WWJD #16 – Las Vegas Raiders Mock Draft v6.0

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It’s draft day for the Las Vegas Raiders The Silver and Black hold the 12th and 19th overall picks in the first round and seven overall. With needs at wide receiver, cornerback, defensive tackle, and depending on who you talk to, the quarterback position, the Raiders will look to fill several needs over the next three days. 

 

So it’s time for my final Raiders mock draft, v6.0. In this mock draft, there WILL NOT BE trades. I am drafting the best player available for the Raiders, in my opinion. I DO NOT have control over which player is available at the time I am up to draft, so please save the “He isn’t going to be available there” comments because, in this draft simulator, HE WAS! 

 

So here is my Raiders Mock Draft v6.0 done via the PFN Mock Draft Simulator:

 

Round 1:

 

Photo Credit: Siver 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. Jeudy is the best route runner I’ve seen coming out of college since Marvin Harrison when he came out of Syracuse. 

Jerry Jeudy has terrific hands, though he needs to do a better job of concentrating on eliminating easy drops. He is excellent after the catch, and as I stated earlier, 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.

With the electric playmaker Jeudy surprisingly available at pick 19, the Raiders’ most significant need currently and the best available player on my board, becomes the instant #1 target for Carr and gives the Jon Gruden offense some serious juice.

 

SCOUTING REPORT:

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.

Jeudy enters the NFL as one of the most electric and polished route runners I have ever scouted at the college level. He projects as a true No. 1 wide receiver in the NFL through which a team can funnel passing game. Alabama lined him up all across the formation, and he features the versatility to do the same in the NFL, without restricting the offensive scheme. Jeudy does need to develop more consistency with his hands, but he should be able to produce early in his NFL career with the upside to become one of the better wide receivers in the game. A timing-based offense like Jon Gruden’s would mesh well with his skill set.

 

Photo credit: Greenville News

(#19): AJ Terrell- CB- Clemson: The Raiders drafted another Clemson cornerback last year in Trayvon Mullen. This year they add his former college teammate, a player with an even higher ceiling according to scouts I talked too. He lost A LOT of money by having his worst game in his final game, against a team that had the best quarterback and offense he has seen while in college. But what stood out to me was that he kept coming back without fear and showing a quick memory, something needed for cornerbacks to be successful.  

The Raiders like to have tough, physical, and passionate football players, just like their head coach and general manager. Terrell fits the mold of that type that guy. With Clelin FerrellMullenHunter Renfrow, and now Terrellthe Raiders have added winners who are the new standard for what they want out of their team.

 

SCOUTING REPORT:

AJ Terrell is a terrific athlete with excellent pattern-matching skills, quick feet, clean transitions, and fluid hips. I love how tight he plays in coverage, allowing little cushion and staying connected defending quick game. Terrell finds consistent success in press coverage with excellent balance, patience, hand usage, and willingness to crowd receivers in the contact window. He is outstanding in click and close situations, driving forward on the football and being disruptive.

Terrell does well to play through the hands of the receiver to challenge at the catch point. He has the ideal size for the position, and he transitions well for a taller corner. Terrell is effective in leveraging outside releases, layering coverage, and squeezing routes. Lastly, Terrell has good eye discipline, showcasing the ability to read the backfield while remaining in phase, with a body type that is long and rangy.

A.J. Terrell projects as a starting cornerback at the NFL level. Terrell has the fluidity to play off-man coverage and the click and close quickness and foot speed to drive into routes breaking off in front of his face. While Terrell shows the foot mobility and transitional quickness to flip and carry in press man, his functional strength isn’t a hallmark trait. Bigger-bodied receivers will be able to play through his press unless he’s able to add weight onto his frame.

AJ Terrell leaves Clemson after three seasons, two of which he started, and demonstrated remarkable growth throughout his career. Possessing a full toolbox to excel in man coverage, Terrell is long, rangy, and fluid, with good eye discipline to bait throws. He also finds considerable success in soft press coverage, and he is exceptionally sticky when crowding routes in the quick game. Terrell does need to add play strength and get more consistent as a tackler, but he projects as a scheme-versatile starter with a high ceiling.

