CJ Henderson

NFL Draft 2020: Impact on Raiders if Tua Tagovailoa, Mekhi Becton fall

NFL Draft 2020: Impact on Raiders if Tua Tagovailoa, Mekhi Becton fall

The Raiders sit in an interesting position in the first round of the NFL draft. With the No. 12 and No. 19 overall picks, the Silver and Black appear to be in a good spot to address their two most glaring needs -- wide receiver and cornerback -- in Round 1.

With three quarterbacks, three to four offensive tackles and three to four defensive stars slated to go in the top 10, the Raiders are expected to be able to snag either one of the top three wide receivers or Florida cornerback CJ Henderson with their top pick.

But every year, a few prospects slide for one reason or another. Laremy Tunsil dropped after a video of him smoking weed in a gas mask was leaked. Everyone is well aware of Aaron Rodgers' fall to the Green Bay Packers, and La'el Collins being named in a murder investigation and not being cleared of any involvement until after the draft.

With the 2020 NFL Draft a few days away, a few top prospects have some red flags that could see them fall down the board.

First, Louisville offensive tackle Mekhi Becton reportedly failed a drug test at the NFL Scouting Combine. While a failed drug test no longer is the scarlet letter it once was, it could see a few teams pass on Becton in favor of other top tackles Andrew Thomas, Tristan Wirfs and Jedrick Wills.

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The other two notable names who could slide both are due to medical red flags. Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had surgery on both ankles in college and dislocated his hip and fractured the posterior wall of the socket back in November. All reports are that he is healing as scheduled and he looked good mobility wise during his virtual pro day. However, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, teams have not been able to bring Tagovailoa in for meetings or an evaluation. While he shouldn't slide out of the top 10, there is a possibility teams won't want to take that big of a risk in the top five.

Finally, there's South Carolina's Javon Kinlaw. While Kinlaw never missed a game in college, he did have hip surgery in 2018 and knee issues prevented him from working out at the combine. At 6-foot-5, 324 pounds, Kinlaw is an athletic freak with little body fat. While those body types are to be marveled at, they also are the ones that seem to bring greater injury risk. Much like Tagovailoa, Kinlaw has been unable to visit teams and get checked out by their doctors to gauge the health of his knee and overall health.

For the Raiders, these three elite prospects dropping means a few things: First, if Becton and Tagovailoa, two presumed top 10 picks, do slide, there's a chance the player the Raiders are targeting at No. 12, whether it be CeeDee Lamb, Henry Ruggs or Henderson, will have been snapped up by a team passing on a tackle or quarterback with red flags. Those two falling also could have teams calling the Raiders to move up and select a sliding future star. While trading No. 12 isn't advisable, if the Raiders were offered a deal that included multiple Day 2 draft picks then it's something they would have to at least consider, especially if Lamb and Henderson are off the board.

The Raiders also reportedly could "sniff" around to trade up for Tagovailoa if he were to drop. Tagovailoa was the most efficient quarterback in college football history, so the possibility of putting him in silver and black would be an enticing one that the Raiders would have to consider.

Kinlaw's slide could benefit the Raiders. Not expected to go until the mid-teens of the first round, if Kinlaw gets past the Atlanta Falcons at No. 16 and Dallas Cowboys at No. 17, the Raiders could have the second-best defensive tackle fall into their lap. While the best-case scenario for the Raiders likely has them take a top talent at No. 12, and trade down from No. 19 to add a second-round pick, adding a game-changing defensive tackle like Kinlaw and a top wide receiver either at No. 12 or in a slight trade back would still be a good haul on Day 1.

But that would leave them either waiting for the third round to draft a cornerback or scrambling to find a way into the second round to select Damon Arnette or perhaps Jaylon Johnson. Either way, it's a position general manager Mike Mayock and coach Jon Gruden might not want to find themselves in.

[RELATED: Mayock should follow his gut, make Lamb a Raider]

The draft rarely goes according to plan. After about the first three picks, every mock draft has been blown apart and the real fun begins.

The Raiders know what they want to do and how they hope the board shakes out. But everything changes once there's a massive reach or a top prospect falls.

Prepare for everything.

NFL Draft 2020: Richard Sherman's wisdom could prompt 49ers to draft CB

NFL Draft 2020: Richard Sherman's wisdom could prompt 49ers to draft CB

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 examine why the 49ers have a need at cornerback.

Cornerback Richard Sherman, who earned a Pro Bowl honor last season, enters the final year of a three-year contract he signed shortly after the Seattle Seahawks released him in March of 2018.

On the other side, there is some degree of uncertainty. Ahkello Witherspoon played well to open last season, missed games due to injuries, then struggled upon his return to action.

Emmanuel Moseley, in his second season after entering the NFL as an undrafted player, eventually took over as the starter. He was steady and reliable until giving up the critical third-and-15 pass to the Kansas City Chiefs in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIV. Moseley had a difficult assignment, for sure, but it ultimately was his responsibility to defend the deep one-third of the field in which Tyreek Hill caught the 44-yard pass from Patrick Mahomes.

The 49ers this week re-signed veteran cornerbacks Jason Verrett and Dontae Johnson. They figure to be mere insurance policies and would not impact the 49ers’ plan for the NFL draft in any meaningful way.

