Okay, maybe I overstated and overhyped this article straight from the title. But, with the draft drawing near I thought I'd break things down a little bit differently then the traditional mock drafts we're all used to seeing. The 2014 NFL Draft is already shaping up to be one of the deepest and most complex drafts in recent memory. As with all drafts leading up to the big day there are varying mock drafts, smokescreens, sleepers and busters, and everything in between. This draft in particular has been so fluid in the past few months it's such a whirlwind and impossible to keep up with. I can't even imagine how those fans of teams outside of the top 10 picks are feeling. Having your team have a top 5 pick you have a better idea of who your team is targeting but of course it's impossible to know for sure. Let's get to the break down.
Prospects I'd Like to See in Silver and Black
1. Sammy Watkins - Wide Receiver - Clemson
Watkins is easily the best receiver in this draft and the number one guy I'd take if he's still on the board. He's a red zone target, deep threat, possession receiver, and a flat out baller. The more I watch highlights of this guy the more I'm convinced that he may possibly be even the number one prospect in this draft. If he falls to us he is a must draft. The Raiders are pretty deep at wide receiver and we have many holes to fill, but Reggie must go with the best player available.
2. Khalil Mack - Linebacker - Buffalo
With all the hype surrounding Jadaveon Clowney and with Mack being from a smaller school I think he's been a little overlooked. Granted, most mocks have him going in the top 5 easily, I wouldn't be the slightest bit surprised if he was gone by the time our 5 pick came around. In my opinion he's got better instincts, he's tougher, and more NFL ready than Clowney. He's the havoc-wrecking, explosive defender the Raiders have been missing for so long. Lamarr who?
3. Greg Robinson - Tackle - Auburn
Greg Robinson is a beast of a man and any team that drafts him will lock down an anchor at the left tackle position day 1 and for many years to come. He's extremely gifted, has exceptional footwork, and ridiculous quickness for a 332 pound offensive lineman. The Raiders would be given a gift if by some miracle he's available at the number 5 pick.
4. Jake Matthews - Tackle - Texas A&M
The aforementioned Greg Robinson is the best offensive lineman in the draft in terms of raw skill. However, Matthews comes in at a close second. The main thing that I noticed with him is the consistency factor. He's consistent with his blocks, effort, and technique. He's an excellent run blocker, pulls well on screens, and he's got a great pass blocking skill set. He's very well rounded and could start right off the bat on our already upgraded offensive line.
5. Blake Bortles - Quarterback - UCF
If Reggie feels the need to draft a quarterback this high in what is considered a draft deep at the position I pray that he pulls the trigger on Bortles and not Johnny Football. I'll get to him later. Bortles is the best quarterback prospect in this draft. Period. He's another guy that I wouldn't be surprised if he was already off the board by the time Oakland is on the clock. He's got the size and the intangibles that Reggie and DA seem to be seeking in a quarterback. If you created a quarterback from scratch Bortles would check every box. He's 6-foot-5 and a beastly 232 pounds, athletic, above average arm strength, and the IQ scouts look for in a guy playing under center. Matt Schaub is undoubtedly the stater for our team and RM and DA have made that clear. They've got to know he's a temporary fix and having Bortles develop for a year is exactly what he needs.
As tough as it would be to stomach seeing Reggie pass on any of these guys, I sincerely believe that Oakland won't be picking 5th overall. RM will find a trade partner and acquire more picks later in the draft. Especially since the odds of a guy like Bortles falling to us. I think teams would be willing to give up quite a few picks in order to get him. If I had to narrow down a few teams that would be most likely trade partners they'd be as follows.
1. Minnesota Vikings trade their number 8 pick and their number 40 pick for our number 5 pick.
2. St. Louis Rams trade their number 13 pick and their number 44 pick for our number 5 pick
3. Dallas Cowboys trade their number 16, 47, and 78 for our number 5 pick (maybe that's being too generous but if Jerry has his eye set on a guy, it wouldn't surprise me).
4. New York Jets trade their number 18, 49 pick and number 80 or their fourth round pick at 104.
Stay away from Oakland
There are 3 guy off the top of my head that I don't want RM to waste a pick on and I think he's smart enough to stay away from. I'll keep it short and sweet. Johnny Football stay the hell out of Oakland. Not only do I think he's overrated but I think he has questionable character. Not only that but the first interception Matt Schaub throws there's going to be an instant quarterback controversy. That's the last thing a quarterback with recovering confidence needs. Next on my "keep away list" is another quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater. Being stationed here at Fort Knox only miles away from Louisville I've had the opportunity to see him play. A lot. And I really had high hopes for him coming out of college. I hate to put so much into a pro day but I watched every throw. And let me tell you, it was pretty awful. Yeah, yeah, I know he had some good throws too. But if you know anything about quarterback pro days, you very rarely see even a single pass hit the ground. This was awful. I hope I'm wrong because I like the guy but I don't want our team to take the gamble on him. The third guy I'm probably going to take a lot of heat on is Jadeveon Clowney. Biggest bust since Jasuckus. Just a hunch.
First and foremost I want to thank everyone on S&B and in the Raider Nation that supported me and sent me all kinds of cool stuff while I was on my recent deployment to Afghanistan. I'm home safe and I've got all my fingers and toes. I know I've shown my gratitude before but I want you all to know how much you guys boosted my moral and I appreciate it more than I can express. Thank you so much. I hope you guys enjoyed this and it at least mildly lived up to the title. I really appreciate any and all feedback. I'm going to to do a part 2 that will include prospects I like for our system in the later rounds, sleepers, more trade possibilities, full first round mock and free agents that are still available. Stay up Raider Nation!! Football is right around the corner!!!