A new era for Raiders faithful to anticipate is rapidly approaching. The 2018 season will be full of nostalgia because not only are the Raiders delaying their Sin City relocation until 2020, they’ve decided to bring a familiar face back into the Silver and Black fold. Jon Gruden deciding to return as the Raiders’ head coach brings huge significance to the organization’s plans moving forward. GM Reggie McKenzie and Gruden both have had their misses as draft evaluators, but have also shared their own respective victories for finding great talent. Collaborating their extensive football knowledge together? Raiders fans could have something to really look forward to this upcoming draft.
ROUND 1, 10th Overall: Maurice Hurst Jr, DT, Michigan
If you’re grunting about this first pick not being a linebacker or a guy named Derrius Guice, that’s okay, but hear me out. The unfortunate history of Reggie Mackenzie draft hauls tells us that he doesn’t consider linebackers in the first two rounds of the draft (none since his tenure began in 2012). The truth his draft does tell is his eyes always take a long and focused glance at defensive players stationed out of the BIG 10 Conference. Mo Hurst is a guy who’s seeing the short end of the evaluation stick, slipping out of consensus top 5-10 consideration due his frame as an IDL, and his injury bug during 2017. That oversight will prove to be costly for teams selecting above the Raiders, as Hurst brings forth all the juice you desire in an interior defensive lineman. His combination of quick hands, low leverage, pure strength, and explosion off the snap is something the Raiders should seek in their front. *P.S* For anybody questioning Hurst’s size, the Raiders new defensive coordinator is Paul Guenther, who had a plethora of success in Cincinnati with a smaller IDL guy by the name of Geno Atkins.
ROUND 2, 41st Overall: Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon
Again, the Raiders do not consider linebackers in the first two rounds, and around this area is where the draft could see a stalemate in running back selections due the extensive amount to depth to be had later in Day 2. Around this pick, being able to find a book-end offensive tackle will be scarce, but the Raiders are fortunate enough to have this one drop into their laps. Tyrell Crosby is a guy who’s seen his stock rise from a solid performance at the Senior Bowl, and should expect to maintain that upward trend after the NFL Scouting Combine. While still raw as a pass protector, Crosby is a mammoth who will see success immediately in the run game and as a right tackle. During that time, Crosby can refine all his skills as a swing tackle, so when the time comes where Donald Penn decides to hang it up, Crosby will see a smooth transition as the Raiders’ new blindside reinforcer.
ROUND 3, 75th Overall: Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
I could make a bold prediction this would be a draft selection that Jon Gruden would be geeked about. Nick Chubb is typically labeled as a “bruiser” due to his body frame and power, but there are so many more elements to his game than that. Chubb brings a fashionable blend of size, power, speed (no, he’s not slow), burst, and ball carrier intelligence.
A knock on Nick Chubb is that he “lacks lateral” or “limited ability to run outside”
I beg to differ, its not always about how fast you get to the boundary, but rather how u get there
Presses the LOS bubble to bait the inside run, low pads, & then uses a sudden jumpcut outside. pic.twitter.com/BFGNtf2ZsE
— Cagen Cantrell (@CeeingTheDraft) February 3, 2018
That ball carrier intelligence is what is most enamoring about Chubb’s game. Even if there was a lack of anything significant in his game, the manipulation and creativity in the details of his running style makes him a valuable asset to any run offense. With Marshawn Lynch’s future uncertain, Chubb can come in and be that “Cadillac Williams” back that Gruden never had the opportunity to fully experience.
ROUND 4, 112th Overall: Micah Kiser, LB, Virginia
FINALLY, your demands have been answered. Paul Guenther has spoken highly of Navarro Bowman, so the Raiders could seek one more rental season out of the former All-Pro. Obviously though, Bowman doesn’t have much more left in the tank, so the Raiders will be looking for his heir. If there’s any player who fits the physical mold of Bowman, Micah Kiser is the guy. Both are considered “undersized” in comparison to MIKE backer standards: Kiser (6’0″, 236 lbs); Bowman (6’0″, 245 pounds). However, what makes them valuable to a defense is their old-school “hit you in the mouth” play style. Both fine tacklers and run stoppers, they’ll bring substantial production on 1st and 2nd down. On top of that, Kiser has the upside to become a hook zone cover on third down as well.
