A.J. Terrell

NFL Draft 2020: Mapping out Raiders' ideal A-plus class round-by-round

NFL Draft 2020: Mapping out Raiders' ideal A-plus class round-by-round

In a little over 24 hours, the Raiders will be on the clock in the 2020 NFL Draft.

We know that general manager Mike Mayock and coach Jon Gruden are positioned to hit another home run. The Silver and Black own two first-round picks, three third-round selections and have the ammunition needed to acquire a second-round pick which they undoubtedly covet.

The needs -- wide receiver, cornerback, defensive tackle and running back -- have been thoroughly discussed and the draft options analyzed. The Raider sare prepared to avoid any technical mishaps come draft day, as the virtual even could add a new wrinkle to the affair.

On Tuesday, we looked at what a worst-case scenario draft might look like for the Raiders. It was filled with gaffes, misses, reaches and one hit. But now let's talk about the other side.

After all, student and NFL organizations do have one thing in common: They both love to get an A and stick it on a fridge.

To be clear, this is not a mock. Raiders insider Scott Bair has conducted a Raiders seven-round mock and Dalton Johnson and I have predicted the entire first round

Instead, here are eight prospects that I believe would create the perfect 2020 draft class for the Raiders, complete with alternative options and stay-aways. 

First round (No. 12 overall) -- CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

Lamb can do it all and he would be the perfect weapon for Gruden's offense.

The Oklahoma product is a monster after the catch. He's a tough, hard-nosed runner who can make anyone miss and turn a 5-yard slant into a 65-yard touchdown.

He's got strong hands, elite body control and his contested-catch ability is off the charts. Mayock reportedly "loves" Lamb and believes he's the top receiver in the draft. With a few teams looking to move up to nab a top wideout, the Raiders might have to get lucky to have Lamb fall in their lap, but he would be the perfect start to their 2020 class.

Other A options: WR Jerry Jeudy, CB CJ Henderson
We'll accept it: WR Henry Ruggs
Try again: Trading down
Possible sliding star: DT Derrick Brown

First Round (No. 19 overall) -- A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson (trade down)

The Raiders need to find a second-round pick and No. 19 is the perfect spot to trade down and recoup much-needed draft capital.

I went over a few possible trade down scenarios here, of which, there might not be a lot. But the Baltimore Ravens -- who own the No. 28 pick and the No. 55 pick -- could be the perfect trade partner. Baltimore has a big need at linebacker and No. 19 is exactly the spot where most mocks have Kenneth Murray and Patrick Queen starting to hear their name called.

Mayock executing a trade down should allow him to still have his pick of a few second-tier corners and pick up the desired capital.

Assuming LSU's Kristian Fulton is off the board before No. 28, the Raiders should call up Trayvon Mullen and tell him his secondary mate at Clemson, A.J. Terrell, is coming to Las Vegas. Terrell is long, rangy, is great with his hands and has played well on the biggest stages (2020 College Football Playoff National Championship Game aside).

Terrell was glued to the hip of Alabama star DeVonta Smith Jr. in the 2019 title game and his pick-six was the start of Clemson's blowout of Alabama. I think I like Fulton's fit a little more, but I expect him to be gone and Terrell is NFL ready.

Other A options: CB Fulton (if available), CB Jaylon Johnson
We'll accept it: DT Ross Blacklock, CB Jeff Gladney
Try again: WR Denzel Mims, WR Laviska Shenault, QB Jordan Love, EDGE AJ Epenesa

Second round (No. 55 overall) -- Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame

Since we're gunning for that A-plus, let's assume Mayock pulls off the trade with the Ravens and lands the No. 55 pick.

There the pick should be clear. The Raiders already added a No. 1 wide receiver in Lamb, and now they complete their offensive re-tooling by getting a versatile, touchdown monster.

