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Another mock draft has Raiders neglecting edge rusher in first round: Three possible reasons that keeps happening

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NFL: 2017 NFL Draft Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday, Charles Davis of the NFL Network released his mock draft 2.0 and has the Raiders selecting DT Quinnen Williams, RB Josh Jacobs, and CB Deandre Baker. Those are three players who would provide major upgrades but who do not address the team’s most glaring need — edge rusher. Though he’s far from the first mock drafter to do this.

Mel Kiper of ESPN, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report, and Brad Kelly of the Draft Network are just a few to put out recent mock drafts without the Raiders drafting an edge pass rusher in the first round of this month’s draft.

Currently the Raiders have two defensive ends on the roster, Arden Key and Josh Mauro. Mauro who was recently signed is known more as a run stopper leaving Key as the lone threat off the edge.

Mel Kiper Jr, who has over 20 years experience as the lead NFL draft analyst on ESPN has released three mock drafts to this point. Both his 1.0 and 3.0 version did not have a pass rusher in round one. His latest, very similar to Charles Davis, has the Raiders selecting Quinnen Williams, Josh Jacobs, and Rock Ya-Sin.

The Raiders have three first round picks and four picks in the top 35. This years draft class has some very high end talent at defensive end led by Nick Bosa, Josh Allen, Montez Sweat, Brian Burns, Rashan Gary, and Clelin Ferrell.

After the tier one guys at the position you have Jaylon Ferguson, Zach Allen, Oshane Ximines, Chase Winovich, and Joe Jackson who fall into the tier two category.

So the question is why are these experts not mocking one of these names to the Raiders in round one when there is such a big need? Here are three possible reasons.

1. Best player available mentality

Using Charles Davis’s mock draft 2.0, he has Kyler Murray, Nick Bosa, and Josh Allen going off the board one, two, three. That takes the Raiders out of the running for two of the drafts elite pass rushers.

This is a very likely scenario that Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden could be faced with. Do you take the best player available in defensive tackle Quinnen Williams or draft for need and take a Montez Sweat.

The big issue with passing on an edge rusher at four is the risk of missing out on all the tier one guys and having to reach for a guy like Ferguson or Allen (Zach) at the end of round one. Although, I really like Williams it would be more ideal if Josh Allen were the prospect to fall to pick four.

2. Major needs at TE, RB, S, CB, MLB

Yes, the Raiders made a big splash in free agency trading for Antonio Brown, signing Tyrell Williams, Trent Brown, and Lamarcus Joyner but there are still holes to fill at tight end, running back, safety, corner back, and middle linebacker.

It’s hard to argue selecting TJ Hockenson or Josh Jacobs at 24 or Greedy Williams at 27. These are elite players at their positions and would fill big needs. The problem again is with only eight picks in this years draft (currently) not drafting a defensive end with one of your top three picks leaves only five picks left to find an answer at the position.

That is a risky proposition for a team that had 13 sacks in 2018.

3. Relying on depth at the position

Because these are only first round mock drafts it’s hard to know what picks would have been made later in the draft. It’s safe to assume though that if they did not select an edge rusher in round one it’s because they believe there is enough depth at the position for the Raiders to still get an impact player in round two or four.

Not selecting a pass rusher in round one would make it an absolute necessity of monumental proportions that they select at least two with their remaining five picks assuming they do not trade back to acquire more selections.

Some of the names to keep an eye on in the mid to later rounds are Joe Jackson, LJ Collier, Charles Omenihu, Carl Granderson, Anthony Nelson, Christian Miller, Ben Banogu, and D’Andre Walker.