2019 Peach Bowl: LSU, Oklahoma NFL draft prospects for Raiders fans to watch


2019 Peach Bowl: LSU, Oklahoma NFL draft prospects for Raiders fans to watch

Everything is in front of the Raiders on Sunday. A win over the Denver Broncos and three other favorable results would vault them into the AFC playoffs.

While Jon Gruden focuses on the task at hand, some possible future Raiders could be taking the field Saturday when the 2019 College Football Playoffs Semifinals. The first tilt in the double-dip will feature the No. 1-seeded LSU Tigers and the No. 4-seeded Oklahoma Sooners in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The top-seeded Tigers were led by Heisman Trophy winner and presumptive No. 1 overall draft pick Joe Burrow. The senior quarterback put together an electric campaign in LSU's revamped offense and has put himself on the fast track to being the next face of the Cincinnati Bengals. 

Meanwhile, the Sooners survived a midseason hiccup against Kansas State to win the Big 12 championship on the back of an improved defense and electric plays by star receiver CeeDee Lamb and quarterback Jalen Hurts.

The Raiders have two first-round draft picks in the upcoming draft and have a number of needs players on both teams could fill. While Burrow won't be wearing silver and black, six other players who suit up Saturday would be a great fit for the next great Raiders draft class. 

Here are six players for Raiders fans and scouts to watch in the 2019 Peach Bowl.

CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

This one is a no-brainer. If Lamb is on the board when the Raiders go on the clock, the Silver and Black should run to the podium to make him the newest Raider.

The Oklahoma junior receiver has all the tools to be a No. 1 pass-catcher in the NFL. At 6-foot-2, 191 pounds, Lamb has the size needed to play on the perimeter in the NFL. He is a wizard at creating separation at all levels. His hands are tremendous and he is otherworldy in contested-catch situations. He doesn't have lightning speed, but it's good enough to make big plays after the catch and be a downfield threat.

He might end up being the best wide receiver in a loaded draft class, and he's the most NFL ready.

Oh, and he rocked a Fred Biletnikoff jersey after torching Texas.

Make the pick. 

K'Lavon Chaisson, Edge, LSU

Despite drafting Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby last year, the Raiders still need help on the edge. Oakland's pass rush enters Week 17 with only 30 sacks and needs to find a way to generate more pressure on opposing quarterbacks if they plan to take the next step.

Enter: K'Lavon Chaisson.

The redshirt sophomore has the physical tools that make you think he can be a star on the edge in the NFL. He entered the season needing to show consistency and stay healthy. He had moments of greatness. He beat potential top-10 pick Andrew Thomas on the edge in the SEC Championship Game. He gave Alabama's Alex Leatherwood some issues as well.

Still, he needs to add some strength and could use another year at LSU. If he comes out, the Raiders likely will look his way.

Grant Delpit, S, LSU

Yes, the Raiders drafted Johnathan Abram in the first round last year. No, that shouldn't preclude them from looking at Delpit if he's on the board in the middle of the first round.

The LSU junior has had a down season after a breakout sophomore season that saw him combine for 12 interceptions and pass breakups. Injuries have contributed to a lot of missed tackles for Delpit, but he still only has allowed nine catches in coverage.

Pairing Delpit with Abram and Trayvon Mullen could give the Raiders the makings of the next elite NFL secondary.

Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

If you've watched the Raiders at all this season, you know there's a big hole in the middle of their defense. After Vontaze Burfict was suspended for the season following a Week 4 hit against the Indianapolis Colts, the Raiders' defense struggled to keep it together.

The Raiders have had a massive need at linebacker for years, and Murray might be the man to lock down the middle of the Silver and Black's defense.

A freaky athlete, the Oklahoma junior can cover sideline-to-sideline and is a sure tackler. After leading the Sooners in tackles last season, Murray upped his total from 51 to 64 this season.

He'd be a slam-dunk pick for the Raiders.

Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

There's little chance the Raiders will take a cornerback in the first round and that's where Fulton will go.

Still, if he's available when the Raiders pick, they will be tempted.

Fulton was the highest-graded cornerback in the SEC. He's an elite cover corner who can run with the best receivers in the game. He'll get a tasty matchup Saturday when he gets the opportunity to try and shut down Lamb.

Mullen is starting to blossom into a shutdown corner, and while corner isn't an immediate need, Fulton would go nicely on the other side.

[RELATED: How Raiders rookie Mullen responded from 'scary situation']

Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU

If the Raiders choose to not address the wide receiver position with their two first-round draft picks, they could snag a number of solid pass-catchers on Day 2.

The guy who will be occupying the slot for LSU on Saturday will be worth a look.

After transitioning from an outside receiver to the slot man this season, Jefferson has thrived along with everyone else on the Tigers' offense.

At 6-foot-3, 193 pounds, Jefferson caught 88 passes for 1,207 yards and 14 touchdowns for LSU. He has elite ball skills and is a beast after the catch.

Even if the Raiders select an A-plus receiver like Lamb in Round 1, they should continue to bolster their arsenal with a guy like Jefferson.

2019 Fiesta Bowl: Clemson, Ohio State NFL draft prospects Raiders should watch


2019 Fiesta Bowl: Clemson, Ohio State NFL draft prospects Raiders should watch

We learned a few very important things from Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock's first draft class together with the Raiders. 

First, the head coach and general manager are quite good at evaluating talent as they put together one of the most productive rookie classes in recent NFL history. Second, they scout the most important games in college football quite heavily. 

That approach led to the Raiders selecting four players from last year's College Football Playoff National Championship Game between Clemson and Alabama, with Clelin Ferrell, Josh Jacobs, Trayvon Mullen and Hunter Renfrow all joining the Silver and Black. 