Claypool's measurables are well known. He's 6-foot-4, 238 pounds and ran a 4.42 40 time at the combine. The route-running needs a little work, but he can play outside as a stretch the field weapon or be moved inside as a big-body slot receiver to move the chains. His size and ability to high-point footballs also would give the Raiders a much-needed red-zone weapon.

Other A options: DT Neville Gallimore, DL Marlon Davidson, WR Michael Pittman Jr., CB Damon Arnette, S Antione Winfield Jr.
We'll accept it: WR KJ Hamler, S Grant Delpit, WR Jalen Raegor, RB, D'Andre Swift, DL Justin Madubuike
Try again: CB Noah Igbinoghene, EDGE Terrell Lewis, DL Jordan Elliott, LB Zach Baun

Listen and subscribe to the Raiders Talk Podcast

Third round (No. 80 and 81 overall) -- Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama & Zach Moss, RB, Utah

Check another pressing need off the list.

Davis was seen as a first-round draft pick after his sophomore season, but his production tailed off a bit in Tuscaloosa. Still, at 6-foot-7, 327 pounds, he's got the strength, power and length to be a run-stopping force immediately. Davis will need work on his pass-rushing moves, but he would be a great addition to the Raiders' D-line.

Josh Jacobs carried a heavy load during his rookie season. He's up for the task, but lightening the load wouldn't be such an awful idea.

With the top three needs well taken care of, the Raiders select Utah running back Zach Moss. He's a similar back to Jacobs, which means he can slide in and Gruden won't have to miss a beat play-calling wise when Jacobs needs a breather.

Moss has great vision excels at making people miss and is no stranger to contact.

Other A options: DT Davon Hamilton, LB Malik Harrison
We'll accept it: OL John Simpson, WR Van Jefferson, EDGE Curtis Weaver
Try again: EDGE Jabari Zuniga

Third round (No. 91 overall) -- Troy Dye, LB, Oregon

With running back and defensive tackle taken care of, the Raiders grab an athletic linebacker who is tough as nails and will thrive in coverage and in space. Dye needs to get bigger and stronger, but he should be able to develop into a plus-starter at the NFL level.

Immediately he can help on special teams and be a good depth piece.

He also has a nose for the football.

Other A options: WR Bryan Edwards
We'll accept it: CB Amik Robertson
Try again: LB Logan Wilson

[RELATED: Claypool leads best Raiders Day 2 fits]

Fourth and Fifth rounds -- K'Von Wallace, S Clemson & Saahdiq Charles, OT/G, LSU

The Raiders round out the perfect draft by addressing two semi-needs with talented players from winning programs.

Wallack joins Mullen and Terrell in what is quickly becoming an all-Clemson secondary. He profiles as a slot corner at the NFL level but can play safety in a pinch. His man coverage ability isn't top-notch but he won't be asked to start right away. He can contribute on special teams and be a solid depth piece.

As for Charles, he's got the size and bend to become a starter at the NFL level. At 6-foot, 327 pounds, he has quick feet and has a smooth ability to re-direct. He's only been an offensive lineman for four years, so his best football could very well be ahead of him. He'd be a solid backup with the ability to be a swing tackle or even kick inside and play guard.

There are too many Day 3 possibilities to list, but I did look very hard at Wisconsin wide receiver Quintez Cephus in Round 5, but felt two receivers was enough.

There's your A-plus. Go hang it on the fridge.

2020 NFL mock draft: 49ers trade to get four picks in first four rounds

2020 NFL mock draft: 49ers trade to get four picks in first four rounds

Editor’s note: Matt Maiocco released his complete seven-round mock draft, without any trades, which you can find here. In this piece, he provides a glimpse of what the 49ers could look to acquire from their draft if they make trades to pick up picks in each of the first four rounds.

The 49ers’ top roster needs (or wants) heading into the NFL Draft are wide receiver, cornerback, defensive tackle and offensive line.

Rank those in any order. Rank them in order of the best player available among those positions at any time the 49ers are on the clock until those spots are filled during the draft.

