The NFL Draft is this Thursday and the Oakland Raiders have three first round picks.
Oakland can go plenty of different routes. Their defense wasn’t great last season while the offense was average as best. The biggest needs for the Silver and Black includes edge rusher, corner back, and running back.
With plenty of depth in this draft at edge, it shouldn’t be a surprise if the Raiders pick one. Running back doesn’t have as much top end talent so a first round choice might not make sense especially with a back like Joshua Jacobs available in the second round.
It might be best for the Raiders to use all three picks in the first on the defensive side of the ball. Here’s what the best-case first round for the Raiders would look like:
4th pick: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
The Raiders are in desperate need of an edge and this years draft class has plenty. Allen is in the top tier of edge rushers in the class and probably only trails Joey Bosa for the top of this class.
Allen won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy as the nation’s top defender after collecting 17 sacks last season with Kentucky. Oakland can use a guy that can get to the quarterback after finishing dead last in the NFL last season in sacks.
The biggest question for Allen as it pertains to the Raiders is if he can play well in the three-point stance as a defensive end in a 4-3 defense. The junior played out of the outside linebacker in Kentucky’s 3-4 scheme but does have the athleticism to make the transition seamless. There’s also a possibility that he could play the SAM linebacker with his plus pass coverage skills.
24th pick: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
While he might be ranked lower than Greedy Williams and Byron Murphy, Baker is exceptional in both man and zone coverage and should be available at 24 for the Raiders. Oakland does play more of a zone defense and Baker is better in man but Baker’s ball ability makes this pick a solid one.
While he is on the slower end, tying for 31st among defensive backs in this years defensive backs class, the longest reception he allowed least season at Georgia was just 17 yards. His physicality though makes up for his lack of speed and is a solid tackler.
The Raiders pass defense struggled last year in terms of yards allowed. Baker is a player that can be plugged into the Raiders secondary Week 1 and make an impact.
27th pick: Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
As mentioned above, the Raiders struggled getting to the quarterback last season and that’s being polite. Their 13 team sacks would have been tied for eighth with four different players for most sacks by a player.
Taking two edge rushers in the first round in an edge heavy draft could fix that. Insert Clelin Ferrell out of Clemson. Ferrell has the prototypical size of an EDGE and played in a 4-3 scheme in college so there’s already a fit with the Oakland defense.
Paired on the opposite side with Arden Key, who excels in the run game, the Raiders would be set on the defensive end. If the Raiders do land Allen at four and add Ferrell at 27, the Raiders pass rushing woes could be solved as well.