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NFL mock draft 2018: Raiders set aside top needs for value as Kiper, McShay go head-to-head for 3-rounds

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NCAA Football: Belk Bowl-Wake Forest vs Texas A&M Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t know how many more quirky little ways ESPN’s Mel Kiper and Todd McShay can mock the NFL draft, but there are a lot. They’ve done individual mocks, dueling mock drafts, and now a ‘head-to-head’. This mock draft they alternate picks, so each pick is reliant upon who the other selected ahead of them.

The top ten looks like this:

1. Cleveland Browns (Kiper) — Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

2. New York Giants (McShay) — Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

3. New York Jets (Kiper) — Sam Darnold, QB, USC

4. Cleveland Browns (McShay) — Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State

5. Denver Broncos (Kiper) — Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

6. Indianapolis Colts (McShay) — Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Kiper) Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB/S, Alabama

8. Chicago Bears (McShay) — Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame

9. San Francisco 49ers (Kiper) — Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

10. Oakland Raiders (McShay) — Derwin James, S, Florida State

That coin flip looms large, but James is a good consolation prize. He’s one of the most versatile prospects I’ve evaluated, and Oakland needs playmakers on D.

And the Raiders picks in the second and third:

41. Oakland Raiders (Kiper) — Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M

Kirk is the best slot receiver in this class, and he’s a fantastic return man. I could see him being picked at the end of Round 1.

75. Oakland Raiders (Kiper) — Tyquan Lewis, DE, Ohio State

Lewis showed flashes of being a dominant player, but his tape is up and down. Oakland needs edge defenders.

One thing quite interesting here is how they ignore the Raiders top three needs at offensive tackle, linebacker, and defensive tackle. Though I can see their thinking at least with their top two picks.

Derwin James is a tremendous talent as a 6-2, 215-pound strong safety. He would be the more certain talent which would basically mean the team is giving up on uncertain talent Obi Melifonwu without a single start at the position which they drafted him to play.

Slot receiver is among the team’s top needs and Kirk is among the top slot receivers in this draft. I have seen him as a first round pick in some mock drafts. Notable players on the board in this mock draft when the Raiders pick at 41 include OT Brian O’Neill, CB Isaiah Oliver, OT Tyrell Crosby, DT Harrison Phillips, DT Maurice Hurst, and OT Orlando Brown.