The Raiders were widely panned Thursday when they selected Alabama offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood in the first round (No. 17 overall), as many figured he was a reach would still have been available on Day 2.
But general manager Mike Mayock was praised Friday for trading up with the 49ers five spots to No. 43 overall in the second round, before picking TCU safety Trevon Moehrig.
So … why did Moehrig fall so far on so many teams’ boards?
According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, Moehrig might have some injury concerns with his back.
Still, Moehrig’s ball skills and athleticism are elite, especially for a second-round prospect. Listed at 6-foot-2 and 202 pounds, Moehrig racked up 125 tackles, seven interceptions and 21 passes defensed while playing in 34 of a possible 35 college games over three seasons.
Moehrig figures to take over the starting free safety spot this fall and line up alongside strong safety Johnathan Abram. The Raiders could use some help in the secondary after ranking 26th in passing yards allowed (264.4 yards per game) last season.
Moehrig’s back problems might be cause for concern, but Mayock appears to have locked in one of the best available players at that point of the draft. Most mock drafts projected Moehrig to be selected in the latter half of the first round.
If Moehrig was picked No. 17 and Leatherwood was picked No. 43, the Raiders' draft might have made more sense to pundits and fans. But the end result is just the same.
With their first two picks, the Raiders have addressed two of their biggest areas of need. Assuming Moehrig doesn’t have lingering back problems, though, he could be viewed as one of the biggest steals of the second round if he produces as expected. Moehrig can be the ballhawk that the Raiders have been looking for.