ROUND 6, 188th Overall: Marcell Frazier, EDGE, Missouri
Athleticism and length is something you can never have enough of in your edge rushers, and if anyone needs solid EDGE depth, it would be the Raiders. Marcell Frazier, a former NorCal JUCO product, has a solid combination of speed, length, and power in his rush arsenal. Still tremendously raw, he will more than likely see development adversity early which probably results in a limited snap count. However, Jon Gruden was able to bring over long-time Packers defensive line coach Mike Trgovac, who has a history of development, helping mold the likes of Mike Daniels and Dean Lowry into fine players while in Green Bay.
ROUND 6, 195th Overall: Byron Pringle, WR, Kansas State
No sugarcoating for this need. Having a big wide receiver as a deep threat with a refined route tree is something the Raiders’ offense severely lacked in 2017. Finding a dependable offensive weapon this late in the draft is a huge leap of faith, but Byron Pringle is a guy who can be that difference maker for Derek Carr early on.
— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) January 25, 2018
Pringle will be a high-floor player, as he’ll turn 25 years old during his rookie season. While Pringle might not be a long-term deal for the Raiders, grabbing as polished a receiver as him at this point in the draft is well worth the investment.
ROUND 6, 210th Overall: Arrion Springs, CB, Oregon
We’re now halfway through the Raiders’ whopping SIX selections during the 6th round. Only fitting, right? With having this much draft capital at this point in the draft, stacking up with talent and upside is very key. Arrion Springs is a guy who didn’t always have the most popping stats, but his lack of recognition while playing at Oregon is quite criminal. The 5’11”, 205 pound cornerback has fluid movement skill, yet is aggressive at the point of attack in coverage. A three-year starter for the Ducks, Springs can be a contributor immediately in nickel packages, but has potential to lock up the outside with his confidence and physicality.
ROUND 6, 213th Overall: Brandon Facyson, CB, Virginia Tech
Three picks later, and the Raiders decide to double dip at the cornerback position. This time they focus on a different mold and go for the long and technical guy. While Brandon Facyson isn’t the most naturally fluid athlete, his length and physicality is enough to garner a solid flier at this point in the draft. As a longer cornerback, he’ll fit in right away with the majority of the Raiders’ DB unit, and will attempt to replace David Amerson.
Round 6, 216th Overall: Secdrick Cooper, SS, Louisiana Tech
I suppose that a third time is a charm, as the Raiders triple dip for secondary depth. This time they grab a safety. With Reggie Nelson essentially past his time in Oakland, the Raiders will have to take a long and hard look at the back end of their defense. The starting core is no issue, as Karl Joseph will potentially be at free safety next season, and Obi Menifonwu will be back at strong safety after his season-ending hip surgery. Therefore, Oakland will be searching for talented depth, and there’s no better option than drafting a versatile safety who can play both positions. Secdrick Cooper has been slept on heavily during the draft process, but a late add to the Senior Bowl roster helped him garner some interest. He looked fast during practices and caught an interception during the actual exhibition. Forbidding any injuries to happen, but should the Raiders find themselves again in a compromising position with scarce secondary depth, Cooper can be sturdy fill-in.
Round 6, 218th Overall: Ray-Ray McCloud, WR, Clemson
Even though Al Davis is living the good life above us all, he is still sharing his “speed demon” draft philosophy to this moment. Not many guys in this draft class will be able to say they’re faster than Ray-Ray McCloud, who flashed through defense and special teams units while at Clemson. Speaking of special teams, McCloud’s main value will come a return specialist. He would come in and replace Jalen Richard, who stepped in as the Raiders’ punt return man throughout 2017. There might not be a ton of upside for him at the receiver position, but I’m sure Gruden will find his ways to make him a creative weapon.
Round 7, 228th Overall: Ike Powell, LS, Auburn
Hey, it’s round 7, let’s just have some fun! There’s not much analysis behind this one, other than 2017 long snapper Jon Condo is a free agent this offseason. Ike Powell is a mean mug guy who prides himself on being a blocker along with a snapper. He has a wicked looking beard, too (be sure to Google it).