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Raiders 2021 draft: It may be time to move up in the first round

Las Vegas needs instant impact on defense

Central Michigan v Miami
Gregory Rousseau
Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

There is little doubt what the Las Vegas Raiders need to try to accomplish in the first round of the April 2021 draft.

The Raiders, who own the No. 17 pick, badly need impact defensive players, especially on the defensive line. Ideally, the Raiders will come out of the first round with a top pass rusher who can start to transform the defense.

When he was hired earlier this month, new Las Vegas defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said he wants to build the unit from the front to the back. So, that’s a big clue where the Raiders will be looking to add impact for the 2021 season.

Using Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Media’s mock draft (things will change in the next three months), it looks like the Raiders may just miss the top pass rushers in this draft. The top edge player in Jeremiah’s mock is Miami’s Gregory Rosseau going No. 14 to the Minnesota Vikings, and he has fellow Miami pass rusher Jaelan Phillips going to the Arizona Cardinals one pick ahead of the Raiders at No. 16. If these are the two top pass-rushers, the Raiders need to try to get one of them.

According to Jeremiah, the top defensive talent is at cornerback. The Raiders have invested so much in the draft at that position, they probably will not make a move for the top talent there.

But if the Raiders can make a trade to take a short leap into the 13-16 range, it may be a smart move.

At No. 17, there are no sure things and the Raiders need to score with this pick. So, a short move up for Rousseau or Phillips may be something to consider.