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FSM Presents: The Raiders Realist – 2021 Raiders Draft Recap

Franchise Sports Media


“I may be wrong, but I doubt it!”–Charles Barkley


So the 2021 NFL Draft, as Ted Hendricks infamously used to say, is in the can. And with something predicated around educated guessing, opinions are as prevalent as buttholes. Everyone has one, most of them kind of smell, and we’re all hoping like heck they get wiped away soon.

In that positive spirit, since we know who the Raiders have taken this year, I figured at least I could revisit my views on the players I assessed before the draft because there is nothing the people love more than a self-important writer stuffing their opinion in their faces. And away we go!

(NOTE: The number dictates the place that player had on my top 100 big board overall)


The 2021 Las Vegas Raiders draft class: 


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Round 1, Pick 17: Trevon Moe…I mean, Alex Leatherwood – Offensive Tackle – Alabama. Here was my book on Leatherwood:

39. Alex Leatherwood, OT/Alabama. Has all the measurables, including ideal arm length. Very good kick slide and moves nicely in outside zone. Inconsistent. Punch isn’t always violent enough. Questions about passion. Comp: Cam Erving.

Yes, no matter how you slice it, the guy was taken too soon. Part of playing the draft game is not just identifying your guy, but like car shopping, identifying the price for your guy, and getting as good of a value as you can for that guy.

The Raiders brain trust may have been sold on Leatherwood, but that is beside the point. If you are given $10,000 to buy a car, and you find what you want for $7500, it makes no sense to spend the extra $2500 if you do not have to. That is what the Raiders did by over-drafting Leatherwood. I think he can play, and I think he’ll be a solid if never dominant offensive lineman. The point is, the team did not do nearly enough to move to a more valuable position to take him.


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Round 2, Pick 43 (via trade with San Francisco 49ers): Trevon Moehrig – Safety – Texas Christian University. The book on Moehrig is as follows:

34b. Trevon Moehrig, S/TCU. Ballhawking safety. Attacks passes and tracks the flight of the ball well. Fluid hips enhance good size and speed. He can be beaten on double moves. He has to get off blocks better and take more disciplined angles in pursuit. Comp: Grant Delpit.

So this is where I deviate a bit from those who heaped praise on the Raiders for getting Moehrig at this spot. Yes, I think he is a day one upgrade over what the team has in house. But I did not have a first-round grade on him. They got value, but I am not sure if he will be a great deep safety. I think he can be good and flash very good. And being pressed for need cost the team a fourth-round pick that could have been used to acquire another future starter on this roster. So good pick, yes, but the jury is out on whether Moehrig will ever be an Earl Thomas or Derwin James. I have my doubts.


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Round 3, Pick 79: Malcolm Koonce – EDGE – Buffalo. Gotta be honest; I didn’t have a breakdown on Kooncebecause of the 145 players I ended up rating; he wasn’t listed. I had him as a late 5th round pick, and the Raiders took him in the middle of the third. So I will defer to Lance Zierlein at for this one:


“Long-levered stand-up rusher whose production over the last two seasons will surely catch a team’s eye. Anchor strength and contact balance are the two immediate stumbling blocks Koonce faces in terms of his NFL future, but some of those concerns might be alleviated with more work in an NFL weight program. Koonce has a noticeable second gear to the football, but needs to improve as a tackle finisher. His approach as an edge rusher is basic and predictable, but he plays with instinctive feet and tempo changes, which could be crafted into a more dangerous attack in time. The step up in competition will be a challenge, but he has a future in the NFL as a 3-4 outside linebacker.”


Zierlein just described Arden Key. I am not sure that’s a good thing. Moving on.



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Round 3, Pick 80: Divine Deablo – Safety/Linebacker – Virginia Tech. Here is the book on Deablo, who, if nothing else, will have the coolest name on the roster in 2021:

91. Divine Deablo, S/Va Tech. Alpha. Four-year starter. Better vs. run and projects as box safety/LB hybrid. Technique in space is lacking, but he does find the ball. Gets too overaggressive, especially versus PA passing. Comp: Kyzir White

This pick will require some development, but I like Deablo as a player. The key will be finding a position for him and allowing him to play to his overall strengths instead of forcing him into a role out of need. That is a recipe for disaster.



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Round 5, Pick 143: Tyree Gillespie – Safety – Missouri. Another player I did not have on my overall board of 145 players, though that is not nearly as egregious at this point. So again, deferring to and Zierlein for the book on him:


“Safety prospect with the physical and athletic profile to make it in the league, but finding the right spot for him could be the key. Gillespie frequently roamed as a single-high safety in the Missouri scheme. He plays with decent instincts on the back-end but might not have enough range to offer over-the-top help at the next level. He can be fluid in pursuit when running the alleys and working near the line of scrimmage but will need to improve tackle angles to prevent slip outs and misses. He appears to have the strength and athleticism to handle some man coverage on matchup tight ends, but the lack of ball production is a bit of a concern. Gillespie should be an early contributor on special teams with enough versatility to be looked at in a variety of schemes, although there might not be a perfect fit for him.”


To be fair, Zierlein had Gillespie as a third or fourth-round selection, so there’s that. The clear hope is that in the event Johnathan Abram does not take real strides in year three, Moehrig and Gillespie could be potential replacements at the safety position as early as next year.



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Round 5, Pick 167: Nate Hobbs – Cornerback – Illinois. Another upside player that I did not have much of a book on. So one last time to Zierlein:


“Athletic cornerback with excellent combination of size and speed for the NFL game. Hobbs has plenty of experience in Cover 3 and press-man techniques. His size and length can be a major factor in wrecking contested catches, but he rarely locates the football when phasing downfield. From zone, his foot quickness and athletic ability stand out, but his route recognition and instincts need to improve. His tackle strength is a big plus in his favor, but his game took a step back in 2020, which was a little disappointing. There are enough traits and tools to warrant a Day 3 look.”


I could see Hobbs starting on the practice squad. There is no such thing as a reach at this point of the draft, so I guess we shall see here.


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Round 7, Pick 230: Jimmy Morrissey – Center – Pitt. The Raiders finished with a sneaky nice pick here. While I did not have a deep dive on Morrissey, I knew enough to realize that he could be a solid practice squad stash that might be a steal here with a little bit of weight and muscle added.

All of his technical elements are very sound. What held him back was a flat-out lack of size. This is a pick I absolutely loved, and I am really curious to see how Tom Cable develops him.



That is your 2021 Las Vegas Raiders draft class. It wasn’t pretty, and it took some twists and turns to get who the Raiders needed, but they’re here now. It’s up to them now to prove that they belong in the NFL and help return the Raiders to greatness.

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CJ Baldwin – Franchise Sports Media

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