Every week it’s more obvious how much the Oakland Raiders miss superstar edge-rusher Khalil Mack. For goodness sakes, the team has only 11 sacks and they’ve played 13 games! They drafted defensive tackles PJ Hall and Maurice Hurst, whom they really like, this year. So at the top of their draft needs for 2019 will definitely be edge-rusher. Nick Bosa would be a great get for the Raiders.
They had a chance to slide into the No. 1 spot last Sunday after the San Francisco 49ers beat the Denver Broncos but quarterback Derek Carr’s 4th-quarter heroics dropped them to No. 3.
With the 5-8 Cincinnati Bengals, losers of their last five, next on the schedule, the Raiders could win again and thus drop their draft position. But not all would be lost if they can’t get Bosa or Clelin Ferrell — a consolation prize. There’s an edge-rusher prospect flying up draft boards lately who could also be a great get.
His name is Josh Allen. The senior went back to Kentucky this year and it couldn’t have worked out better for him. He was already fast and athletic with great height and length at 6’5”. And he put on 20 pounds of muscle to get up to 260 pounds with strength and power to go with it. It also looks like Allen used that year to improve his bend and hand technique. Now, he just needs to develop counter moves for when his initial move is thwarted.
His initial move got him to the quarterback often in 2018. Allen finished this season with 14.0 sacks, which was fourth in the nation. He also played the run well and was solid in coverage as a 3-4 outside linebacker to earn him the 2018 Chuck Bednarik Award as the nation’s top defender.
Raiders Defensive Coordinator Paul Guenther likes his defensive ends 6’5”-and-up with long arms and Smith has the athleticism of an OLB. The fact that he’s already 260 pounds should make him a much more immediate impact than Arden Key, who will look to improve in his second season with added weight and strength. Smith is projected to go at around No. 10 overall on most draft boards so there’s no need to root against the Raiders for the next three weeks.