The 49ers have two picks in the first round, and Nos. 13 and 31 overall But after that scheduled selection at No. 31, the 49ers are not scheduled to pick again until the fifth round (No. 156 overall).

General manager John Lynch has engaged in preliminary discussions with teams about the possibilities of making trades Thursday, whether it’s at No. 13, No. 31 or both of their first-round picks.

The 49ers are scheduled to have five picks in the fifth round or later, but it would be difficult for any of those players to make the team.

“We have one of the better rosters in football in my mind, and so it's going to be real hard for draft picks to make this as well,” Lynch said this week. “I don't think it’d be a great year to have 10 draft picks. I think it's going to be hard to make this team, so we've got to make them count.”

There are a lot of ways for the 49ers to maximize this draft in order to get more picks earlier in the draft.

Here is one path they can take to knock off their top four needs with a pick in each of the first four rounds, including one trade-up in the fourth round to select a targeted player.

Trades

  • 49ers trade No. 13 (first round), No. 156 (fifth round) and No. 210 (sixth round) to the Miami Dolphins for No. 18 (first round) and No. 70 (third round)
  • 49ers trade No. 31 (first round) to the Los Angeles Chargers for No. 37 (second round) and No. 112 (fourth round)
  • 49ers trade No. 112 (fourth round) and No. 217 (seventh round) to the Detroit Lions for No. 108 (fourth round)

Listen and subscribe to the 49ers Insider Podcast:
 

Projected draft class

No. 18 (first round): CB A.J. Terrell, Clemson
The 49ers have no cornerbacks under contract beyond this season, and that list includes Richard Sherman, Ahkello Witherspoon, Emmanuel Moseley and Jason Verrett.

“I think when you look at our roster as compared to the rest of the league, we've got a lot of players signed,” Lynch said. “Corner happens to be a position where that's not necessarily the case through this year. We're certainly aware of that, and will that affect how we approach this draft? Maybe.”

A.J. Terrell has faced the best competition in college football while being on an island. He could easily end up being the best cornerback in this draft. And if the 49ers can move back and still get him, that’s a win.

No. 37 (second round): WR Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State
It would be difficult to pass up CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy or Henry Ruggs. But because the depth at wide receiver is so strong this draft, it is easy to make the case to select one later in the first or early in the second round.

Brandon Aiyuk has good size and exceptional quickness. Coach Kyle Shanahan can certainly find a role for him in the offense. Aiyuk recently underwent core-muscle surgery. Is that a concern? Not at all. Nick Bosa had the same surgery entering the 2019 draft.

No. 70 (third round): OT Matthew Peart, UConn
The status of Joe Staley continues to be something the 49ers have to take into account. Lynch said he has heard “nothing that would lead us to believe that Joe is not going to play.”

That double-negative is a lot different from learning from Staley that he is definitely going to play. So the 49ers have to prepare for the future. In a strong class of offensive tackles, Matthew Peart gives the 49ers a chance to find their starting left tackle on Day 2 of the draft.

No. 108 (fourth round): DT McTelvin Agim, Arkansas
Nobody is replacing DeForest Buckner. But McTelvin Agim has great upside as a three-technique who can be a solid player on base downs and eventually develop into a contributor in nickel situations, too.

[RELATED: Could 49ers be fit for Howard after Bucs' Gronk trade?]

No. 176 (fifth round): TE Thaddeus Moss, LSU
The 49ers will look for a tight end to pair with George Kittle. How about Randy Moss’ son?

The younger Moss is a well-rounded tight end who has plenty of room to grow. He declared for the draft after a national championship-winning season at LSU in which he caught 47 passes for 570 yards and four touchdowns.

No. 245 (seventh round): OG/C Darryl Williams, Mississippi State
The 49ers will look to add an interior offensive lineman on the third day of the draft. A player such as Darryl Williams is who the 49ers will hope to find. They will want a player with the versatility to play center or guard and who could be developed into a top backup or starter of the future.

