The one position we know the Raiders won’t be spending a high pick is quarterback. Past that, if I were to poll readers as to the strongest position on the team, I bet the results would come back with outside linebacker as the number one result.
Even if you see Khalil Mack as purely a defensive end, the Raiders still have Bruce Irvin at outside linebacker and Aldon Smith who is expected to return in March, ready for a full offseason.
Those players in the mix don’t stop Todd McShay from putting an outside linebacker as the Raiders’ pick in his most recent mock draft.
McShay has the Raiders taking Florida linebacker, Jarrad Davis at the 24th pick. Said McShay:
“At 6-foot-2 and 238 pounds, Davis' best fit is at weak-side linebacker. He's an explosive athlete with great range who profiles as an every-down player in the NFL. He could also play middle linebacker if he bulked up a bit. Oakland has needs at both positions and could use a Kwon Alexander-type player like Davis at the second level.”
There is some sense to this selection. Yes, the Raiders very much have a need at middle linebacker, though a player who is ready to step in at that spot right now would be preferable as opposed to a guy who needs to bulk up to get there.
Should the Raiders shift more toward 3-4, as they are expected with the addition of John Pagano to the coaching staff, Davis could be a great fit at one of the inside linebacker spots to replace Malcolm Smith who is an impending free agent.
In McShay’s mock, he has Davis as the second pure linebacker off the board in this draft behind Alabama inside linebacker Reuben Foster.
Also see: 2017 Raiders mock draft database