Raiders

Raiders

There's no need to mince words. The 2019 NFL Draft could be a franchise-altering event for the Raiders. 

By virtue of the Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper trades, the Silver and Black will have four picks in the top 35 of this year's draft. With Paul Guenther's defense needing some help, especially on the edge, head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock have the opportunity to build the foundation of a Super Bowl contender in a few weeks.

With the draft less than a month away, ESPN draft analysts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay released their first two-round mock draft Wednesday, and needless to say, they've got the Raiders selecting some game-changing prospects.

So, let's get into it. Here's who Kiper and McShay have the Raiders selecting with their first four picks:

No. 4: Kiper/McShay -- Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

What Kiper is saying: "Williams is the type of defensive playmaker Jon Gruden loves, and you have to think the Raiders coach would be thrilled if he made it to No. 4."

What McShay is saying: "Could the Raiders think about a quarterback here? Gruden got to see Drew Lock up close at the Senior Bowl. But let's not forget that this team badly needs defensive line help. Williams had 19.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks last season."

 

Analysis: What more can be said about Williams? He's a total game-changer on the defensive side of the ball. His ability to rush the passer will be a huge asset in today's pass-happy NFL. If he's available, the Raiders can't say no. 

No. 24: Kiper -- Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

What Kiper is saying: "Oakland needs a No.1 back, and Jacobs is the best -- and most versatile RB -- in this class."

Analysis: The Raiders spent money on the offensive side of the ball this offseason, but they still have a noticeable hole at running back. Jacobs is a hard-nosed runner and dynamic weapon in the passing game.

McShay -- Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

What McShay is saying: "The Raiders need a lot of things, but they need a corner. Murphy's ball skills would be welcomed with open arms."

Analysis: Murphy has tremendous instincts and a knack for the ball. While he's a bit undersized, he has the intelligence, toughness and quickness to be a starting corner.

No. 27: Kiper -- Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

What Kiper is saying: "The cornerback spot opposite Gareon Conley is wide-open. There could be a run on corners at the end of Round 1."

Analysis: Baker showed he has the ability to be a good man-to-man cover corner while playing in the SEC at  Georgia. Despite his smaller frame, Baker has the ball skills and instincts you want out of a first-round corner. He would be a great get for Guenther's defense.

McShay -- Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

What McShay is saying: "It took three extra picks, but I also have Jacobs heading to the Bay. He hits holes hard and would pair nicely with Isaiah Crowell in a revamped running game."

No. 35: Kiper -- Jaylon Ferguson, DE, Louisiana Tech

What Kiper is saying: "Let's recap the Raiders' four picks in the top 35: a dominant defensive tackle at No, 4; the draft's best running back at No. 24; a starting corner at No. 27; and the NCAA's career sack leader (45) at No. 35."

Analysis: The Raiders desperately need bodies at edge rusher, and Ferguson has an NFL frame and great instincts as a pass rusher.

McShay -- L.J. Collier, DE, TCU

What McShay is saying: "These guys are picking again? Let's address the edge now with Collier after a significant first round."

Analysis: Collier didn't start any games during his first four years at TCU. But he got the starting nod in 10 of 11 games in 2018, tallying 42 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and six sacks in his redshirt senior season. He could develop into a solid power rusher off the edge.

[RELATED: Where Raiders' defense stands as NFL draft approaches]

With four picks in the first 35 selections, the Raiders have the ability to rebuild fast. If they can draft Williams and Jacobs -- the top interior defensive lineman and running back in the class -- along with a starting corner and an edge rusher, the Raiders will have made the most out of what could be a very fruitful draft for the Silver and Black.