That injection of championship culture has helped Gruden and Mayock turn the ship around. Mayock and the Raiders' scouts undoubtedly will have their eyes fixed on Glendale, Ariz., on Saturday night when No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Clemson battle in the second 2019 College Football Playoff Semifinal at the 2019 Playstation Fiesta Bowl. 

The Raiders have lots of needs and these two juggernauts have the prospects to fill them. Let's take a look at the five prospects for the Silver and Black to watch in Glendale. (Yes, while Ohio State star defensive end Chase Young and cornerback Jeff Okudah would look great in Silver and Black, both will be off the board early, so they will not be featured in this breakdown. Should the Raiders trade up in the draft, it goes without saying that both will be on their radar.)

Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

In the 2019 Peach Bowl breakdown, I all but penciled in Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb as a Raiders if he's still on the board. You can do the same with Simmons. 

He's the best linebacker in the draft class. An athletic mutant who can run side-to-side, cover running backs and tight ends and also play some hybrid safety. Simmons has played 650 snaps this season for Clemson with 230 coming in the slot and 107 at deep safety. 

The Raiders need to fill their gaping hole at linebacker. Simmons likely won't fall to them, but if there is some way they can snag Lamb and Simmons with their two first-round picks, Gruden will be as happy as a pig in mud. 

Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

If the Raiders miss out on the likes of Lamb, Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs in the first round, have no fear Raider Nation, there's still a number of stud wideouts for them to choose from. 

Given Gruden and Mayock's affinity for Clemson guys and how successful the current rookies are, it wouldn't be a shock to see them go back to the well a few times. 

At 6-foot-4, 215 pounds Higgins is the perfect big-body receiver. He is adept at going up and high-pointing the ball and making contested catches. 

His hands rank second to none in the class, as Higgins as only dropped five passes over the last two seasons for Clemson. 

Gruden said he wants to start stretching the field, and Higgins can help him do that in Las Vegas. 

I mean ...

Need I say more?

K.J. Hill. WR. Ohio State

Higgins, Lamb, Ruggs and Jeudy all are solid Day 1 receivers for the Raiders to look at. But given the Silver and Black's overall lack of talent on the outside, they absolutely should draft two or three wide receivers over the course of the draft. 

Hill has had a down year in Columbus, Ohio after blowing up during his junior season as one of Dwayne Haskins' favorite targets. At 5-foot-11, 198 pounds Hill projects as a sub-package wide receiver in the NFL. He doesn't have the breakaway speed needed to separate down the field, but is good after the catch and has improved his route running this season. 

His hands aren't bad either. 

I'd expect him to be on the Raiders board later in the draft. 

A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson

The Raiders drafted a Clemson cornerback last year. Trayvon Mullen, as it turns out, is damn good. Why not select his college secondary mate and lock down the outside for a decade. 

A.J. Terrell (6-foot-1, 191 pounds) has had a terrific junior season. It's been so good that teams have just stopped throwing his way entirely. Terrell only has been targeted 30 times this season out of 313 coverage snaps, allowing just 15 catches 192 yards and a 53.8 passer rating. 

Cornerback isn't one of the Raiders' biggest needs, but it wouldn't be surprising to see the Raiders go after Terrell on Day 2 of the draft. 

[RELATED: Future Raiders: Six players to watch in LSU-Oklahoma]

Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State

The same logic used on Terrell applies to Wade. 

The redshirt sophomore has locked down the slot for the Buckeyes this season. While most believe he's better suited for the outside at the next level, the Raiders could take a look at him to relieve Lamarcus Joyner after the veteran's underwhelming first season in silver and black. 

Wade is a physical corner and an exceptional tackler. This year's cornerback class is pretty good, so if Wade slides to the late second or third round the Raiders could pounce.

Quinnen Williams, possible Raiders draft target, misses mark in Alabama's loss


Quinnen Williams, possible Raiders draft target, misses mark in Alabama's loss

SANTA CLARA -- Quinnen Williams proved Monday night that he can talk a big game, even if he doesn’t play one.

The Alabama defensive tackle, whom many project to be a top-five pick if he leaves school for the 2019 NFL draft, didn’t exactly show out in the College Football Playoff National Championship at Levi’s Stadium. The redshirt sophomore finished with just four total tackles (three solo, one assist) and 1.5 for loss.

Williams went relatively unnoticed in Clemson’s 44-16 rout, except for this first-quarter stop that showcased his power.


Williams, who entered the game tied for second on the Crimson Tide with eight sacks this season, didn’t register any noticeable pass rush -- to be fair, no one on Alabama did -- as the Tigers handily won the title.

Still, Williams wasn’t that impressed by what he saw from the now-national champions.

“They really didn’t do anything that caught us off guard,” Williams said. “We knew everything that was coming. They ran zone. They ran go routes, 50-50 balls.

“[Clemson QB] Trevor Lawrence threw the ball, and it looked like he put it on the money. He didn’t drop dimes, none of that. He threw it up, and the receivers made plays. All the respect to the receivers.”

While Williams later called Lawrence “good,” his comments were reminiscent of his pre-Orange Bowl words on Kyler Murray, when he smartly stopped himself from criticizing Oklahoma’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback. Williams showed no such restraint this time, and while you could chalk it up to the hurt of losing a national title game, NFL teams surely will ask him in pre-draft interviews about how he'll handle such situations.

As for his NFL draft status, Williams didn’t want to say much, claiming he really hadn’t thought about the possibility of turning pro after the season.

“I don’t know yet, man,” he said. “I got to go home, watch this film first, get with my teammates and let them know, man, everything.”

New Raiders general manager Mike Mayock, whose team has been linked to Williams with the No. 4 overall pick in numerous mock drafts, saw the defensive tackle in person Monday. Whether he liked what he saw or heard remains to be seen over the next three months.