The Raiders are now a little more than two weeks away from the 2021 NFL Draft.
There are too many questions and not enough answers right now as to where people will be drafted, however as free agency is coming to an end, many teams needs and wants are starting to become more clear than ever. The Raiders will have the task of trying to find the best players that will fit in the iconic Silver and Black with the seven picks they hold. Members of Raider Nation are starting to speculate not only whom the Raiders need to select, but who will even be available when it's time to draft at No. 17.
I took the time to answer a few of the best questions regarding who could be the best fits for the team to draft in three weeks. As always, hit me up @theleviedwards on Twitter and Instagram for more draft discussion as time is winding down.
Cory Raider asks.. I really like the offensive linemen that are going in mock drafts around the Raiders first-round pick. Which OL going in the middle of the first best fits the Raiders system?
This is a great question with some intriguing answers.
The Raiders may target a right tackle in the first round to complement Kolton Miller, Richie Incognito and Denzelle Good. The Raiders got younger on the offensive line, dealing Gabe Jackson, Rodney Hudson and Trent Brown for some draft capital that could be used to address the line, and if the Raiders want to continue down the path of beefing up this offensive line with their No. 17 pick, they wouldn't be lacking good options.
First you have Tevin Jenkins, who played right tackle at Oklahoma State. The 6-foot-6, 320-pound man produced in a big way in his time as a Cowboy, blocking for star running back Chuba Hubbard who ran for nearly 2,100 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2019. Jenkins also had an elite Pro Day showing, bench pressing 36 reps of 225 pounds, running a 4.96 40-yard-dash and a 32.5 inch vertical leap. Jenkins also has a very nasty streak in his play style which would be perfect for the Silver and Black.
Another couple of tackles that would be can't-miss options is Oregon's Penei Sewell and Northwestern's Rashawn Slater. Sewell is the 2019 Outland and Morris Award winner and arguably the more dominant offensive lineman that college football has seen in years. Slater also stood out in his time in Evansville with a lethal combination of size, strength and speed.
Many mock draft experts have Sewell and Slater being selected before the Raiders are on the clock, however if one of them falls in the first round, it could make for a very difficult decision for Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock to make.
Kona Wilson asks... Raiders seem to have a pretty solid starting LB corps with Tanner Muse ready to make essentially his rookie debut as well. Is LB a position of interest and are there some particular LBs of interest if they fall to a certain draft position that you might pick?
I'm also a fan of the linebacker corps that the team already possesses.
I feel that a full offseason and training camp in Gus Bradley's new system will benefit Cory Littleton, Nick Kwiatkoski and Nicholas Morrow tremendously. The Raiders could also use guys like Javin White and Tanner Muse, when healthy, to step up and make plays as well. Also, even though he will likely primarily be playing defensive end, Yannick Ngakoue has shown in his years at Maryland and with the Jaguars he can play outside linebacker efficiently if needed.
With that being said, if Micah Parsons somehow falls to No. 17, I would take him without even blinking.
In Parsons' two seasons at Penn State, he racked up over 200 total tackles and six forced fumbles. Parsons has great instincts on the field that helps him usually find a way to get to the ball as well as great coverage abilities for a linebacker. He also had an insane Pro Day that saw the 246-pound linebacker run a 4.39 40-yard dash.
Mike Mayock stated earlier this season that if there's a player on his draft board whose ability and upside eclipse the need for a certain position, he'll take the best player. There's no doubt in my mind Parsons would be the best player on the draft board if he's still available at 17. He honestly might be the best defensive player in the entire draft.
Joe Ahlert asks... What positions are you interested in and in what order? Safety: The Raiders currently have four safeties on their roster after the addition of old familiar face Karl Joseph - Jeff Heath, Johnathan Abram and Dallin Leavitt. This is a position that the Silver and Black can bolster in this draft, as the pool of safeties to choose from will be fairly deep. The top options that could definitely become Day One contributors would be 2020 Jim Thorpe award winner Trevon Moehrig out of TCU, Richie Grant out of UCF or Jamar Johnson out of Indiana. Right tackle: With the Raiders locking down Kolton Miller for the foreseeable future at left tackle, the Raiders might be intrigued in selecting someone to plug into the right side of the line after trading Trent Brown to the Patriots. I went into further detail regarding some of the options the Raiders have in an earlier question, but once again, guys such as Tevin Jenkins, Rashawn Slater, Alex Leatherwood or Penei Sewell - if he slides. Edge rusher: The pass rush has been upgraded through free agency with the signings of Yannick Ngakoue, Solomon Thomas, Matt Dickerson and Quinton Jefferson. The Raiders could however definitely use some more young talent to complement the rest of the defensive line. The urgency to draft an edge rusher may not be as high as it was at the beginning of the offseason, however getting some more pass rushers won't hurt at all. The Silver and Black could definitely snag a good underrated edge rusher in the middle of draft like Ohio State's Jonathon Cooper, Tulane's Cam Sample or Wake Forest's Carlos Basham if he slides out of the late first round.