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2019 NFL mock draft: Mel Kiper Jr.'s three picks for Raiders in first round

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2019 NFL mock draft: Mel Kiper Jr.'s three picks for Raiders in first round

The Raiders almost have as many first-round draft picks (three) this year as they did wins (four) in 2018. They're in the perfect place to begin their rebuild, but they can't fail with players that should hold the keys to their future. 

Will they place more of an emphasis on offense or defense moving forward? Mel Kiper Jr. has released his first NFL mock draft of 2019 and he has the Raiders addressing both sides of the ball in the first round. 

No. 4: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

Cornerback isn't the Raiders' top need on defense, but they can certainly use help in their secondary. Former first-round pick Gareon Conley will man one side of the field, but it's uncertain who his partner will be. 

Kiper Jr. compares a former Raiders nemesis to Williams, one who was named to five straight Pro Bowls from 2013 to 2017: 

Williams is a big, 6-foot-3 corner with long arms and lockdown potential. The comp I've made for him is Aqib Talib.

The Raiders ranked 14th in the NFL with 14 interceptions in 2018. Williams, a redshirt sophomore, had eight interceptions and 19 passes defended in his two years at LSU. 

No. 24: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

Speed, speed, and more speed. The Raiders could use it and Brown has it. He's listed at only 5-foot-9 and 168 pounds, but he's a legitimate deep threat and the Raiders need to give Derek Carr some help

Here's what Kiper Jr. says about Brown: 

Brown is going to be one of the fastest prospects in this draft. He can run every route, and he's tremendous after the catch.

In his two years with the Sooners, Brown caught 132 passes for 2,413 yards and 17 touchdowns. 

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

Speaking of helping Carr, here's another weapon for the quarterback. The Raiders' leading receiver this season was tight end Jared Cook, but he's turning 32 and will be a free agent. 

I mentioned Cook earlier, and he's a free agent, so this is going to be a need for Oakland. Smith had 44 catches and seven touchdowns for the Crimson Tide this season, and he is a really good player.

Smith tops off a first round haul without the Raiders addressing their need at edge rusher, but certainly adding to Jon Gruden's offense and a gaining a potential star at cornerback.

 

NFL Draft 2020: Should Raiders trade up for Justin Herbert, Tua Tagovailoa?

NFL Draft 2020: Should Raiders trade up for Justin Herbert, Tua Tagovailoa?

As the Raiders transition from the Bay Area to Las Vegas, head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock are preparing for what is a vital offseason to their rebuild.

The Raiders have five picks in the first 92, including Nos. 12 and 19 overall, and are slated to have at least $51.8 million in cap room for free agency. 

Before the Raiders can go about patching up their defense or upgrading their offensive weapons, they need to decide what to do at the quarterback position. 

Derek Carr is under contract until 2022, but the Raiders can cut him for minimal loss if they deem it necessary. Rumors have swirled about the Raiders' desire to pursue Tom Brady should he become a free agent, and multiple teams reportedly sense Carr could become available.

The Raiders can go a number of different directions at quarterback as they move to Sin City. While Brady's name gets all the publicity, the Raiders do have two first-round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft which they could package together to move up to select a top-tier quarterback in this year's class. 

Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow already should be buying a house in Cincinnati as he's all but assured to be the selection at No. 1 overall by the Bengals. But what about Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa or Oregon's Justin Herbert? Both signal-callers have high upside and were expected to be the first two quarterbacks off the board before Burrow went and set the country on fire while leading LSU to a national championship.

As the NFL Scouting Combine gets underway, let's take a look at the second and third best quarterbacks in the class and whether or not the Raiders should make a move up the draft board.

Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

If not for the fractured hip he suffered against Mississippi State, Tagovailoa would be right there in the conversation with Burrow for the No. 1 overall pick. As is, the Alabama product got good news from surgeons a few weeks ago, as NFL Network reported his hip has healed and he has good range of motion. He is expected to resume football activities sometime next month if progress continues.

