Raiders seven-round NFL mock draft: Projected picks in each round
First round (No. 4 overall) Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
The Raiders like Williams a great deal, as they should. He’s a disruptive force on the interior against the run and pass. He’s slippery and smart, with great work ethic, drive and zero red flags. There’s no need to trade out of this pick if Williams is sitting there at No. 4.
That remains a big if, considering he could go anywhere in the top 3. He falls here with Kyler Murray delaying his selection some up top. He doesn’t rush off the edge and fill the team’s greatest need, but he checks every box. The Raiders rest Thursday night believing they got the NFL draft’s best player with the fourth pick.
First round (No. 24 overall) Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
The Raiders have kept a close eye on Jacobs during the pre-draft process, sending position coach Kirby Wilson to Alabama’s Pro Day. Jacobs can do most everything, with power, agility and balance to make him productive in Gruden’s scheme as a runner and receiver. They have to get Jacobs now, for fear the Philadelphia Eagles or Indianapolis Colts will take him before they pick again at No. 27. They do, and land a feature back for the present and future.
First round (No. 27 overall) Montez Sweat, edge rusher, Mississippi State
The Raiders stop Sweat’s fall down the draft board before exiting the first round. His heart condition has some teams taking him off their boards entirely, causing him to drop from top 10 status earned with a stellar Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine.
This is not a report that the Raiders are comfortable with Sweat’s medicals. That remains uncertain. They took a chance drafting Maurice Hurst last year after a heart issue, but that came in the fifth round. The Raiders jump on the opportunity to take a premier talent at this stage of the first round, someone who hasn’t missed a snap due to his heart issue and was allowed to work out at the combine without being diagnosed. They also overlook some red flags to land a player who can help pressure the quarterback right away. Sweat might be a bit much if Mayock is really risk-averse, but talent and value are too high at this stage.
Second round (No. 35 overall) Chris Lindstrom, G, Boston College
The Raiders surely need another edge rusher, someone for the strong side, and might want to trade down to get someone like TCU’s L.J. Collier. But there are no trades in this universe so the Raiders take a top interior offensive lineman.
Lindstrom is nasty, technically sound and could complete the Raiders’ offensive line remodel and return the front to former glory. Odds are great Lindstrom is gone by this pick, so they’ve got Kansas State’s Dalton Risner as an excellent Plan B.
Fourth round (No. 106 overall) Anthony Nelson, DE, Iowa
The Raiders find great size and play strength in this round from Nelson, who stands 6-foot-7 and 271 pounds with a frame to add more bulk if required. He’s the type of player who could play opposite Sweat, and develop into a three-down player with proper development in pass-rush technique.
Nelson’s the third addition to the front seven in five picks, a required surge for a team deficient in that area. He should fit well in the Raiders' scheme and could thrive here with good coaching he’ll get from Brenston Buckner.
Fifth round (No. 140 overall) Mike Edwards, S, Kentucky
The Raiders could use a versatile piece in the defensive backfield, and Edwards can play safety and move down into the slot. The team needs backups at both spots, and he could learn such a hybrid role from Lamarcus Joyner, who has that role mastered.
He’s a bigger player with ball skills and should offer great value and depth at this spot.
Raiders secondary coach Jim O’Neil was in Lexington for Kentucky’s Pro Day – the Wildcats have a few NFL-ready defensive backs – so he knows Edwards well. He wouldn’t need to step in and play well right away, allowing time to develop behind Joyner and Karl Joseph in the back.
Seventh round (No. 218 overall) Caleb Wilson, TE, UCLA
The Raiders didn’t grab a tight end earlier like they’d prefer, so they snag a receiving tight end option late and hope he can find a role in a deep position group. Darren Waller would have pole position to play significant snaps in the passing game and finally live up to his tremendous potential.
Wilson has work to do and must be better with the ball in the air, but there’s talent here that could be developed into a productive member of a position group.
Seventh round (No. 235 overall) Byron Cowart, DE, Maryland
This is the spot to take a flier on a former five-star prep recruit who didn’t pan out in college. He’s built like an NFL defensive lineman, and has requisite strength and power, but analysts say he lacks burst and consistency. This deep in the draft, a project with tools who could develop into a rotational player would be welcome for a team desperately needing options rushing the passer inside and out.