Las Vegas Raiders 2021 NFL Draft Recapby Charlie Parent May 6, 2021 0 comments
The Las Vegas Raiders had a very Raiders Esque draft. Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden made questionable decisions all over the place that had the fans going crazy. It all started in the first round with the selection of Alex Leatherwood with the 17th pick. Many said this selection was a reach and that they could’ve gotten Leatherwood in the second round if they traded back. This is simply not true, however.
Many reports around the league said Leatherwood would not have made it past the first round and that’s really not surprising. He’s a very good football player and will slot into the Raiders line nicely. The questionable moves kept coming in the later rounds when the Raiders selected lesser-known guys from mid-major schools like Malcolm Koonce. With the narratives of this draft set, let’s see how the Raiders really did.
Make sure to check out all of our 2021 NFL Draft Team Recaps.
Best Pick: Trevon Moehrig-Woodard (Round 2, Pick 43)
Moehrig falling to pick 43 was the best thing the Raiders could have asked for on day two. Mayock immediately made a move to trade up with the San Francisco 49ers to snag Moehrig here. He was the near-consensus top safety in this class. The only reason he fell was because of a back injury from a previous workout. Safety also happened to be a big need for the Raiders. In fact, because of the addition of Moehrig, the team announced the release of former starting safety Jeff Heath after the draft. It seems Moehrig will have the opportunity to play right away and be able to develop constantly from early reps.
For more on Moehrig, check out our scouting report here.
Worst Pick: Tyree Gillespie (Round 4, Pick 143)
Gillespie isn’t necessarily a bad player but the need here was questionable. After already drafting Moehrig and two other defensive players, it was an interesting decision by the Raiders. Also, at the time of selection, Gillespie would probably have been the fourth or fifth-string safety on the roster. With the release of Heath, however, he moves up a bit on the depth chart, obviously, but still behind some guys. It’s not the best pick, but it will provide a nice insurance policy if Moehrig’s injury is serious at least.
For more on Gillespie, check out our scouting report here.
Sleeper Pick: Jimmy Morrissey (Round 7, Pick 230)
Getting Morrissey in the seventh round is a tremendous value for the Raiders. He’s a smart center who can really do it all at his position. He needs to get polished up a little bit but should make the roster pretty easily at first. If Morrissey can develop well enough, he could even take over for Nick Martin as the center somewhere down the road. Morrissey was expected to go much earlier than the seventh round so this is obviously one of the bigger steals in this draft.
For more on Morrissey, check out our scouting report here.
For as questionable and head-scratching as it was, the Raiders had a good draft. Las Vegas got some really nice value in the later rounds with players like Koonce, Divine Deablo, and Morrissey. Besides Moehrig, it’s a little bit cloudy on who will play at the start of the season. There are obviously questions on where they’ll utilize Leatherwood but the general consensus is at guard. If he does start at guard, he can play right away. If it’s a start at tackle, he may need to wait a little bit. While they still have some work to do in terms of building a future, this is a very nice start and one the fans should be happy about.