The Raiders will be the NFL draft’s main attraction on Thursday night. They have three first-round draft picks available for use as scheduled or in trades up or down the draft board.
That trio isn’t the only valued piece of the Raiders’ cache. They also own the No. 35 overall pick, coming just three picks into the second round, where the Raiders can select someone considered a top talent.
They don’t have another pick slated for the draft’s second day, though general manager Mike Mayock said he wouldn’t mind getting back into the Day 2 action with an early trade down to accumulate more picks.
“I just think we have a lot of holes that need to be filled,” Mayock said at his pre-draft presser. “I think that’s a really good place to go fishing. If we can, we can.”
That attempt won’t happen until later. Right now there’s only one pick earmarked for the Raiders at No. 35. Let’s take a closer look at five players who might fit the Raiders at that spot, where you’ll see several guys the Raiders are familiar with after working with them at the Senior Bowl.
OG Chris Lindstrom, Boston College
This might be a great place to grab an offensive guard, one that could play right away and complete an offensive line restructure. There’s a hole at one guard spot with Kelechi Osemele traded to the New York Jets. The side will depend on whether Gabe Jackson stays on the right or returns to a left guard spot he has manned most of his athletic life.
Lindstrom is a good one, a nasty player and athlete who can stand in and protect or make downfield blocks in space. He might be gone at this stage, but he would be a welcome addition at No. 35 and add security to the interior offensive line that was a team strength in recent seasons.
OL Dalton Risner, Kansas State
Like Lindstrom, Risner impressed the Raiders during Senior Bowl week. He’s tenacious, tough, coachable and versatile, a trait the Raiders prize. He could compete to play inside right away, and become an option outside if that’s required down the line. He has played center as well, giving the Raiders plenty of options to find quality starters and backups at each spot. Risner has a mean streak that would be a welcome drive no matter where he played.
DE L.J. Collier, TCU
Catching a Senior Bowl theme here? It’s pretty obvious at this stage. While that college all-star game didn’t have elite prospects, there were plenty worthy of selection in this second-round range. Collier might fit a small trade down from No. 35, he’s a scheme fit at end and could be a solid backup plan on the strong side if there’s a massive run on edge rushers in the first round. He could even be an option if the Raiders get one early, especially an athletic type better suited for the other side. Collier is a strong, nasty bull rusher who could fit into a rotation early and grow with quality coaching a development.
S Darnell Savage, Maryland
Savage is another player the Raiders liked coming into the Senior Bowl. They left with a higher opinion of him. Analysts have called him a Lamarcus Joyner clone, and they could use someone like him to work in when Joyner moves to the slot. He could back Joyner up inside as well or even compete with Karl Joseph to play next to him in time. Savage is a smart, yet aggressive player with good vision – and he ran a 4.36 40-yard dash -- who could fit into a secondary in need of one more key component.
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CB Justin Layne, Michigan State
This is a prospect Mayock may be able to grab later in the round, but since they don’t have another draft pick until the fourth round, the Raiders GM takes a player he likes at the spot where he has a selection to grab him. He has a good feel for what receivers are trying to do, and has solid ball skills to make plays downfield.