At 100 percent, Tagovailoa was one of the most electric players in college football. He came off the bench to lead Alabama to the 2018 College Football National Championship and rose to stardom not far after. In nine games this past season, Tagovailoa threw for 33 touchdowns and just three interceptions while completing 71.4 percent of his passes and leading the country with a 206.9 efficiency rating. 

Tagovailoa measured at 6-foot even Monday in Indianapolis. While he lacks ideal size and has a tainted injury history, he has a quick release, great feet and a strong arm. He throws from a solid platform and is a great decision-maker in the RPO game. 

To the tape:

His ball placement on slants and corner routes is a thing of beauty,

Improvisation is an underrated aspect of his game.

And the deep ball ...

If Tua is healthy a number of teams will be clamoring to pay a king's ransom to go up and get him.

Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

An NFL scout's dream, Herbert (6-foot-6, 236 pounds) has all the physical tools to be the prototypical NFL quarterback.

He has great mobility and a bazooka for a right arm.

Herbert's issue during his time at Oregon was a lack of consistency, which can partly be blamed on having three different head coaches, three different offensive coordinators and two offensive schemes during his four years in Eugene, Ore. Herbert needs to work on his anticipation, as sometimes he'll wait too long to rip it.

All in all, Herbert has great feet, a massive arm and can be a big factor in the RPO game. He can make some ridiculous throws on the run

There aren't many guys in the NFL who can make this throw.

Herbert starred at the Senior Bowl and no doubt will test through the roof at the Combine. If he nails the interviews with teams, he'll be top-six pick.

[RELATED: Raiders should sign Sanders to revamp receiving corps]\

To trade or not to trade

With two picks in the top 19 and five in the top 92 the Raiders have some ammo to move up in the draft should they deem it necessary. But based on recent NFL history, they would have to pay quite the price tag to jump and take either Tagovailoa or Herbert.

The Raiders have a number of needs and would be better served by keeping their picks and stocking their roster with as much talent as possible. There's no doubt Gruden would love to see Herbert or Tua throwing darts in silver and black, but with Tagovailoa's injury history and Herbert's inconsistency, the Raiders would be wise to hang back and address their other needs.

But if Gruden wants his QB, he just might go get him.

Raiders' Derek Carr just trolling with Khalil Mack post, David Carr says

Raiders' Derek Carr just trolling with Khalil Mack post, David Carr says

It's been another offseason of rumors for Derek Carr.

Despite a solid 2019 campaign in Year 2 under Jon Gruden, whispers of the Raiders' interest in other quarterbacks, notably Tom Brady, have been circulating since the season ended. There also have been rumors the Silver and Black could look to trade Carr this offseason. Carr sent shockwaves of his own across social media earlier this week when he posted a photo of himself and former teammate Khalil Mack on Instagram, sparking speculation he could be headed to the Chicago Bears.

But, according to Carr's brother David, he was just having a little fun with the offseason rumor mill.

“His son’s favorite movie is Trolls. He’s just having fun. It’s the offseason,” David Carr said on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access."

While Derek Carr is used to questions about his job security being a topic of conversation, it appears the veteran quarterback is enjoying stoking the trade flames himself for once. 

But he might also be sending a message to the Raiders that other teams would love for him to be their starting quarterback if they don't.

The Bears, Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and others have been mentioned as possible landing spots for Derek Carr if he is traded. 

As for the Raiders' offseason plans at quarterback, it feels like the smart money is on Carr entering the season as the starter. While the Brady rumors have taken up all the oxygen, it feels like a stretch to suggest that the six-time Super Bowl champion would leave the New England Patriots at this point in his career. Of course, if Brady wants to wear silver and black, the Raiders have to make that happen.

[RELATED: Why Raiders should target Sanders to revamp receiving corps]

It seems likely Carr will take the first snap for the Raiders in Las Vegas with a free-agent acquisition occupying the backup role and looking to take over should Carr not take the next step head coach Jon Gruden wants to see.

If more rumors continue to pop up, don't be surprised to see Carr take to social media with another cryptic post.