Programming note: Don't miss NBC Sports Bay Area's coverage of the 2020 NFL Draft! Stream "NBC Sports On the Clock: NFL Mock Draft" on the MyTeams app and on NBCSportsBayArea.com on Wednesday at 2 p.m. to get all of the latest information on the 49ers and Raiders.

2020 NFL Draft profile: Clemson's A.J. Terrell intriguing 49ers option

2020 NFL Draft profile: Clemson's A.J. Terrell intriguing 49ers option

Editor's note: NBC Sports Bay Area will preview the NFL Draft with a look at the 49ers’ top needs, profiles of prospects that might fit their needs, along with some hidden gems. In this installment, we profile Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell.

He likes to size up people.

And even though he will not find a career specifically in his major coming out of college, Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell will look across the line of scrimmage and size up his competition on a weekly basis in the NFL. He likely will be a first-round draft pick next week.

“At first, I was majoring in business and I felt that wasn’t my path so I switched to sociology,” Terrell said at the NFL Scouting Combine.

“I like to study people and understand why people think the way they do. I fell in love with the major, and I felt like I made the right decision for myself.”

The 49ers certainly are sizing up cornerbacks, too. And Terrell likely is near the top of the list.

The 49ers could be in the market for a cornerback within the first two rounds of the draft for the first time since 2004. Terrell has everything the club wants – size, smarts, athleticism, competitiveness -- from a cornerback in their defense.

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Terrell is tested in big games. He played 14 games in college both of the past two seasons, culminating in two appearances in the national championship game.

In January 2019 at Levi’s Stadium, Terrell accounted for the first points of the game when he intercepted Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and returned it 44 yards for a touchdown.

The experience was not so pleasant this year, going up against Ja’Marr Chase, the best receiver in college football. Chase, who had 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns receiving as a sophomore, is not eligible for next week's draft. Chase likely would be the first receiver off the board if he were eligible this year.

Terrell held his own early in the game and generally was in good position against Chase – but not good enough. Chase had nine receptions for 221 yards and two touchdowns. But Terrell did not back down from the challenge.

“We started off strong and he got the best of me on some plays and it went back and forth,” Terrell said. “Every time we lined up, I couldn’t take a play off.

“I would say I’m a competitor. I don’t like to back down from competition. I’m going to give the receiver my best and I know I’m going to get theirs. We’re just going to compete for the whole four quarters.”

Terrell has the ability to play all styles of coverage, and he was a favorite of the Clemson coaches for his character and work ethic. He always took on the challenge of shadowing the opposition’s top receiver.

Like any young cornerback coming to the 49ers, Terrell could learn a lot from veteran Richard Sherman, who enters the final year of his contract. Cornerback remains one of the few spots on the club without a clear-cut starter with a competition expected to include Emmanuel Moseley, Ahkello Witherspoon and, possibly, Jason Verrett.

Terrell is right up there among the top corners in the draft, along with Ohio State's Jeff Okudah and C.J. Henderson of Florida.

[RELATED: C.J. Henderson could fit 49ers as impact cornerback]

NFL draft profile: A.J. Terrell

Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 195 pounds
College: Clemson
Career stats: 101 tackles, six interceptions, 13 passes broken up and two forced fumbles in three college seasons.

Combine measurables
40-yard dash: 4.42 seconds
Vertical jump: 34.5 inches
Broad jump: 129 inches
20-yard shuttle: NA

What experts are saying
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Media: "He had a rough outing against LSU in the national title game, but was otherwise very steady last season. Overall, Terrell has some tightness, but he's a very solid player who should emerge as a quality No. 2 cornerback for his drafting team.”
Chris Simms, NBC Sports: "It’s easy and smooth for him. It’s not like has to over-exert himself and have his body go out of control to do it. And that’s what really good corners can do.”
Lance Zierlein, NFL Media: "Terrell has the foot agility and patience to pedal and mirror the release or jab and ride on it aggressively. He's an above-average athlete with quick burst to close out space in tight quarters.”

Draft projection: First round