Cornerback is a need 49ers general manager John Lynch is likely to address in the draft. Wide receiver, defensive line and offensive line are other spots the 49ers could hit early. All of those spots are in the mix for the 49ers to consider with their top pick – either at No. 13 overall or a few spots later, if they opt to trade back.

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The 49ers have not selected a cornerback within the first two rounds of a draft since choosing Shawntae Spencer with the 58th overall pick in 2004. This year, it makes more sense than ever to bring in a young, talented cornerback.

Aside from the obvious need to strengthen the position and increase depth, the 49ers must contend with a group of wide receivers within the division that got a whole lot better this offseason when the Arizona Cardinals acquired DeAndre Hopkins to pair with Larry Fitzgerald. The 49ers struggled twice last season against the Cardinals, and they are not going away.

But there’s another every-day reason the 49ers should bring in a cornerback.

Sherman is one of the great players of this generation, as shown with his recent selection to the NFL’s All-Decade Team. He also is an incredibly willing resource for young players. Because Sherman is under contract for just one more season, bringing in a draft pick has the added benefit of guaranteeing a rookie will get a full year of guidance from one of the best communicators in the NFL.

[RELATED: NFL Draft 2020: Everything you need to know about unique, virtual event]

The most likely options for the 49ers at No. 13 overall are Jeff Okudah (Ohio State) and C.J. Henderson (Florida). Both players are approximately 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, and have the necessary skillsets to excel in the 49ers’ defensive scheme.

A.J. Terrell (Clemson), Trevon Diggs (Alabama) or Kristian Fulton (LSU) also fit the 49ers’ profile for players who could prompt the organization to dip into this pool of cornerbacks with one of their top draft selections.

NFL mock draft 2020: CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs tied to Raiders

NFL mock draft 2020: CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs tied to Raiders

It's almost the end of #MOCKSZN.

With the 2020 NFL Draft just over a week away, draft analysts everywhere are updating their mock drafts and defending their picks.

The Raiders own the Nos. 12 and 19 draft picks, and have many needs to fill. Coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock must hit another home run for their rebuild to be successful.

Let's take a look at how the latest mock drafts have the Raiders using their two first-round picks.

[RELATED: Five bold Raiders draft predictions that could happen]

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN: CB CJ Henderson (No. 12), QB Jordan Love (No. 19)
Henderson: "After picking three players in the first round in 2019, the Raiders have two more this year. And just like 2019, they still have needs in the secondary, where they got solid play from second-round pick Trayvon Mullen but don't have much else at cornerback. Henderson would be an upgrade."
Love: "Now you'll see why I passed on Love for the Raiders at No. 12. Since I'm not going to predict trades in this Mock Draft, I feel good about Love being here. Now, that could change on draft day, and a team could move above the Raiders to get him. But this would be a coup for Las Vegas, which isn't tied to Derek Carr or Marcus Mariota past 2020. If Jon Gruden & Co. decide to pass on a quarterback, wide receiver is the most likely position for them to target."

Bucky Brooks, NFL Media: WR Jerry Jeudy (No.12), LB Patrick Queen (No. 19)
Jeudy: "As a former receivers coach, Jon Gruden has an affinity for polished route runners, which makes Jeudy the ideal WR1 for the Raiders."
Queen: "Infusing the defense with more explosive athletes like Queen would help the Raiders close the gap on their division rivals."

Dalton Johnson and Josh Schrock, NBC Sports Bay Area: WR Henry Ruggs (No.12), CB A.J. Terrell (No. 30 after trade with Green Bay Packers)
Ruggs:  "Speed kills and 4.27 speed is lethal. Ruggs isn't just combine fast, he's figured out how to play at that speed on every snap. Jon Gruden wants his own Tyreek Hill and now he's got him."
Terrell: "The Raiders kept trading down in 2019 and still landed Trayvon Mullen with the No. 40 overall pick. Now, they add his college teammate after trading down and picking up a second-round pick they hope to use on another receiver. Everything's coming up Raiders."

Tom Fornelli, CBS Sports: WR Henry Ruggs (No. 12), CB Kristian Fulton (No. 19)
Ruggs: "There is no receiver in this draft with a higher ceiling than Ruggs. He can develop into an Antonio Brown-like player, and he's extremely dangerous in the return game."
Fulton: "The Raiders go back to the SEC West to address another one of their biggest needs. Fulton and Ruggs would be a terrific start to their 2020 draft."

Tyler Roman, NBC Sports Washington: WR CeeDee Lamb (No. 12), QB Jordan Love (No. 19)
Lamb: "The Raiders get a complete wide receiver to help provide what they thought they were getting in Antonio Brown. Lamb is one of my favorite WR prospects in this class with the way he competes, runs routes, and attacks the ball in the air."
Love: "Jon Gruden’s favorite QB is always his next one so I think he pulls the trigger on Derek Carr’s successor here at 19. Love had a tremendous sophomore year with 30 touchdowns and just six interceptions but fell off last year with a nation-leading 17 picks. A lot of that is contributed to a loss of playmakers and a new coaching staff though."

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