 

 

No Picks In Round 2

 

 

Round 3:

 

Photo Credit: sooner sports

(#80): 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.

 

SCOUTING REPORT:

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.

Jalen 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 needs 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.

 

 

Photo Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

(#81): Chase Claypool- TE- 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 and Darren Waller would provide the Raiders two freakish elite athletes at tight end that have similar size, speed, and athletic ability. 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, but in the Raiders offense, he wouldn’t be a traditional tight end.

 

 

SCOUTING REPORT:

 Claypool has ample catch radius and powerful physicality. With his size, he’s able to claim space with aggressiveness and hand fighting to create separation. I’m not sold on his vertical push to create soft coverage on underneath routes, but this is a big body who is fearless over the middle of the field and will bring ample toughness as a blocker in the slot or on the boundary.

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 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 prowess and win in tightly contested situations. Claypool has limitations of which to be mindful, but he can fulfill a niche role. I see Claypool as a big slot that provides a complementary weapon for an offense that features speed and separation specialists to draw coverage away 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.

 

Photo Credit: hail state

(#91) 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.

 

SCOUTING REPORT: 

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.

Willie Gay Jr. is an athletic defender who would be best served in a space role to scrape and flow to the football. His explosiveness and tackle radius are evident on tape. Still, his processing speed and consistency in reading his keys is something that needs to be honed before he’s handed a role as a MIKE linebacker with significant reps. With an impressive physical profile, Gay Jr. deserves the chance to be coached up (just six starts). With higher play recognition, he could be an NFL starter.

Willie Gay Jr. is one of those second-level enforcers that will stick his face in a fan and like it. Everything he does is executed with relentless urgency and imposing physicality. He complements his high motor with good size and explosive athletic traits that make him an exciting developmental option. With that said, there are some red flags to be mindful of, and Gay Jr. is severely underdeveloped as a processor. He should claim a subpackage and special teams role early in his career, and his ceiling is reasonably exciting as he settles in and develops the nuances of the position.

 

Round 4:

 

Photo Credit: Boston College

(#121): AJ Dillon- RB- Boston College: AJ Dilion out of Boston College is the type of back that would’ve been drafted in the upper portion of the draft 15 years ago. He is a powerful back that would be a nice compliment to Josh Jacobs and allow the budding star a break while the Raiders would have a very good running back for short periods or a few starts should Jacobs get injured.

Dillon is a very good north/south runner. He does a decent job as a one-cut running back but struggles going east/west. He has good vision, but he doesn’t have great hands or elite speed and isn’t a threat to break off a long run. Dillon fits what Mike Mayock likes, and he is very familiar to Mayock since that’s where the Raiders general manager went to college. Jon Gruden will love his toughness and football smarts, and he should be a special teams contributor early on in his career as well.

 

SCOUTING REPORT:

Racking up 4,382 rushing yards and 38 touchdowns across three seasons at Boston CollegeAJ Dillon has been among the most productive backs in college football in recent years. 

His blend of size, speed, and power made him a difficult challenge as he ripped through ACC defenses. With that said, his next level projection isn’t that exciting. Dillon’s lack of technique pressing the line of scrimmage is concerning, and he won’t be able to shred NFL defenses just because he is big and fast. Now, if Dillon can develop more timing, processing, and nuance, then he has a chance to be a productive NFL runner that excels between the tackles and in pass protection.

Unfortunately, Dillon also needs development as a receiver where his hands don’t appear natural, and he wasn’t afforded many chances to catch the football in college. It’s unlikely he becomes a keen route runner that creates separation from linebackers.

 If Dillon’s NFL offense can get him the football in quick-hitting runs where runways are constructed for him, then he can find a role, but there are limitations in his game, and what he does well isn’t of great value in today’s NFL. Finding a role on special teams, excelling in short-yardage, and developing his technique is critical.

 

 

Round 5:

 

Photo Credit: rolltide.com

(#159): 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.

 

SCOUTING REPORT:

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.

 

 

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