The NFL Draft is just hours away, and outside of essentially the top pick, there are no guarantees as to how the draft will play out. It’s highly likely that the Raiders are going to take a wide receiver tonight. With what pick it’ll be is the million-dollar question.
There are three top guys in this class, according to a lot of experts. Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III and CeeDee Lamb. When the Raiders pick at 12, there’s a chance all three can still be there. There’s a chance one will be there. There’s also a chance none will be there.
If there’s one available, you’d have to imagine the Raiders will select them with their 12th pick. However, what happens if those three guys are off the board at 12? Well, there’s a good chance we can see the Raiders trade out of that pick if they’re not comfortable taking any player around that area.
If they were to move back, here are some notable names that would also be great potential first-round additions.
Justin Jefferson - LSU
A quarterback’s best friend, with the contested-catch focus and extreme ball skills to boost completion percentages. Jefferson failed to stand out as an outside target but saw his stock soar with a monster season from the slot. He has decent speed and separation talent, but he needs to improve as a route-runner, as he’s less likely to see the same freedom in space that LSU’s offense helped create for him. He’s slippery in space and able to stab and save throws with quick hands and fluid body adjustments. Teams looking for an inside/outside possession receiver with the size and savvy to make chain-moving catches could push Jefferson up the board.
Tee Higgins - Clemson
Long, angular frame with cheat-code body control and ball skills when attacking downfield. Higgins is leggy getting off of the press, but those same leggy strides are weapons of separation that help create big plays. He’s played all three receiver spots and can be moved around to match up against cornerbacks. His size and “above the rim” talent make him a uniquely dangerous playmaker deep and in the red zone. The transition to NFL press corners will be an early challenge that could take some time to solve, but he’s an instinctive ball-winner whose traits should win out and make him a very good NFL starter.
Michael Pittman - USC
Big, smart and reliable, Pittman falls into the “possession receiver” bin, but has top-notch ball skills that allow him to bully and best cornerbacks down the field. Improving release quickness against press will be an early focal point in an NFL camp, but his frame and physicality should create work space underneath even with close coverage. He lacks the speed and separation quickness teams covet from WR1 candidates, but he comes from NFL bloodlines and plays with a pro demeanor. He should be a productive plug-and-play talent at WR2 early in his career.
Brandon Aiyuk - Arizona State
Ascending receiving prospect who has shown continued improvement since coming from the JUCO ranks. Aiyuk has size, speed and is a natural pass-catcher who plays with good energy but he must improve physicality to handle contested catches. He can be slick and instinctive to separate out of stems and turns, but getting in and out of standard route breaks tends to limit his effectiveness. He needs more polish, but his ability to create yards after catch could get him some early reps while he’s still developing. He has the potential to develop into a WR3.
Jalen Reagor - TCU
Spotty quarterback play helped cause a production drop, but his focus and competitiveness also seemed spotty at times. Reagor is a smooth athlete with blazing speed who has more playmaking talent than receiver skill and play-callers need to account for that when determining how to utilize him. He’s electric with the ball in his hands so getting it to him quickly rather than asking him to consistently make plays for himself as a ball-winner could be crucial. When 2019 is balanced against his 2018, the grade and projection begin to climb with a versatile receiver who’s able to spice the offensive gumbo.
Denzel Mims - Baylor
Mims is a long-striding outside target with excellent height, weight and speed and an insane catch-radius. He’s a touchdown threat anytime he’s near the red zone, with the focus and body control to finesse and finish catches above the rim. He struggles to release and separate from physical press corners, and he doesn’t consistently compete and outwork opponents for positioning on contested catches. If the route work and intensity catch up with his natural athletic ability, he could become a dangerous “Z” receiver in a vertical offense, but the floor might be lower than some teams are comfortable with.
If they don’t get Jeudy, Lamb or Ruggs, who would you like the Raiders to select?
This poll is closed