First Round (#4 overall)
Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
Measurables: 6'1", 210 lbs
The Raiders need to get Derek Carr some weapons if they want him to develop into a franchise quarterback. With James Jones and Rod Streater as the Silver and Black's best receivers, and after whiffing in free agency, it is crucial they upgrade this off-season.
Not only does Cooper fill a massive need, but he is also one of the most talented players in the 2015 NFL Draft. The Heisman finalist finished the regular season with 124 receptions for 1,727 yards (13.9 avg.) and 16 touchdowns. Even more impressive is he put up those numbers in the highly competitive SEC.
Cooper is a great fit for the Raiders as he is very polished and will step in day one as the Raiders best receiver. The Raiders have not had a receiver break 1,000 receiving yards in a season since Randy Moss in 2005. Cooper would have a legitimate chance to pass that mark in his rookie year and would address the Raiders biggest need.
Second Round (#35 overall)
Preston Smith, DE, Mississippi State
Measurables: 6'5", 271 lbs
If wide receiver is the Raiders biggest need, defensive end is right behind. Justin Tuck can be a threat at times but he is on the final year of his contract. The Raiders realistically need two quality defensive ends, one to replace Tuck and one to play on the opposite side. Preston Smith would be able to start day one across from Tuck this season and would make the Raiders defensive one of the best in the NFL.
As a three year starter at Mississippi State, Smith totaled 134 tackles, 27 tackles for loss, 16 sacks, and forced seven turnovers (five forced fumbles and two interceptions). He was named 2014 First Team All-SEC and was invited to the Senior Bowl where he recorded 5 tackles and a sack.
Smith is very athletic for a defensive end as he finished in the top-five in nearly every drill he participated in at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine,
Ironically, the player that Smith best compares to in the NFL is Justin Tuck. Many defensive ends rush from the outside, but both Tuck and Smith are interior pass rushers and get their pressure from the inside. But both also have the ability to bend the edge and rush outside if needed.
Smith is a consistent and talented player that would be a day one starter for the Raiders and help solidify an already talented defensive line.
Third Round (#68 overall)
Tre' Jackson, OG, Florida State
Measurables: 6'4", 330 lbs
The Raiders third biggest need is right guard. Last season, they made a great third round pick selecting Gabe Jackson to play left guard and he had a solid rookie season. Now Reggie McKenzie needs to find another guard to hold down the right side of the offensive line.
Jackson played in 49 games at Florida State and started 42 of them. He knows what it takes to win and he has been in that winning culture the Raiders are trying to emulate. He also has experience playing against top competition under pressure.
One NFL Offensive Coordinator when asked to describe Tre' Jackson said, "He's got everything you want in a guard, he just needs to work on technique. I did my homework on the person and I think he'll be coachable. He would start right away for us."
Jackson would start right away for the Raiders and would help spark the offense. It is a great idea to give Derek Carr weapons, but unless he has a solid offensive line it doesn't matter. And by drafting Jackson, the Raiders rushing attack would improve which would take pressure off of Carr.
Fourth Round (#102 overall)
Adrian Amos, FS, Penn State
Measurables: 6'0", 218 lbs
While it may seem like he can, Charles Woodson cannot play forever. When he leaves, the Raiders will be left with a giant hole at safety, unless they address the position in the 2015 NFL Draft before Woodson retires.
Adrian Amos is a player that can do it all and has few weaknesses. Amos is one of the best coverage safeties in the 2015 NFL Draft as he gave up only 14 catches on 39 targets last season. This ranked first of any safety in division one football according to Pro Football Focus.
Amos also ranked fourth in yards per coverage snap allowing only 0.30 yards per coverage. As a result of his impressive coverage, Amos led the nation in opponent passer rating. Quarterbacks throwing to Amos were held to a ridiculous passer rating of 13.0 (second best safety in this category was 28.1).
While Amos may not be an elite prospect, the Raiders do not need an elite safety. They need someone that can play consistently and get the job done. That is exactly what Amos will be able to do, and one year of sitting behind Charles Woodson and Nate Allen will only help his development.
Fifth Round (#140 overall)
Vince Mayle, WR, Washington State
Measurables: 6'2", 224 lbs
Yes I will probably be ripped in the comments section for taking a second wide receiver. But when Rod Streater, Andre Holmes, James Jones, and Michael Crabtree will all be free agents next season, I would not be surprised at all if the Raiders drafted two receivers.
Vince Mayle is a ball of clay, he is raw no question about it. But that being said, he is also talented and a big time playmaker. Mayle has limited experience as he has only played two seasons of divison one football, but that did not stop him from dominating the PAC-12 last season totaling 106 receptions for 1,483 yards and 9 touchdowns.
Mayle is raw when it comes to route running and catching the football. He had 13 drops last season which is a lot, but on the other hand he also caught 106 passes. The reason Mayle is behind the curve in technique is because he has only played wide receiver for three years as he was a running back in high school and then a basketball player his first season at Shasta Community College.
There is a definite chance that Vince Mayle could bust, but there is also a realistic chance he becomes a special player. Luckily for the Raiders, Mayle would not have to start his first season or two. This would allow him to improve his technique and reach his full potential. For a fifth round pick, I think the Raiders would gamble and pair him up with Amari Cooper and Rod Steater as the Raiders wide receivers of the future.
Sixth Round (#179 overall)
Zach Vigil, ILB, Utah State
Measurables: 6'2", 240 lbs
After the loss of Nick Roach, the Raiders signed Curtis Lofton in the off-season to replace him. But the Raiders could use some depth, and Lofton is almost 29 and will need to be replaced soon.
Zach Vigil is one of the most productive linebackers in the draft as he recorded 233 career tackles as a three year starter. This last season, Vigil finished with 20.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks earning Second-Team All-Mountain West Honors.
What I love about Vigil is that he is a ballhawk and is always around the football. He plays tough and is a leader both on and off the field. Vigil plays with passion and never quits. While he does not have any wow factors athletically, he had a productive and consistent college career.
With his work ethic, Vigil would have a chance to replace Lofton in two or three seasons. At the worst, the Raiders are adding depth to a position that desperately needs it.
Seventh Round (#221 overall)
Shaquille Riddick, West Virginia, OLB/DE
Measurables: 6'6", 242 lbs
At this point, the Raiders have to be thinking best available and look for potential. Riddick is a long athlete that starred at Gardner-Webb but then did not see the same success transfer over to West Virginia. Part of that was because he played out of position as a five-technique and was not big enough.
But Riddick has undeniable burst and plays with a solid motor. This explosiveness leads me to think he has potential, and in the seventh round if you find potential, you take it regardless of position.