Photo Credit: Raiders.com

WWJD #12- The Las Vegas Raiders Mock Draft v2.0



The Las Vegas Raiders addressed some key needs in Free Agency and now look to again add to the team’s foundation and future through the NFL Draft.


The Raiders entered NFL Free Agency with a flurry of moves during the first two days 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 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. 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.

They also added former Cowboys tight end, Jason Witten. The previous Monday Night Football analyst agreed to sign a 1-year deal worth $4.75M.

The Silver and Black also added cornerback Eli Apple, formally of the New Orleans Saints, as well as former Eagles receiver Nelson Agholor, Dolphins tight end Nick O’Leary and Browns offensive lineman Eric Kush. Heading into week 2 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 v2.0. In this mock draft, as always, the rules are simple: there will be no trades (since I am using a mock draft simulator), and I am drafting the best player available at what I think are the most critical positions in terms of needs for the Raiders.


So here is my Raiders Mock Draft v2.0 done via The Draft Network:


Round 1:


Photo Credit: Silver and Black Pride

 (#12): 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’ most significant need currently and was the best available player on my board.

Jerry Jeudy has all of the tools that it takes to become a No. 1 wide receiver. His route release package, combined with his ability to create separation naturally, is a recipe for a high-end prospect. His slight frame throughout will raise some question marks about his play strength, but the adverse effects of it are masked because of his innate demonstrations of keeping his frame clean.

A highlight reel waiting to happen after the ball is in his hands, his ankle flexion, and ability to make defenders miss in open spaces are one of a kind. He makes would-be tacklers consistently look as if they are grasping at air because he is a blur on yards after the catch opportunities. A timing-based offense would mesh well with his skill set.

(Previous pick: Jerry Jeudy)



Photo Credit: SI.com

(#19): Kristian Fulton- CB- LSU: The Raiders signed Eli Apple and have a nice young core, but the way the NFL is, you can’t have enough good cornerbacks, especially in the AFC West. Kristian Fulton is the second-best cornerback in this draft, plays like a dawg on the field, and the Raiders could have one hell of a tandem with him and last year’s second-round pick Trayvon Mullen.

Fulton is a quality Day 1 outside corner candidate who is scheme-transcendent at the NFL level. Fulton’s best deployment is in the press, where he played comfortably for multiple seasons in Dave Aranda’s LSU defense. Fulton is an impossibly balanced and controlled corner who wins with smooth transitions, quick-twitch athleticism in tight areas, and excellent timing while closing space on routes to all three levels.

Fulton has delightful ball skills with his back to the football and enough speed to squeeze top receivers down the field without losing phase. He has ideal reactionary quickness and play recognition to win in a Cover 3 zone responsibility. Fulton’s most significant weaknesses are his average play strength and subsequent inconsistent tackling, but he projects like a year one starter with Pro Bowl potential in his future.

Because of so much turmoil during his early career, Fulton was a bit of a late bloomer. He came into his own during the latter years while in Baton Rouge. Fulton is the prototypical press-man corner in a heavy man-to-man scheme. He still has strides to make as far as playing the ball in the air and improving his play strength, but if he’s able to improve in those areas, he has the makings of being a high-end starter on the next level.

Because of his upside and the tools that are already present, he will become a potential top-25 pick. All of Fulton’s flaws are correctable with proper coaching, but the Raiders would have to show some patience to reap the benefits of the final product while his development continues its course.

(Previous Pick: Kenneth Murray)


The Raiders have no picks in the 2nd round at the time of this mock.



Round 3:


Photo Credit: hail state

(#80): 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.

(Previous Pick: Jalen Hurts)


Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

(#81): Cam Akers- RB- Florida State:  The Raiders could use a “power back” next to emerging star Josh JacobsJalen Richard and Rod Smith are both returning to the Raiders running back room, but both of those players are limited, and if Jacobs goes down, the Raiders running game could be in real trouble.

Cam Akers projects as a three-down feature back at the NFL level. His explosiveness, versatility, and violence as a player are all huge assets, and his vision will allow him to create explosive runs at the NFL level. Akers’ skill as a receiver and in pass protection are critical factors that will provide him a more prominent role than your average back. Ball security issues may impact Akers’ ability to get on the field early in his pro career, but if awareness improves here, he could be a breakout rookie candidate.

When it comes to physical ability, Akers has everything an NFL team could want in a running back. Unfortunately, those traits weren’t fully deployed behind an erratic offensive line at Florida State and a poorly designed scheme from Willie Taggart. While Akers has an extremely high ceiling, some patience may be required as he evolves in a better situation to showcase his talent. Also, Akers has to develop his passing down skill set. Akers has no physical limitations, and he profiles as a productive starter in time.

(Previous Pick: Willie Gay Jr.)


Photo Credit: insidethestar.com

(#91): 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 are 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.

(Previous Pick: Harrison Hand)


Round 4:


Photo Credit: rolltide.com

 (#121) 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:


Photo Credit: Utah Utes

(#159) Leki Fotu- DT- Utah: Leki Fotu is a tank against the run that won’t be moved by a single blocker. He offers a sturdy frame, long arms, and a stout anchor, engineered for the two-gap in the NFL. With that said, Fotu offers very little as a pass rusher where he lacks the juice and flexibility to be a factor. His value on passing down comes as a bull rusher that can push the pocket, but that’s it. For an odd-front team, Fotu has plenty of appeal, but his limitations are notable.

Fotu is a late Day 2/early Day 3 candidate for a team looking for a penetrating 1-technique rusher. Fotu has excellent explosiveness for a player of his size and can accordingly win quickly off the snap when aligned in a gap or head-up on the center.

He has strong hand usage in his rush moves and enough quickness/tackle radius to finish in the backfield. His stiffness and uprightness, however, limit him as a two-gap player despite having the ideal length/strength. His struggles to cross face and work into backside gaps restrict him to a penetrating role in the NFL. Fotu is ideally a rotational player in year 1 with the ability to take over a starter’s role by year three if he continues to develop a pass-rush profile.

The Raiders need to add depth to their defensive line. Fotu projects best into a 1T role in an even front defense. While Fotu does have the functional power, length, and two gap ability to serve as a real nose, his height and stiffness cause some inconsistencies in helping as a space-eater in the middle. Fotu’s quickness for his size in linear releases makes much more sense in an even front that would afford him more opportunity to fire out of his stance and attack the mesh point as a looming presence in the middle.


The Raiders have no picks in the 6th or 7th round at the time of this mock.


Stay tuned to Franchise Sports Media for my next Mock Draft v3.0.

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Joe Arrigo