The evolution of Mel Kiper’s mock drafts for the Raiders this offseason has been interesting to say the least. In his first mock draft, he had the Raiders taking no pass rushers, going cornerback, wide receiver, tight end. His second mock draft had them taking not one, but two pass rushers with Rashan Gary at 4th overall and Brian Burns at 27th overall. His latest has the Raiders right back to no taking edge players.
With the first four picks he has the Cardinals taking QB Kyler Murray, and the 49ers and Jets taking edge players Nick Bosa and Josh Allen respectively. So, he goes with the best player available for the Raiders, which many mock drafters have done.
4. Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
Jon Gruden & Co. are the other big winners if Murray goes with the first pick. Instead of the top three defensive players coming off the board, at least one of them would be available at No. 4 in this scenario. And with a dire pass rush in2018, we know the Raiders need help there. Williams (6-foot-3, 303 pounds) is coming off a stellar season and combine, and he’d be an impact player from Day 1 in the middle of the Oakland defense.
In the 20 picks between the Raiders top pick and their next one, Montez Sweat, Rashan Gary, Brian Burns, and Clelin Ferrell are all taken. That could be disastrous for the Raiders watching the top six edge rushers all gone by their next pick.
The only top rated pass rusher still left is Florida’s Jachai Polite who is considered a fringe first round pick. Maybe Kiper thinks the Raiders would wait to see if Polite is there at 35, because he doesn’t have them taking him with either of their final round one picks.
24. Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin, the Raiders’ top two backs last season, are both unsigned free agents, and the position is a huge question mark for Jon Gruden’s team in 2019. Could the best running back in the draft fall to them here? It’s possible. Jacobs has limited tread on his tires -- just 300 career touches for the Crimson Tide -- and is a receiving threat out of the backfield. Oakland has had a nice offseason, and with three first-rounders, these are important picks to get the franchise back on track.
27. Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple
I really liked what I saw on tape from Ya-Sin in his lone season at Temple, when he broke up 12 passes and had two interceptions. He’s an easy mover with outstanding athletic traits. Let’s plug in Ya-Sin (6-foot, 192 pounds) on the other side of Gareon Conley and consider the Raiders’ top needs filled in this first round, with an interior game-wrecker at No. 4, a top running back at No.24, and a starting-caliber corner here.
I can’t help but wonder if Polite were to be taken before the Raiders at 35, just how f—ked they would be at edge rusher next season in this mock draft.