Merry Christmas, ya’ filthy animals! After compiling a defense-heavy mock draft last week, let’s take a look at what an offense-heavy mock could look like.
We all know that Jon Gruden is an offense-first guy, so while using The Draft Network’s Mock Draft Simulator, I aimed to make some realistic selections that I could picture coming to fruition on draft day.
As previously noted, 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.
While I would have loved to trade back with the No. 18 to accrue some additional mid-round selections, that’s not allowed in the mock draft simulator.
Round 1, Pick 14: Henry Ruggs III, Alabama WR
Henry Ruggs III is one of those rare receivers that is both well-rounded and has blazing speed to take the top off a defense.
He runs like a 4.2 player on the field and carries his pads well, but he’s also a technician. From the hand fighting off his release to the crispy routes to the way he stems up defensive backs, Ruggs enters the NFL about as pro-ready as it gets.
At 6-foot-flat and 190 pounds, Ruggs doesn’t have an plus catch radius or a penchant for bodying up defensive backs, but the Raiders won’t need him to do that if he can consistently separate from defenders.
Derek Carr has shown an unwillingness to throw to receivers that don’t have a few yards of separation at times, which contributes to his checkdown-happy style. With a guy like Ruggs getting open consistently on all parts of the field, Carr would feel more comfortable throwing deeper passes.
Round 1, Pick 18: Dylan Moses, Alabama LB
The Raiders double up on Alabama players in the first round, filling their top two needs heading into the offseason.
Dylan Moses is a physical freak who would’ve had a chance to go top ten had he not torn his ACL prior to the season. He’s physical, fast and shows keen instincts against the run and pass.
At 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, Moses already has a build suitable for the Mike LB role in the Raiders defense. He would greatly improve their run defense at the second level with perhaps the best block destruction ability of anybody in the 2020 draft. Plus, his coverage chops ain’t too shabby either.
Round 3, Pick 78: Anthony Gordon, Washington State QB
This is a big-time wrinkle that differs from my first mock, with the Raiders selecting Anthony Gordon to come in and compete with Carr.
Gordon is an intriguing prospect who grew up in Pacifica and played JuCo ball at City College of San Francisco before heading to Washington State.
He’s got a big arm, a quick 3⁄4 release, and shows accuracy to all fields when in rhythm. Unlike Carr, Gordon loves to make the splash play and hit deep passes, which works well because he’s quite accurate on long balls. The most intriguing part of Gordon’s game which separates him from other mid-round quarterback prospects is his eye manipulation skills, which are advanced for someone with his lack of experience.
Bringing in Gordon to compete with Carr would bring the best out of both players. And while a Gordon/Ruggs combination could be lethal, he shouldn’t be thrown into the fire right away as he transitions from Mike Leach’s Air-Raid scheme.
Round 3, Pick 82: Solomon Kindley, Georgia iOL
Richie Incognito has looked great, but there’s no escaping the fact that he’s already the oldest guard in the NFL. Gabe Jackson, meanwhile, has struggled this season while battling injury and could be a cap casualty.
Solomon Kindley would fit into the Raiders desire to employ heavyweight maulers on the interior well. At 6-foot-4, 335 pounds, Kindley brings impressive power, a low center of gravity, and more mobility than you’d expect on reach blocks.
The Raiders have proven that they want to invest in a strong offensive front, and Kindley would help them continue to fortify a front that has been one of the league’s best this season.
Round 3, Pick 91: Joshua Uche, Michigan DE
The Raiders have some nice pieces along the defensive line at the moment, but they could definitely use a finishing piece.
Joshua Uche would likely fill Benson Mayowa’s role as the sub-package pass rushing specialist. He’s got awesome bend and quickness around the edge and would make a great third banana to go along with Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell.
Uche isn’t powerful at the point of attack when defending the run, but his quickness allows him to get down the line in backside pursuit quite well.
With a go-to, two-handed swipe move and a few pass rush counters in his arsenal, Uche is one of the top pass rushing specialists available in the 2020 draft class.
Round 4, Pick 110: Trajan Bandy, Miami CB
Lamarcus Joyner has been playing out of position as the Raiders top nickel cornerback, and moving him back to his more natural safety spot could spark a major improvement out of both Joyner and the secondary as a whole.
Trajan Bandy could step in and fill the role of starting nickel corner right away, despite a real chance that he’s available in the fourth round. Bandy is small, at 5-foot-9 and 186 pounds, but he plays so much bigger than that.
He’s physical as a cover corner and when defending the run, attacking opposing ball carries with ferocity and determination. He’s got some short-area burst and a compact lower body that makes his backpedal look efficient and silky.
At the least Bandy could improve the Raiders cornerback depth greatly, as he can play outside, but profiles better as a nickel going forward.
Round 7, Pick 205: Lynn Bowden, Kentucky WR
If you’ve watched any Kentucky football this season, you know who Lynn Bowden is.
If not, he’s wide receiver and all-purpose weapon who switched to quarterback in the middle of the season due to a rash of injuries at the position.
In a draft with a ton of talent, Bowden is likely to get pushed to the backend of the draft. But in the seventh round, he’s quite valuable as long-term project. He’s tough, fast as hell, and has natural hands, and that trio of skills could make him one of the steals of the draft.
In the short term, Bowden can help an offense with gadget plays, jet sweeps and screens, but his route running needs a lot of improvement if he’s going to become a consistent outside threat.
He’d also be the perfect practice squad player for the Raiders, as he could mimic opposing quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers.