Raiders seven-round NFL mock draft: Projecting each 2020 pick
First Round -- No. 12 overall: WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
I’ve written a ton about how Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb is my favorite receiver in this class. I have debated that the Raiders should think hard about taking a cornerback, namely, Florida’s C.J. Henderson, at this spot. I believe both of those guys will be off the board before the Raiders pick.
Jerry Jeudy remains an excellent selection worthy of this draft slot and someone who can step right in as the Raiders’ top receiver. You’ve already read a ton about his strengths during the pre-draft process, but the fact he can run precise routes, play anywhere on the field and create separation at any level means he’ll fit perfectly into Jon Gruden’s offensive scheme.
He’s good in traffic, desperately wants to win and can perform at all three levels. He’s used to pro-style routes, which should ease his transition to the NFL and make the Raiders offense truly dynamic in a snap.
First Round -- No. 28 overall: DT Ross Blacklock, TCU
TRADE: Raiders give No. 19 and No. 121 to Baltimore for No. 28 and No. 60)
A few things before we get to Blacklock: The Raiders didn’t have a pick between Nos. 19 and 80, so dropping down a bit is worth picking up a second-round pick they didn’t previously have. The Ravens jump up here to take Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray, filling a need with the best off-the-ball linebacker this side of Isaiah Simmons. They can afford to part with No. 60 because they still own a pick at No. 55. There’s no natural value at a Raiders position of need expected to fit here, so a move down from No. 19 is especially prudent.
There will be cornerbacks available at No. 28, but Blacklock’s the better value at a premium position. He’s an explosive interior pass rusher with the athleticism and skill to be a dynamic presence at three technique. Maliek Collins is just 24 years old but is playing on a one-year deal, so Blacklock would have some time to develop and earn a top spot. If he makes an instant impact, he and Collins should form a dominant interior force on passing downs.
Second Round -- No. 60 overall: CB Damon Arnette, Ohio State
Here’s the cornerback you all were looking for, maybe a little later than you’d expect. The Raiders still get an aggressive, press-man cornerback who showed great improvement after going back to school for his senior season. He viciously defends the run and has all the traits required to stick on receivers like glue, though his ball skills need work. He was heavily penalized as a junior but improved in that area and has reportedly matured as a player and a person.
Arnette might not be viewed as the true plug-and-play cornerback the Raiders need, but he’s confident and talented and brings swagger to a secondary. He and 2019 fourth-round pick Isaiah Johnson can battle for the starting spot, or the Raiders can sign a veteran post-draft if they want a more experienced backup plan. There are a few good ones still on the market.
Third Round -- No. 80 overall: Malik Harrison, Ohio State
The Raiders spent a ton on Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski in free agency and seem set at linebacker, but they could improve their depth and be a fierce run defender right away on the strong side. He played on a weak side in college but could play anywhere and offer excellent support on early downs as a sure tackler and disciplined defender. He would provide solid injury protection and make the linebacker corps strong as a rock.
Third Round -- No. 81: RB Zack Moss, Utah
The Raiders need a quality backup option behind Josh Jacobs, preferably with a different rushing style. Moss and Jacobs can do similar things are built the same, though neither is a lightweight in the 220-pound range, but that shouldn’t deter the Raiders from taking someone so steadily productive in college. Moss has the toughness and competitiveness to produce at the NFL level. He has had some durability issues, but a lessened carry count as a backup should ease the burden on his body. Analysts say he’s a good inside zone runner, which would fit in well with the Raiders diverse blocking scheme.
Jacobs was excellent and could play through pain as the featured runner. He’ll remain the No. 1 back, but the Raiders run game should be better with another talented ball carrier to help lighten his load and keep everyone in the backfield fresher.
Third Round -- No. 91 overall: WR Bryan Edwards, South Carolina
The Raiders add another receiver to the position group, a smooth route runner who knows how to get open and make tough catches. He has had some issues with drops, but someone of his talent and skill set is an excellent value at this point in the third round.
This selection comes with some risk during this unique pre-draft process. He suffered a broken foot preparing for the NFL Scouting Combine and hasn’t been able to be examined by teams since due to travel restrictions over the coronavirus pandemic, which eliminated pre-draft visits and a combine medical re-check.
His camp has sent updated scan images to teams and, if the Raiders feel confident Edwards is on the mend, they should snatch up a quality receiver who likely would’ve gone earlier had he not gotten hurt.
Fifth Round -- No. 159: EDGE Jonathan Garvin, Miami
Garvin has the size, bend and agility to be an excellent NFL pass rusher. Inconsistency has driven him down the draft board, though there’s plenty of potential just beneath the surface. Raiders defensive line coach Rod Marinelli is one of the best in his field and could work on a developmental prospect with great upside at just 20 years old.
The Raiders can afford to wait on his impact with Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell and new signing Carl Nassib in the fold. He’s 6-foot-4, 263 pounds and is a fit as a 4-3 defensive end. If he can get stronger and more technically savvy, we could look back at this as a draft steal.