and could have starter upside inside if he can be more aggressive with his hand usage. Moving inside would allow him to better use his power without having to cover as much space, which could help improve his hand usage.



Round 7:



(#251) Harrison Hands- CB- Temple: The Raiders have a very nice young core of cornerbacks with Trayvon Mullen, Isaiah JohnsonKeisean Nixon, the addition of Apple, and the drafting of Henderson in this mock draft. But after them, there is a considerable drop-off. I expect LaMarcus Joyner 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 is underrated by most evaluators.

Hand, a transfer from Baylor, is a 6’0/192 lb cornerback that had three 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).

Harrison Hand is an intriguing early Day 3 option. Some teams will peg Hand as a safety due to some natural restrictions with his transitions in off coverage, but for Cover 3 heavy defenses, Hand can be a booming presence to crash into the line of scrimmage and play run support. Whether he’s a safety or a scheme-specific cornerback, there’s starter potential here. He’s savvy in shallow zones, he’s got great length, and he’ll step up in support and smack you. I like his foundation to develop.

Hand offers an appealing skillset if used in the right capacity. While his tight hips and modest foot speed present some challenges for regular man coverage duties, he is outstanding in zone coverage where his intelligence, trigger, and ball skills truly shine. He brings a physical element to everything he does, and his competitive demeanor is easy to love. Hand should be a quality special teams contributor that has the upside to be a scheme-specific starter in a zone-heavy defense, but I wouldn’t rule out safety as his best role in the NFL.



Stay tuned to Franchise Sports Media for my next Raiders Mock Draft v4.0.

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Joe Arrigo