Want to be a part of the next roundtable discussion? Tell me who you would pick 12th, 19th, and how you became a Raiders fan. The best answer will join us for the next roundtable discussion.
Cyril thinks that Kenneth Murray is subpar in pass coverage and Evan thinks there’s no substantial difference between Isaiah Simmons and Murray. What’s your opinion on Murray?
Alex: I asked this question because I wanted to see the three film heads flex and argue amongst themselves.
BD: Murray is a fine player and would instantly be the Raiders best linebacker. Murray can certainly play the pass as he has great fluidity and burst to take away passing lanes and rally downhill to make open field tackles. Murray’s best plays come in space. He can struggle getting off blocks however and needs an NFL weight room regimen to become an every down NFL Mike LB. Right now he’s a gap shooting Will LB who needs to be the protected man in the front.
Evan: I have watched a lot of Murray film recently. He is not as versatile as Isaiah Simmons, but he would be a very good option for the Raiders should Simmons not be available at pick 12. Murray’s greatest attributes are his speed and his ability to quickly diagnose plays. Oklahoma used him as a rusher off the edge at times so he has that ability as well. Some are concerned with his coverage skills. From what I have seen he played primarily zone in college, but I have not see anything that makes me think he can’t cover. I’m interested to see how he runs at the combine.
Cyril: Murray is an explosive athlete both sideline-to-sideline and downhill. He’d certainly be the top Raiders linebacker immediately if drafted, and would bring some borderline elite reactionary athleticism to the table. My worries with him come in his rudimentary understanding of zone coverages, limited route feel, and inability to get off blocks with physicality. When scraping the edge, Murray avoids blockers by simply outrunning them to get to the point of attack, but when he’s faced with blockers who get to the second level and get in his path, he doesn’t show much of a plan to get over the top of blocks. In a relatively weak linebacker class, I worry that Murray is being pushed up boards because of a positional depth.
With the 12th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Las Vegas Raiders select ______
Evan: I think the Raiders will trade back with this pick. Simmons, Lamb, and Jeudy are off the board and Mayock/Gruden see this as an opportunity to add a pick in round two.
Cyril: I’m taking the best player at the Senior Bowl, Javon Kinlaw with this pick. I’ve been a big fan of Kinlaw and his 7-foot wingspan for quite some time now, and he looks like the type of interior force that could open things up for Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby. Assembling a Super Bowl-caliber defensive front will be pivotal for the Raiders in stopping Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, so why not give new defensive line coach Rod Marinelli another versatile interior chess piece.
Alex: My first 11 picks, which can be found here, have all the top-tier players at positions of need gone as of right now. I think the wild card of the first 11 picks are the Jets. If they don’t draft CeeDee Lamb, he falls to the Raiders at 12, but if they take him, then I agree with Evan. Trade down.
BD: Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama. Sorry Raiders fans, I just can’t see Isaiah Simmons falling to the 12th overall pick. Jeudy gives Gruden that volume WR he’s been craving since coming back for his second stint. An incredible route runner with great feet and loose hips, think of a speedier Chad Johnson. No way Gruden is passing that up when the marquee defensive players (Young, Simmons, Okudah, Brown) are likely already gone.
With the 19th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Las Vegas Raiders select ______
BD: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma. Shoot, let's do it. Murray won’t look silly in space like the the Raiders current group of LBs. He can match the RB on wheel route like the Chiefs and Chargers like to run. From all accounts he has the leadership and character traits of a foundational player that Mayock likes to take in the first round.
Cyril: Laviska Shenault Jr. is my pick here. He’s not all that refined as a route runner at this point, but Shenault projects as a prototypical X receiver who can also be utilized all over the field. He lined up out wide, in the slot, at tight end, and in the backfield with regularity across his collegiate career. He is a certified offensive weapon and would unlock Gruden’s play-calling creativity. With no linebacker in the first round, I’m looking for Jordyn Brooks (who stuck around for team interviews at the Senior Bowl) in the third round.
Evan: Kenneth Murray. I have done many mock draft simulations and I find myself taking Murray with the 19th pick. I think when it’s all said and done Murray will settle in as a top 20 player and will be a great pick in this spot.
