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Raiders’ draft options: Analyzing the first round position range

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Free agency has altered approach at No. 12, 19

Florida v Missouri
C.J. Henderson

Now that the Raiders have added 12 players in free agency, the focus is on the draft and, of course, their two first round picks.

The philosophy and approach to those first two picks has likely been adjusted after free agency.

The skinny: Linebacker is no longer as important, while receiver and cornerback maybe even more important.

Let’s take a look at both picks:

Draft Pick No. 12
Likely approach prior to free agency: Probably the best defensive player available.
Approach now: Probably the best receiver available. The top candidates include Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III and Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb. It’s the Raiders’ biggest need and they may get their choice of receivers. Don’t discount South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw if he’s available, or Florida cornerback CJ Henderson if the Raiders feel like they can’t risk him being available seven picks later. There is a drop of skill from Henderson to the next wave of corners.

Draft Pick No. 19
Likely approach prior to free agency: Probably a receiver. With the focus being on defense with the first pick.
Approach now: Of course, it’s still fluid because of the No. 12 pick. But if the Raiders do take a receiver at No. 12, they will likely take a cornerback at No. 19 with Henderson likely being gone. LSU’s Kristian Fulton begin a possibility. Linebackers Kenneth Murray of Oklahoma and Patrick Queen of LSU, could be on the list as well, although linebacker is not as great of a need as it was prior to free agency.

The Raiders signed starters Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski. Don’t discount the idea of Raiders taking two receivers in the first round. LSU’s Justin Jefferson, Clemson’s Tee Higgins and Baylor’s Denzel Mims could be possibilities at No. 19.

If the Raiders take either Lamb, Jeudy or Ruggs at No. 12 and one of the two others is available at 19 (iffy at best) the chance of Jon Gruden nabbing a second receiver would likely increase.