After bringing on Jon Gruden for a massive contract, the Las Vegas Raiders truly hit the heights that Jack Del Rio did years ago. With a roster that is a few small pieces away from playoff contention, this draft may prove to make or break for a team that is in the bottom half of its division. The Chargers, Broncos, and Chiefs are all improving, so it is time for Gruden to fix his drafting philosophy. The past few years have been unfruitful for the Raiders, so let’s see if this draft may turn the tide in an overpowered division.
To help with this mock draft, I used The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator.
Make sure to check out all of our other NFL Team Mock Drafts.
Round 1, Pick 17: Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
With the departure of Raekwon McMillan, the SAM linebacker position is empty. Parsons provides an immediate upgrade at that position. His talent is off the charts. Parsons can pass rush, which the Raiders desperately need, cover, and he can play the run to an elite level. Parsons is known to have an immature personality, but Gruden is arguably the best-case scenario for a player with personality issues to come and play at their highest potential. Thanks to a fixable problem, the Raiders steal arguably a top-five talent in this draft class in the second half of the first round.
Round 2, Pick 48: Elijah Molden, CB, Washington
This secondary is a problem. The Raiders emphasized that by drafting Isaiah Johnson and Damon Arnette. Unfortunately, the two did not play to their expected level in a pass-heavy division. Molden is the ultimate slot corner. He can play both man and zone coverage at an elite level, not to mention that Molden can also play the run at a very high level given his size. The scouting report’s comparison for him was a lighter hitting Tyrann Mathieu (who funnily enough is in this division). Molden will be an every-down player and will surely alleviate some of the issues that this defense has been facing.
For more on Molden, check out our scouting report on him here.
Round 3, Pick 80: Ar’Darius Washington, SAF, TCU
Lamarcus Joyner was cut on Monday. His play did not live up to the massive contract he received years ago. Washington is an amazing safety prospect. He was hidden behind the likes of Trevon Moehrig, who arguably played better than he had. Although Joyner’s play has diminished, Washington can reach the former heights of Joyner’s career and maintain it here in Las Vegas. The sky’s the limit with Washington, and he will undoubtedly be a crucial addition to this defense and be a potential day one impact. Not bad for a third-round pick.
For more on Washington, check out our scouting report on him here.
Round 4, Pick 121: Darius Stills, IDL, West Virginia
Gruden loves his hard workers. Maurice Hurst was a steal years ago, but he has nobody next to him. Stills is a fighter and an impact player. Every single snap he plays, Stills is having success. The crazy thing is that every single one of the picks so far in this draft may all start day one. That either is amazing or terrifying. Given the talent of these picks, it appears to be the former, luckily. Stills will be an amazing compatriot to the animal Hurst next to him. In a division without great talent at the guard spot, this duo may wreak havoc for years to come.
Round 5, Pick 163: Sadarius Hutcherson, IOL, South Carolina
Richie Incognito is either gone, retired, or just plain old. The guard spot is currently vacant and in desperate need of filling. Hutcherson is one of the less-known names in this draft, but start taking notes. He is an absolute freak of nature: he can bench and squat multiple times his weight. Hutcherson may not be the perfect day one starter like the rest of this draft, but his potential is sky-high. That is perfect given this draft position. Hutcherson may develop to be the best guard in the division within a year, and Josh Jacobs will certainly not complain about that.
Round 6, Pick 204: Divine Diablo, SAF, Virginia Tech
Safety is no longer a need for the Raiders; however, this pick is beyond amazing value. With Johnathan Abram having some injury concerns, Diablo will rotate in the lineup, which keeps Abram healthier. The 3-safety scheme with Washington, Abram, and Diablo will provide fresh legs in the secondary. With such a mediocre secondary, this will be crucial in taking the next step towards competency. This is crucial when Mahomes and Herbert are in the division.
Round 7, Pick 242: Joshua Kaindoh, EDGE, Florida State
The Raiders have plenty of options at defensive end. The problem is that none of them are truly effective enough to be quality starters. Kaindoh may not provide the floor that could secure him a spot on this roster, but his size and length at 6’7’’ provides unbelievable upside for the pick value. The seventh-round is a place for high floor or ceiling prospects, and this pick is reserved for pure potential.
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