Raiders

Raiders

The 2019 NFL Draft is quickly approaching, and it will be a big day for Jon Gruden, Mike Mayock and the Raiders.

By virtue of the Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper trades, the Silver and Black find themselves with three first-round picks in a draft that is loaded with talent, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

It's that time of year when ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. is working overtime, and last week he released what he believes would be the perfect three-round draft for each of the 32 NFL franchises.

The Raiders don't have a third-round pick, as they sent it to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Antonio Brown trade, but with four picks in the top 35, Oakland will have the ability to restock its talent pool in a hurry if the draft goes according to plan.

Here's who Kiper believes the Raiders should draft with their first four selections in order to get a "Grade A" draft:

No. 4 -- Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

What Kiper is saying: "Williams is a game-wrecker, a defensive playmaker whom Gruden will love."

Analysis: Williams might be the best prospect in the entire draft. The 6-foot-3, 303-pound defensive tackle was a star in Tuscaloosa, Ala., this past season, dismantling opposing offenses at the point of attack. Williams has elite athleticism and has the potential to be a Pro Bowler for years to come. Williams has already met the Raiders while on his Bay Area tour, and all signs point to Williams donning the Silver and Black if he's still on the board.

 

No. 24 -- Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple

What Kiper is saying: "Ya-Sin, one of college football's best lockdown corners in 2018, is still raw -- he played just one season at FBS level -- but he has a high ceiling."

Analysis:  The Raiders certainly will be looking for their No. 1 cornerback of the future, as Gareon Conley has had trouble staying healthy and Daryl Worley is only signed to a one-year deal. Ya-Sin is a physical specimen with raw talent. While he had the physical tools to lock down opposing wide receivers during his one year at Temple, he will need coaching on his technique across the board. The Raiders might be better served by drafting Georgia's Deandre Baker or Washington's Byron Murphy if they are available.

No. 27 -- Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama

What Kiper is saying: "Smith would fill the void left by Jared Cook. If there's one qualm with my own picks here, it's that there are no edge rushers left on my board at No. 24. There is going to be a run on them in the Top 20, which means Oakland could miss out on a big need area."

Analysis: With the addition of Brown and Tyrell Williams, the Raiders' passing attack is looking up for 2019. The addition of Smith, an athletic tight end with field-stretching potential, would give quarterback Derek Carr another deadly weapon to throw to when defenses are focused on shutting Brown down. Smith still is green in terms of football experience, so he'll need coaching when it comes to blocking and route running, but his physical tools and pass-catching ability would be hard to pass up.

[RELATED: How Raiders' need for edge rushers impacts draft strategy]

No. 35 -- Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

What Kiper is saying: "Jacobs might not make it to Round 2, but Gruden and Mayock shouldn't pass on him if he's there at No. 35. Get the best back in the class and help out Derek Carr."

Analysis: If the draft goes the way Kiper suggests, you might as well call them the Oakland Crimson Tide. Jacobs is a powerful runner who also is a dynamic weapon in the passing game. Surrounding Carr with Brown, Williams, Smith and Jacobs would make the Raiders' offense a difficult force to stop.