NFL mock draft 2019: How Jon Gruden, Mike Mayock could use Raiders' picks


NFL mock draft 2019: How Jon Gruden, Mike Mayock could use Raiders' picks

The Raiders are moving ever closer to their most important NFL draft in recent memory. It will reset this Raiders roster thanks to four selections in the top 35 and three in the first round.

That’s where the Silver and Black will reap rewards for trading Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper and, of course, earning the fourth overall pick by playing terrible football.

Mock drafts are continually updated these days, with some top analysts offering their first mock while others alter initial projections. Let’s take a look at four quality sources and see which guys they see the Raiders taking in the first round:

Will Brinson, CBS Sports
No. 4:
DE Rashan Gary, Michigan
No. 24 (via Chicago): WR Kelvin Harmon, N.C. State
No. 27 (via Dallas): TE Noah Fant, Iowa

What was said about Gary: “The Raiders need to get defensive help with their first pick if they're not sold on a quarterback and Gary can give them a physical presence on the defensive line, where they badly need to reload after trading Khalil Mack.”

What was said about Harmon: “Trading away Amari Cooper and losing Martavis Bryant and leaning on Jordy Nelson is not sustainable to help Derek Carr. The Raiders need to get him a weapon and Harmon would be a great fit in Jon Gruden's offense; he's the type of receiver who can move the chains and also body up dudes down the field.”

What was said about Fant: “The Raiders walking out of the draft with a top tier defensive lineman, a top tier wideout and a top tier tight end? That would be a pretty incredible haul for Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock. They'd land high on the grades list and on most "winners" list for the draft (having three first-round picks makes that easy but whatever).”

Chad Reuter,
No. 4:
DE Rashan Gary, Michigan
No. 24 (via Chicago): CB DeAndre Baker, Georgia
No. 27 (via Dallas): S Nasir Adderley, Delaware

What was said about Gary: “The Raiders have to address their pass rush -- they recorded a league-low 13 sacks in 2018 after trading Khalil Mack.”

What was said about Baker: “Free agency could leave the cupboard pretty bare for Oakland at cornerback, so Baker lands here to fill the void.”

What was said about Adderley: “Adderley's toughness and coverage skills are earning him first-round grades.”

Michael Renner, Pro Football Focus
No. 4: 
DE/OLB Josh Allen, Kentucky
No. 24 (via Chicago): DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson
No. 27 (via Dallas): CB Amani Oruwariye, Penn State

What was said about Allen: “Everyone and their mother knows the Raiders need an edge and Allen led all college edge defenders in overall grade this past season.”

What was said about Williams: “Wilkins had far and away the best season of his career in 2018, but he’ll turn 24 already as a rookie. The Raiders at the moment can use all the NFL-ready talent they can get.”

What was said about Oruwariye: “Oruwariye had the best week of any corner at the Senior Bowl earning the highest win rate during the 1-on-1s. He’s an incredibly smooth athlete for being 6-foot-1 with 32-inch arms that likely moved up some boards.”

Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports
No. 4: 
DL Quinnen Williams, Alabama
No. 24 (via Chicago): DE Jachai Polite, Florida
No. 27 (via Dallas): LB Mack Wilson, Alabama

What was said about Williams: “Quinnen Williams could end up being the best player in this draft class. He was dominant last season for Alabama after sitting behind Da'Ron Payne (a Redskins first-rounder last spring) in 2017. The Raiders desperately need an edge rusher but Williams' ability to regularly bring pressure up the middle makes him hard to pass up here.”

What was said about Polite: “Polite, who had a breakout season at Florida, has an explosive first step and off-the-chart physical abilities. His knack for getting in the backfield was unrivaled at times this fall, and he'll give Jon Gruden a much-needed legit pass-rushing threat off the edge.”

[RELATED: Breaking down early Raiders seven-round forecast]

What was said about Wilson: “The Raiders defense needs help everywhere and Wilson is coming off a great season with the Crimson Tide and possesses the skills NFL teams look for in their linebackers these days: Sideline-to-sideline speed, ability to cover athletic tight ends, and a high IQ. Wilson stands out in all these areas.”

Source: Curtis Riley agrees to contract with Raiders to help secondary

Source: Curtis Riley agrees to contract with Raiders to help secondary

The Raiders continued fleshing out their secondary on Friday agreeing on terms of a contract with safety Curtis Riley, a source said. The former New York Giant visited the team’s Alameda facility on Thursday and left without a deal, but he ended up taking the Raiders offer despite interest from other teams.

Riley hinted at a pact on Twitter, saying he was coming to the Bay Area. He’ll exchange coasts after starting all 16 games at free safety with last year’s Giants. He had 75 tackles, four interceptions and five pass breakups for that squad.

He’ll have an opportunity to play significant snaps in the Raiders secondary. High-priced free-agent signing Lamarcus Joyner is also a free safety but is expected to play slot cornerback regularly in 2019, likely shuttling back and forth between positions.

Riley could step in as the free safety in sub packages that defenses spend significant time in nowadays. Erik Harris will compete for that role opposite strong safety Karl Joseph.

The Raiders have options in the secondary now, with the aforementioned safeties and depth at cornerback. Gareon Conley’s a virtual lock to start at one outside cornerback spot. Daryl Worley’s expected to return on a second-round free-agent tender, through Thursday’s signing Nevin Lawson will compete for time there as well. Last year’s fourth-round pick Nick Nelson will have to fight for time with this new defensive back depth chart.

The Raiders could well draft another defensive back as well, especially if a good one slips and becomes a great value pick.

[RELATED: Mayock explains the importance of pro day tour]

News of Riley’s agreement should excite quarterback Derek Carr. Riley’s a fellow Fresno State alum and was teammates with Carr in 2013.

The Raiders also had interest in George Iloka, who played with defensive coordinator Paul Guenther in Cincinnati. Iloka visited the Raiders complex Thursday but left without a deal and scheduled other visits. 

How Jordan Devey signing gives Raiders versatile offensive line depth

How Jordan Devey signing gives Raiders versatile offensive line depth

The Raiders hope Rodney Hudson plays every single offensive snap in 2019. He might be the league’s best center, and is the unquestioned leader along the offensive front.

They need a Plan B, even if they never hope to use it. Jon Feliciano was the primary reserve at guard and center, leaving a void upon signing with the Buffalo Bills.

Jordan Devey will fill it. The former Kansas City Chief signed a one-year contract with the Raiders on Thursday, the team announced, adding depth and versatility to an overhauled front.

Devey spent parts of five NFL seasons with New England, the 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs, primarily as a reserve guard. He played more center over the past two seasons, and has some tackle work on his resume. Devey finished last season on injured reserve with a pectoral issue

Offensive line coach Tom Cable prizes versatility, especially with a need on the inside. Second-year pro Brandon Parker is expected to be a swing tackle.

Kolton Miller and Trent Brown will be starting tackles, with Hudson at center. Gabe Jackson and Denzelle Good look like starting guards at this time.

[RELATED: Raiders GM Mike Mayock explains the value of important pro day tour]

Devey was clean cut Thursday when signing with the Raiders, but he rocked a pretty serious mullet last season in Kansas City.