Montez Sweat

NFL draft rumors: Raiders planned to take Montez Sweat with No. 27 pick

NFL draft rumors: Raiders planned to take Montez Sweat with No. 27 pick

With the Indianapolis Colts on the clock at No. 26, the guy the Raiders wanted at No. 27 still was on the board in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Then Jay Gruden swooped in and stole Montez Sweat from his brother.

Washington swung a trade with the Colts for the No. 26 pick Thursday night, then used it to select the Mississippi State defensive end. The Raiders ended up taking Mississippi State safety Johnathan Abram with the next pick.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that the Raiders were targeting Sweat and prepared to take him.

"My understanding is that the Raiders were in fact going to take Montez Sweat had they not been jumped," Rapoport said. "But there was a significant development today with his heart situation. Sources say he was misdiagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy at the combine. In other words, as one expert told me today, the thickness of the wall of his heart was inaccurately measured. They believed he was a high risk. They found out this week it was not as much of a risk as they thought.

"He was already off some boards. Clearly, [Washington] believe he was fine, and they got a very talented pass rusher."

[RELATED: Grades for Raiders' three first-round picks]

We're sure Jon will let Jay hear about this the next time they get together for dinner.

Raiders seven-round NFL mock draft: Pick projections for each round

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AP

Raiders seven-round NFL mock draft: Pick projections for each round

The Raiders are scheduled to make eight selections in this NFL draft. Half of them are expected to come in the first 35 overall. That will likely change during the annual selection process, which begins Thursday night in Nashville.

Raiders trades are expected either in the first round or beyond to acquire more Day 2 picks believed to be particularly valuable in this class. However, we won’t be making trades in the world where this seven-round Raiders mock draft resides.

We’re going to pick them as scheduled here, and try to address needs where we’re able. Just as a warning: I ran The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator a thousand times and wasn’t able to land Nick Bosa (No. 4 overall), Quinnen Williams (No. 24 overall) and Josh Allen (No. 27 overall) all in the first round, so prepare yourself for disappointment.

These seven-round mocks are always idealized to some degree because every pick isn’t being made. Look below, where the draft’s best prospect is still around at No. 4, for proof of that. So let’s have fun with this thing. Check out what I’ve got, and then dub me a certified genius or certifiably insane. There is no middle ground.

With that, here’s a Raiders seven-round mock draft, just days before Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock start playing for keeps.

VIEW ENTIRE SEVEN-ROUND MOCK DRAFT HERE

Ranking top five Raiders needs heading into the 2019 NFL Draft

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USA TODAY SPORTS IMAGES

Ranking top five Raiders needs heading into the 2019 NFL Draft

The Raiders' roster needs a lot of help. That’s no secret, a fact Mike Mayock has acknowledged since becoming Raiders general manager.

That is common at this stage of a roster reset where the Raiders have exchanged top talent for draft capital and let several veterans walk during last season or right after.

Free agency has quelled some concerns, importing major upgrades to positions on the Raiders' needs list a few months ago. Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, Trent Brown, Lamarcus Joyner have changed things some. Linebackers Brandon Marshall and Vontaze Burfict and running back Isaiah Crowell and backup quarterbacks Mike Glennon and Landry Jones have removed urgency from their respective spots, though they don’t eliminate draft selections within those position groups.

In fact, some still remain high on the priority list. Let’s break down the top five Raiders needs heading into this NFL draft. That doesn’t mean they’ll address these positions in order and could deviate from Gruden’s list by adding the best possible player available. With eight draft picks and four in the top 35 to Raiders need to improve the roster because, more than any particular spot, the Raiders need upgrades almost everywhere.

We all know, however, which position belongs in the No. 1 slot:

1. Edge rusher

The Raiders can at least fill out a two-deep after late free-agency signings, but they won’t head into the regular season with Arden Key, Benson Mayowa, Alex Barrett and Josh Mauro. That crew won’t intimidate many. Adding one of the early draft picks could add a fear factor, especially if one comes at No. 4, in a small trade down from there or trade up from two picks in the 20s. Let’s be honest here -- the Raiders could use two edge rushers ready to contribute right away. That’s how big an issue this is right now.

Montez Sweat becomes one to watch on draft day, with news some teams are scared off by a heart condition that didn’t prohibit participation at the NFL Scouting Combine or halt his excellent 2018 season at Mississippi State. NFL Network reports he has an enlarged heart that has taken him off some draft boards. He would offer great value in the 20s if he falls on draft day, assuming the Raiders are comfortable with his medical evaluation.

Josh Allen, Brian Burns, Clelin Ferrell, and Rashan Gary – the Michigan man’s an excellent scheme fit – are first-round options. Jaylon Ferguson, L.J. Collier and Chase Winovich could be options at No. 35 overall.

2. Cornerback

The Raiders have a solid corps on the roster, but Gareon Conley’s the only true cornerback under contract beyond next season. Daryl Worley and Nevin Lawson are also in the mix, but another cornerback should join the group in the draft as the Raiders figure out long-term solutions at this premium position. The Raiders could well look for a cover man late in the first round, which could be a solid spot to select one from a class that shouldn’t thin out during the draft’s early picks. Temple’s Rock Ya-Sin, Georgia’s Deandre Baker and Washington’s Byron Murphy could fit there, and the Raiders might go for Michigan State’s Justin Layne as a Day 2 pick.

3. Tight end

The Raiders have some quality depth here, with receiving tight end Darren Waller, blocker Lee Smith and versatile tight ends Luke Willson and Derek Carrier. Gruden’s still on the hunt for a front-line tight end who could contribute heavily in the passing game. That could come early in the draft, especially if Iowa’s Noah Fant lasts into the mid-20s. There are other options to be had later as well to upgrade the tight end group and create some serious position battles this summer.

4. Running back

Here’s another case of the Raiders having plenty at the position but still looking for a featured player. That’s why an early selection is possible here to join Crowell, Jalen Richard, Chris Warren III and DeAndre Washington in the mix. Position coach Kirby Wilson was at Alabama’s Pro Day, checking out do-everything backs Josh Jacobs and Damien Harris. Those guys should be the first two runners off the board, with other quality options behind them.

[RELATED: Why Raiders could be looking to move up and draft Kyler Murray]

5. Guard

The Raiders traded Kelechi Osemele and his eight-figure cap number to the New York Jets, leaving some uncertainty at one of two guard spots. Gabe Jackson will fill one and Denzelle Good is an option on the other. Gruden has mentioned the prospect of getting a guard in the draft to further solidify all positions of the offensive line. A good line makes everything else easier, and the Raiders are pretty close to being pretty darn good up front.