Alex: Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama. There are good linebacker free agents that the Raiders should be giving some attention to. Even in a draft class that has great depth at the wide receiver position, Ruggs is fast, but he isn’t a one trick pony, he can run the route tree. He seems like a slam dunk at 19, but I want to see what the Raiders do in free agency first.
Matt Miller of Bleacher Report has heard rumors that Mayock is going to be more aggressive during this draft. If the Raiders trade both first round picks to draft a QB, how would you feel?
Alex: If the Raiders were going to do this, I’d be down next year for Trevor Lawrence, but there’s not a quarterback that warrants giving up both first round picks to move up in my opinion. If anything the Raiders should be moving up to grab Isaiah Simmons, if they’re going to move up at all.
Cyril: In a poll from last week, about a third of Raider fans said they’d be interested in trading up for Joe Burrow. That isn’t happening, but perhaps a trade up from Justin Herbert or Tua Tagovailoa could be in the cards. I think the opposite scenario could take place, however, with someone trying to trade into the Raiders spot at 12 to grab Jordan Love ahead of the Colts at 13 and Buccaneers at 14.
BD: I wouldn’t be mad at this IF all the top tier defenders are off the board when a trade like this happens. That being said, not sure how the Raiders could justify making that kind of investment in a first round QB when Derek Carr is still due 2/3rds of his 125 million dollar contract. The Raiders can’t cut him until 2021 due to the cap hit they would incur and Carr’s contract basically makes him un-trade-able. Basically if this happens, the front office has ZERO faith in Carr and think paying him millions of dollars not to play is better than the alternative.
Evan: Will not happen. How on earth could the Bengals trade away the opportunity to draft Joe Burrow? The kid grew up an hour and half away from Cincinnati. I think what Miller means about Mayock being aggressive is looking to add picks and move up and down the board.
Break my heart and explain to me why the Raiders won’t fire Paul Guenther to hire Wade Phillips? I understand a scheme change is a pain in the ass, but what building blocks are exactly stopping the Raiders from switching to a 3-4?
BD: Guenther’s defense relies on a big heavy 4 man front and press-man corners. Phillips’ defense relies on a gap shooting 3 man front with pass rushing linebackers and zone corners. The personnel overhaul this would require would take years before coming to fruition. Crosby could be a LEO, Ferrell and Mauro could play 5-tech, and Hankins could play 1-tech. Everyone else would be looking for a job elsewhere. If the Raiders fire Guenther, they will look for someone who can maximize their investments in the front 7 (Ferrell, Crosby, Hurst, Hall etc).
Evan: Gruden seems to be very loyal to Guenther. I think Gruden knows deep down this defense still lacks talent and is being patient with Guenther. I don’t agree that Wade Phillips is the answer.
Cyril: As BD points out, the personnel the Raiders currently have invested time, money, and assets into would have to be overhauled for that type of scheme change. Could there be a change at defensive coordinator? It’s unlikely, but possible. But might that new defensive coordinator be Wade Phillips? In my eyes, there’s no shot.
Alex: I don’t like any of you, and any of your answers. I just want one nice thing in my life, and all three of you couldn’t give that to me.
How did you become a Raiders fan?
BD: I had no choice in the matter, my entire family are Raiders fans, I was born into it. I wouldn’t have it any other way, Raiders and USC Football are the only teams I root for.
Evan: I became a Raiders fan because of Bo Jackson and Marcus Allen back in the days of Tecmo Bowl. Bo Jackson was the most popular athlete at the time when I was young, and he was unstoppable on that game. I also recall as a young kid being attracted to the Raiders logo and color scheme. I grew up in Central NY, so none of my family or friends were Raider fans.
Cyril: I was born in Oakland and raised in the Bay Area. What more can I say.
Alex: I grew up in East Oakland, 10 minutes away from the Coliseum. I couldn’t take three steps outside of my house without seeing Raiders gear for as long as I could remember. It was always the way Raiders fans carried themselves that caught my eye when I was a kid, that silent pride in rocking the silver and black. I was in the 4th grade and knew this was my team.