Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock entered free agency with a plan, and they executed it to near-perfection.
The Raiders agreed to terms with six defensive players, including linebackers Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski, shoring up what had been a literal black hole for years. With two three-down, playmaking linebackers now in the fold, the Silver and Black could take a different approach to the 2020 NFL Draft than initially presumed.
With the No. 12 and No. 19 picks, many had presumed the Raiders would use the first pick on one of the best wide receivers in a loaded class and the second on the likes of LSU's Patrick Queen or Oklahoma's Kenneth Murray to help fix the linebacking issue. That likely won't be the case now with Littleton and Kwiatkoski in the fold.
The Raiders still are likely to take a receiver with one of their first two selections, but their first-round strategy almost certainly has changed after free agency. Let's take a look at a few ways the Raiders could attack the first round, with linebacking needs now on the backburner.
Draft CeeDee Lamb (duh) and go corner at No. 19
If I were a betting man, and I am, I'd still put money on the Raiders selecting either Oklahoma's CeeDee Lamb or Alabama's Jerry Jeudy at No. 12. Lamb is more of a threat with the ball in his hands, a tenacious competitor and he has the speed to be a deep vertical threat at the next level. Jeudy is the most-polished receiver of the class and likely will settle in as a slot guy at the next level.
Either way, the Raiders can't lose. But if Lamb is on the board, they should sprint to turn in the card with his name on it.
After addressing the offense with their first pick, the Raiders go back to defense and get defensive coordinator Paul Guenther another athlete for his new-look defense. The Raiders have Trayvon Mullen, a blossoming star at one corner, and took swings at Byron Jones and Chris Harris in free agency before missing out. They ultimately agreed to a deal with Eli Apple, but don't pencil him into the other starting corner spot.
While Ohio State's Jeff Okudah will be long gone by No. 19, the Raiders could look at LSU's Kristian Fulton, Florida's C.J. Henderson or Clemson's A.J. Terrell to form a young duo with Mullen.
There are some concerns about Fulton's size and speed, but the LSU product gave up only 48 catches over the past two seasons while notching 20 pass breakups.
Henderson is a gifted athlete and the second-best man cover corner in the class after Okudah. He has shown a tendency to not be physical with receivers, which has led to some big plays.
As for Terrell, the last time we saw him he was having an awful game against LSU in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. That's going to happen against the likes of Ja'Marr Chase. Contrast that with the 2019 title game when Terrell was all over Alabama's DeVonta Smith Jr. and you can see why the Raiders might like him. He's long, rangy, athletic and comes from a culture the Raiders love to farm from.
Get big Kinlaw energy early and see which receiver falls
It seems unlikely the Raiders don't draft a receiver at No. 12. If South Carolina's Javon Kinlaw still is available, however, I could see the Raiders locking him down and further cementing their defensive line. Kinlaw is an absolute monster on the interior at 6-foot-6, 310 pounds. He's long, explosive and powerful. Kinlaw needs to play with a consistent motor, but you have to think Guenther would love to add him to the DL rotation.
If the Raiders do snap up Kinlaw at No. 12, they'll be hoping Alabama's Henry Ruggs falls to No. 19. Since that's pretty unlikely given the 4.27 40 Ruggs blazed at the NFL Scouting Combine, the Raiders will be left to choose between LSU's Justin Jefferson, Clemson's Tee Higgins, Colorado's Laviska Shenault and Baylor's Denzel Mims, who also was a combine star.
Adding Kinlaw and Jefferson would get top marks across the board.
Gruden gets his toys
The Raiders' defense just got loads better in free agency, so it's time to get Derek Carr, Marcus Mariota or the QB of the future (more on that in a minute) some weapons.
Not only do the Raiders draft Lamb at No. 12, but they go back to the well at No. 19 and take Jefferson, giving the Raiders two dynamic playmakers who can operate from anywhere on the field.
Look, we reeeeeeeallllllly like Jalen Hurts
It's no secret the Raiders like Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts. He has a lot of skills that would make him a great quarterback in the modern NFL. Hurts has great pocket awareness, can beat you with his legs, is good in the RPO game and has a strong arm. The footwork and delivery have to be cleaned up, but it looks like he's already working on that based on his combine and pro day results.
With Hurts shooting up draft boards, could the Raiders take Lamb at No. 12 and their potential QB of the future at No. 19? It would be a huge gamble, but they could feel compelled to make that move if they like Hurts, considering they have zero second-round picks.
But I'd call it unlikely.
The Raiders also still need to address the safety spot opposite Johnathan Abram, but unless they like LSU's Grant Delpit, that doesn't seem like an option in the first round.
The additions of Littleton and Kwiatkoski has changed the look of the Raiders' defense, and likely their draft plans. As someone who wasn't sold on Queen's meteoric rise up the boards or Murray's ability to cover tight ends, I'd say this is the best-case scenario for the Silver and Black.
Now, Mayock and Gruden can draft two elite players without having to gamble on one based solely on need.