The Raiders can take their first steps into the future beginning Thursday.
That's because they'll have three selections in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The Silver and Black finished 4-12 a season ago, and have plenty of holes to fill on their roster.
They'll have the opportunity to do so early in Mike Mayock's first draft as Raiders general manager, as they currently have more first-round picks than any other team in the league. That's the upside of trading former first-round picks Khalil Mack (Chicago Bears) and Amari Cooper (Dallas Cowboys), making the bitter pill of seeing both play instrumental roles as in their new teams' respective playoff pushes.
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The Raiders need plenty of help on both sides of the ball, but where do they begin in the second draft of the second Jon Gruden era? Here's what experts from around the country are projecting in their mock drafts, starting with our own Scott Bair and Matt Maiocco.
Scott Bair and Matt Maiocco, NBC Sports Bay Area
No. 4: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
No. 24: Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
No. 27: Rock Ya-sin, CB, Temple
What Bair said on Oliver: "This likely becomes a trade-down scenario for the Silver and Black, but they should be content to take a versatile, dynamic defensive lineman with interior pass-rush ability that teams covet. Oliver has drawn Aaron Donald comparisons, and the Raiders would be thrilled to add a talent who can create havoc from several different techniques up front even if he doesn’t reach Donald-like heights."
What Bair said on Jacobs: "Jacobs is the best running back in this draft, a do-it-all talent who should fit well in Jon Gruden’s offense. He’s a solid interior runner and receiver, with a willingness to protect the passer."
What Bair said on Ya-sin: "He’s physical, competitive as heck and makes plays on the ball. That’s a fit for what the Raiders want in the secondary."
Peter King, NBC Sports
No. 4 overall: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
No. 21 overall (Oakland trades Nos. 24 and 106 to Seattle): Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
No. 27 overall: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
What King said on Williams: "Since the Raiders have a crying need at tackle—their top-rated DT was not in the top 50 of the 2018 Pro Football Focus DT rankings—Jon Gruden, who has ultimate say in Oakland, will greenlight this pick, and GM Mike Mayock gladly will take Williams here as the first pick of his NFL GM career."
What King said on Jacobs: "The Raiders would have to move only three spots ahead to make it happen, and probably wouldn’t have to denude its mid-round picks to do so. ... I met with Jacobs last week, by the way. Delightful fellow. Hungry to be a great NFL player, and he’s a versatile back too. Jon Gruden could turn him into a 1,700-total-yard back as a rookie."
What King said on Baker: "Touchdowns allowed in coverage over his last two college seasons: zero. He might drive defensive coordinator Paul Guenther crazy with his practice habits, but his game production, at least in college, made up for that."
The Washington Post
No. 4: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
No. 24: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
No. 27: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
What they said on Oliver: "The Raiders could opt to take Josh Allen to improve their edge rush, but Oliver is too intriguing as an Aaron Donald-like disruptive force in the middle of their defensive line."
What they said on: "Jon Gruden would be able to allow Haskins some time to adjust to the NFL, given the presence of incumbent starter Derek Carr."
What they said on Fant: "They need a tight end to replace Pro Bowl selection Jared Cook, and the combination of Ed Oliver, Dwayne Haskins and Fant would represent an A-plus first round for Oakland."
No. 4: Ed Oliver, Houston, DT
No. 24: Josh Jacobs, Alabama, RB
No. 27: Darryl Savage, Maryland, S
What they're saying on Oliver: "It wouldn't shock me if [Ohio State quarterback] Dwayne Haskins is the pick, but the Raiders are desperate for pass-rush help and Oliver can help them in that area."
What they're saying on Jacobs: "The question is, do they take Jacobs here or do they wait and find a back in the middle rounds, where there's still value?"
What they're saying on Savage: "There are a bunch of teams picking late in the first round that are looking at safeties, and I think Savage will find his home in this range."
No. 4: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
No. 24: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
No. 27: Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State
What they're saying on Quinnen Williams: "Jon Gruden’s D produced a meager 13 sacks last season (next lowest team total was 30), and in Williams they get a guy who could be the next Aaron Donald."
What they're saying on Greedy Williams: "The one knock on Williams is he likes to avoid contact. But you know Jon “Chucky” Gruden thinks he can coach toughness into somebody, right?"
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What they're saying on Campbell: "Oakland’s third first-round pick was gotten from Dallas in the Amari Cooper trade. Fittingly, they target that same position here with a guy whose sprinter’s speed, big-play potential and return ability make him a sleeper prize."