Mock draft season is a fun season — for those who like roller coasters in particular. No time of year contains the potential for getting your hopes so high or having your hopes dashed so quickly.
While it’s all essentially a waste of time, it’s fun to think about and fun to research — which brings us to the latest mock draft on NFL.com: a four-round projection from Chad Reuter. Obviously, anything beyond the first round is like throwing darts blindfolded, but hey, still fun.
The point of bringing up this mock in particular is simple: it’s really hard to imagine things going much better for the Raiders. That is especially true if you’ve resigned yourself to the Raiders never drafting a good linebacker as long as Reggie McKenzie is managing the draft room.
In the first round, Reuter has the Raiders picking Caleb Brantley, a defensive tackle from Florida, at No. 24. While not a first-rounder in many mock drafts, the Raiders could use a defensive tackle pretty badly, and so finding a guy they like in the first makes sense. For what it’s worth, Mike Mayock has Brantley as the second-best interior defensive lineman in the draft.
In the second, the Raiders are projected to pick Alvin Kamara, a running back from Tennessee — and this is the best pick of the bunch. While Brantley isn’t a unanimous first-rounder, getting Kamara in the second would make up for it, as he’s projected as high as No. 19 by Daniel Jeremiah. Also, like Brantley, this pick lines up nicely with what could be a position of need for the Raiders.
With their third pick, Reuter has the Raiders picking Zach Banner, an offensive tackle from USC. This one is an interesting pick (and the least attractive) simply because most people wonder whether Banner can actually play tackle at the next level — and if he can’t, then where he fits with the Raiders becomes a massive question mark. In other news, Banner is equally massive: 6’8” and 361 pounds.
Finally, with their fourth selection at pick No. 125 the Raiders get KD Cannon, a wide receiver from Baylor. If you’ve read the “What Condition the Position is in...” series, you’d know that at the wide receiver position, the Raiders are in need of a guy that can stretch the defense vertically.
If they could land Cannon in the fourth round, that problem might be solved pretty quickly. At 6’0” and 180 pounds, Cannon is basically an anti-Seth-Roberts when it comes to the receiver position: while not a perfect route runner or underneath guy, he’s a home run waiting to happen and could be a great compliment to Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree.
Overall, it’s a fascinating haul with four positions of need filled. However, there is one glaring hole: linebacker. Having desperately needed a linebacker the past two seasons, the Raiders keep waiting until the dying hours of the draft before remembering that (and with little success). If they do that again (without solving the problem in free agency), it’ll be a head-scratcher. Then again, if they end up with the four guys mentioned above, it’d be hard to argue about much.