With the Raiders all but eliminated from playoff contention, it feels like a good time to put together the first 7-round Raiders mock draft of the season.
For this mock, we used The Draft Network’s Mock Draft Simulator and tried to make it as realistic as possible. Occasionally when using simulators like this, studs will fall much further than they should and mocks can start to look absurd.It’s easy to make a Raiders 7-round mock look pretty grand, however, considering the team currently has five of the top 109 selections.
There’s a massive gap between the Raiders fourth round pick and seventh round pick due to unknown conditions on a fifth-round pick the Bears might or might not be sending over, and the sixth-rounder that the team unwisely offloaded for about half a season of Trevor Davis.
Please note that compensatory picks are not factored into the draft simulator yet, so the Raiders may be granted additional selections and their positioning from the fourth round on is likely to slide backwards.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at a very defense-heavy 7-round mock.
Round 1, Pick 13: Grant Delpit, LSU Safety
With the first pick, the Raiders go with the best player available approach and grab Jim Thorpe Award winner Grant Delpit.
Safety isn’t a major need for this team after drafting Johnathan Abram at No. 27 overall last year, but pairing Abram and Delpit would immediately give the Raiders a foundational force in the secondary.
Delpit is a physical freak at 6-foot-3, 203 pounds with speed long arms and a mean streak. Paul Guenther’s defensive system relies on both safeties being able to play in single high coverage, split field coverage, and up in the box. Delpit and Abram can both fill all of those roles at a high level.
Round 1, Pick 18: Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina DT/DE
This would be an ideal spot for a trade back, but there are no trades in the mock simulator. So the Raiders decide to go with the best player available approach yet again in hopes of fortifying their defensive front.
As detailed in our first Draft Hunt installment, Javon Kinlaw is a force of nature on the interior who has the versatility to play a multitude of alignments. He should primarily be used as a 3-technique at the next level, but can play some 5-tech in run situations and 1-tech when rushing the passer.
A dominant defensive line can often be the foundation of a Super Bowl roster and Kinlaw could form a commanding, young triumvirate with Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell up front for years to come.
Round 3, Pick 77: Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State WR
No, Tylan Wallace isn’t the prized top-tier receiver that fans are coveting. But he’s a hell of a consolation prize midway through the third round.
Wallace profiles as a starting Z receiver, a spot the Raiders could stand to upgrade at the moment considering Zay Jones’ lack of production. At 6-feet tall and 185 pounds, he’s not a towering presence and is quite raw against press at the moment. But Wallace is a speedy playmaker who creates separation with physical route running and has explosive run-after-catch ability.
On a team looking to add playmakers to the offensive front, Wallace would fit in nicely with Tyrell Williams and Hunter Renfrow in three receiver sets. Teams often look to assemble a basketball starting five in their receiving corps and Wallace could complete that corps.
Wallace at the point, Renfrow as the shooting guard, Williams as the small forward, Darren Waller as the power forward and Foster Moreau as the post-up center. Sounds like a pretty potent starting five to me.
Round 3, Pick 82: Cameron Dantzler, Mississippi State CB
Another one of our Draft Hunt profiles, Cameron Dantzler would give the Raiders another tall, long, physical ballhawk in the same mold as Trayvon Mullen.
Dantzler and Mullen could form a tandem of outside cornerbacks who punch people in the mouth and don’t allow opponents to ever get a clean release off press. His technique is still a work in progress and his play speed is only average, so he should be available at this point in the third round despite ideal size and plus-ball skills.
By adding Delpit in the first round and Dantzler in the third, the Raiders secondary would go from atrocious to fiercely physical and borderline scary for opponents to deal with considering that Abram will be back in the fold as well.
Turning the secondary into a strength? That almost sounds too good to be true.
Round 3, Pick 95: Troy Dye, Oregon LB
There’s not an abundance of linebacker talent available in the 2020 draft, so grabbing Troy Dye here feels like a blessing.
Dye has been on the wish list of many Raider fans, and rightfully so. At 6-foot-4, he currently plays underweight for the linebacker position at 225 pounds, but he should fill out more as he gets older and has time with an NFL strength program.
Dye wouldn’t fix the Raiders woes in coverage from the linebacker position, but he has plus-speed for the Will linebacker spot and has excellent reactive athleticism after diagnosing a play. He’s an ideal fit as a run-and-chase, backside defender who cleans up cut backs and mans up on tight ends and running backs in pass coverage.
Dye might need to be paired with an old-fashioned thumper to be fully effective at the next level, as he will be overpowered at the point of attack against the run and is sometimes undisciplined with his run fits. If Vontaze Burfict is brought back next season as many expect, Dye would be a great counterpart.
Round 4, Pick 109: Shane Lemieux, Oregon iOL
The Raiders double up on Oregon Ducks with consecutive selections, grabbing Shane Lemieux as a potential replacement for Richie Incognito or Gabe Jackson somewhere down the line.
Lemieux is a physical interior lineman with a compact frame for a 6-foot-4, 316 pounder. He’s fleet of foot for his build and is a disciplined blocker who would fit best with a power-running team that utilizes a lot of duo and inside zone blocking. He gets to the second-level well and could eventually step in brilliantly for Incognito with some seasoning.
Lemieux needs some work on his technique as a pass blocker, though he has the raw tools and proper pad level to be a solid blocker. Giving him a year of tutelage from Tom Cable and the interior studs ahead of him would be ideal.
Round 7, Pick 204: Akeem Davis-Gaither, Appalachian State LB
I almost pulled the trigger on TCU’s 6-foot-4, 240 pound running back Sewo Olonilua here, as he’s one of my favorite power backs in the draft. But he might be taken off some draft boards due to red flags spurring from prior arrests and could probably be had as an UDFA.
Instead, the Raiders take another swing at a coverage linebacker with high potential in Akeem Davis-Gaither. The Draft Network has him outside of their top 300 prospects, so this is a true sleeper. But Davis-Gaither will rise up draft boards soon enough and probably won’t be available this late come draft time.
He’s wildly undersized at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds and will likely need to make a living with special teams to start his career, but Davis-Gaither has a high ceiling due to his excellent range, ability to sift through blocks and plus-coverage skills.
Guenther has said that he likes to find those small-school, late round safety-looking linebackers and turn them into studs. Davis-Gaither fits that mold and would be a worthy lottery ticket late in the draft.