Raiders

2019 NFL mock draft: Breaking down early Raiders seven-round forecast

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USATSI

2019 NFL mock draft: Breaking down early Raiders seven-round forecast

The Raiders have 10 picks in this year’s NFL draft, including three in the first round and four in the top 35.

Those selections will form the most important class in recent memory, one head coach Jon Gruden hopes will expedite a rebuilding process still in its infancy. Gruden has torn the roster down, and needs quality from this NFL draft to get it back up and running well.

The Raiders have several needs and offense and defense, which must be addressed over the entire draft. Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller gives us one scenario for how a Raiders draft might play out in his early seven-round NFL mock draft.

Here are his Raiders selections:

First round (No. 4 overall): EDGE Rashan Gary, Michigan
First round (No. 24 overall): RB Josh Jacobs, Alabama
First round (No. 27 overall): CB Trayvon Mullen, Clemson
Second round (No. 35 overall): S Deionte Thompson, Alabama
Third round (No. 66 overall): LB Tre Lamar, Clemson
Fourth round (No. 99 overall): WR David Sills, West Virginia
Fifth round: QB Gardener Minshew, Washington State
Sixth round: LB Kendall Joseph, Clemson
Seventh round: WR Keelan Doss, UC Davis
Seventh round: RB Bryce Love, Stanford
NOTE: Exact draft selections are currently unavailable for the fifth round and beyond because compensatory draft picks haven’t yet been added to the draft order.

The Raiders would be happy to address so many issues in this draft, including every level of their defense. They need quality and depth almost everywhere, and this class could build a foundation for it. Edge rusher is the team’s most pressing need and they only came away with one – two might be required, depending on free agency – though Gary provides ideal size and athleticism to be a solid pro. His stats don’t pop, but he could develop into a dominant pro.

Taking a first-round running back seems high, although the Raiders need a long-term replacement at feature back even with unproven Chris Warren III in the stable.

Adding a third first-round defensive back in the past four seasons could be viewed as extreme, but teams need three good ones and the Silver and Black are one short.

Thompson would be a steal in the second round and fill an immediate need at free safety, and Mullen could be an asset at middle linebacker.

Receiver sits just behind edge rusher in the needs department and waiting until the middle rounds to add a pass catcher is a risk, but the positional depth in this draft is excellent.

[RELATED: Raiders DB coach sees potential in young secondary]

Miller assigned three players to the Raiders who Gruden saw up close at the Senior Bowl, though only Doss was on his North squad. Miller has half the Raiders draft class coming from national championship participants Alabama and Clemson, who played for the title last month at Levi’s Stadium.

Bay Area fans would know Love’s value watching him play in Palo Alto. That would be a popular third-day pick.

Raiders playing on 80-yard field won't change Jon Gruden's evaluation

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Raiders playing on 80-yard field won't change Jon Gruden's evaluation

Jon Gruden didn’t have a problem with IG Field’s playing surface. The Raiders head coach made that clear after Thursday’s 22-21 preseason victory over the Green Bay Packers in Winnipeg, an exhibition played on an 80-yard field due to concerns over unstable turf in one end zone.

“The field, I don’t know that was all about,” Gruden said. “We thought the field was perfectly fine.”

Playing on unusual dimensions simply could be a novelty if the Raiders still found value in game tape.

Gruden said that was the case, and it won’t alter how they look at the game action taking place among backups, with starters and significant role players sitting this one out.

“It’s not going to change the evaluation, other than we didn’t get some kickoffs, or some opportunities in special teams,” Gruden said. “I’m not going to make a big deal about the field. We like the field. We thought the field was perfectly ready to roll. You’d have to ask Green Bay about that.

“It didn’t impact our play calling or our evaluations. We just adapted, as they did, to the new dimensions of the field.”

[RELATED: Peterman impresses Gruden again, has shot to make Raiders]

The Raiders gave a home preseason game to Winnipeg, making this the second of three straight exhibition games played away from Oakland. Gruden said the experience worked out just fine, and that the team doesn’t consider the extra travel or field issues or things like that a distraction from their preparation for the regular season.

“It’s weird playing a home game in Winnipeg, but it’s exciting,” Gruden said. “It’s a great opportunity to spend some time together. We left some players at home. We had some players show up and not play. It was a good road trip. There are not as many distractions here as people think. Antonio Brown’s doing fine. We have a good, young football team.”

Nathan Peterman could make Raiders’ roster after impressing Jon Gruden again

Nathan Peterman could make Raiders’ roster after impressing Jon Gruden again

Who doesn't love a good redemption story?

Nathan Peterman's career got off to about the worst start an NFL quarterback has ever had. He threw five interceptions in his first start for the Buffalo Bills, and he has been used as a punchline ever since.

Then he came to Oakland, and has caught the eye of Raiders coach Jon Gruden. 

Peterman has been in a battle with Mike Glennon for the Raiders' backup quarterback position throughout training camp and the preseason. Glennon has taken the second-string reps through the first three preseason games and appears to have the upper hand in the competition. 

But that doesn't mean Peterman will be looking for a new home soon. 

The Pittsburgh product has impressed Gruden throughout camp and the preseason, and he played well again Thursday night against the Green Bay Packers at IG Field in Winnipeg. 

Despite the shortened 80-yard field, Peterman continued his march into Gruden's heart and the Raiders' 53-man roster. After Glennon played the first quarter against the Packers, Peterman was handed the reins and did everything Gruden could have wanted, completing 23 of 37 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns, while also leading the Silver and Black into field-goal range to set up Daniel Carlson's game-winning 33-yard boot. 

The Raiders left Canada with a 22-21 win, and while a lot can't be gleaned from a game played on a shortened field, Peterman's performance was something to note. 

"Well, we had seen enough of Glennon, to be honest," Gruden said after the game of the snap discrepancy. "He played very well in Arizona [last week]. I thought he did some good things tonight.

”I like Peterman. I've said that for a while now, and I thought he had two touchdown passes that were dropped today, right on the money. Had a couple other balls that were dropped, right on the money. He took care of the ball. Didn't turn it over throughout the preseason. He's athletic. 

"I like what he did tonight. Especially late in the football game."

Those statements would lead you to believe Glennon has won the backup job, but Gruden wasn't ready to make that announcement. 

"I'm not going to get into anything right now other than we got two pretty good quarterbacks that are competing for the No. 2 spot," Gruden said. "We call the game differently when Mike is in there than when Nate is in there. That will be the case if we keep all three, or whoever the backup is. I thought both of those guys performed well the last three games."

The Raiders didn't keep three quarterbacks on their roster last season, and most expected the Silver and Black to have just two when the Denver Broncos come to the Coliseum to open the regular season on Sept. 9. 

[RELATED: Raiders receivers coach breaks down stacked position group]

Peterman's play, however, might have changed the equation. 

"I've always kept three — last year was the first time we didn't," Gruden said. "I'm not saying we're going to keep two or three, but we are going to try and keep the best 53 guys. We've got three guys who can play the position, and we'll have to make that decision here in the next week."

Peter-Can make the roster? You bet.