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


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, 49ers less affected by Jaylon Ferguson's NFL Scouting Combine ban


Raiders, 49ers less affected by Jaylon Ferguson's NFL Scouting Combine ban

The Raiders and 49ers have already spent significant time with Jaylon Ferguson during the pre-NFL-draft process.

The Senior Bowl provided both teams an opportunity to evaluate him up close during an intense practice week and the college all-star game itself. The Louisiana Tech edge rusher worked with the 49ers-led South squad, which spent part of one day with North coaches from the Raiders.

“(The Senior Bowl) is a great opportunity because both teams coaching here are looking for pass rushers,” Ferguson said early in the Senior Bowl week. “I feel like I’m one of the top pass rushers in this class, and I get my chance to show that I’m coachable and that I can rush the passer.”

Ferguson’s right. The Raiders and 49ers need help off the edge, and the NCAA’s all-time sack leader can certainly rush the passer. Ferguson also had a chance to showcase that quality, his work ethic and character working with the Bay Area teams at the Senior Bowl, something that will prove harder to do with others after getting his NFL Scouting Combine invite revoked.

Ferguson was disinvited after a background check turned up a simple battery conviction that disqualified him from combine participation, per NFL rules. According to NFL Network, the league told clubs that players wouldn’t be invited if they had prior convictions involving violence.

Ferguson's incident was not news to those working with him at the Senior Bowl.

Missing the combine is a major blow to Ferguson, a smaller-school talent hoping to show he has the tools to compete with top competition. He also planned to use the combine to show he has grown from past mistakes.

The NFL’s decision was unpopular around the league and with Ferguson’s agency, STL Sports Group, which issued this statement Thursday morning:

“We disagree with the NFL’s position with regards to Jaylon Ferguson. Jaylon is a great person who made a mistake 4 years ago before he started playing college football. He was involved in a scuffle that resulted in him being charged with misdemeanor simple battery. He received a deferred judgment and $189.00 fine, A Proper punishment for a fight between two teenagers. Since that day Jaylon has been a fine and upstanding student-athlete that personifies the things we are trying to teach our young people today. The past four years at Louisiana Tech Jaylon has been a team leader who has led on and off the field clearly learning from the lessons of his past. As opposed to penalizing and vilifying the future players of the league, we would hope the league would allow Jaylon and other similarly situated players the opportunity to prove to potential employers that they are remorseful, and have learned from their mistakes, accepted responsibility, want to be good role models and are better people now for it. No person is perfect, and people are entitled to second chances and opportunities and one would hope the NFL as an open-minded Industry Leader, Diverse League and Business would want to see the best in their players, educate them and help them mature, learn and be better people.”

[RELATED: Flacco trade could impact Raiders, 49ers in NFL draft]

Ferguson will still have opportunities to speak with teams during private facility visits and show physical skill at Louisiana Tech’s pro day.

That will be important after missing combine drills, so he can prove similar to a role model the Raiders drafted and the 49ers tried to acquire via trade.

“I model my game after Khalil Mack,” Ferguson said at the Senior Bowl. “He’s an aggressive guy who can transfer speed to power and is a big, strong man. That’s my game right there.”

Raiders, Oakland Coliseum re-engaged in lease discussions for 2019


Raiders, Oakland Coliseum re-engaged in lease discussions for 2019

OAKLAND – The Raiders have re-engaged in talks to play the 2019 season at the Oakland Coliseum. The Silver and Black abandoned them back in December, when the city of Oakland sued the Raiders and the NFL for antitrust violations and breach of contract.

The Raiders took a $7.5 million lease extension offer off the table after the lawsuit was filed, and began exploring other venues to play one final season before relocating to Las Vegas in 2020.

The Silver and Black returned to the table late last week, Coliseum Authority executive chairman Scott McKibben told NBC Sports Bay Area on Tuesday afternoon. McKibben characterized talks as meaningful and productive, and he is set to address the Coliseum Authority's board of commissioners in a closed session on Friday at 8:30 a.m.

A Raiders official did not immediately return a text seeking comment.

The Raiders were previously engaged in discussions with the San Francisco Giants to play next season at Oracle Park. Those talks produced an agreement in principle that was never executed.

The 49ers would not waive their territorial rights to the city of San Francisco, given to them specifically in the NFL’s bylaws. The NFL had some say in the matter, though a source told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco that unanimous vote of NFL owners would have been required to allow the Raiders to play there.

The Raiders have long said they were exploring options in the Bay Area and other markets, but the team seemed to prefer a local choice while continuing to practice at their Alameda training facility.

Oakland Coliseum wasn’t preferable due to the legal action, and owner Mark Davis voiced dislike for Levi’s Stadium – an NFL venue built to house two teams – even before the Raiders’ relationship with the 49ers grew cold.

[RELATED: Should Raiders pursue Antonio Brown trade with Steelers?]

While the Raiders still don’t have a home venue, a decision could come soon. The team’s 2018 lease with Oakland Coliseum ends on Wednesday, so the Coliseum Authority hoped to have some clarity on the Raiders' intentions.

A return to the table is a significant move, especially considering the sides had previously discussed a lease extension. That said, it doesn’t necessarily lock down a pact. There’s work yet to be done in that regard.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said during Super Bowl week that he hopes a resolution on the Raiders home venue will come in February, so the league can schedule the 2019 season.