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NFL draft 2021: Who is worth the Raiders trading up for?

There’s a select few players who justify a move up the draft board

Iowa v Northwestern
Rashawn Slater
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

In reality, the top of the NFL draft really doesn’t jibe with the Las Vegas Raiders’ biggest needs.

The draft is heavy at quarterback, wide receiver and cornerback. The Raiders don’t need those spots at the top of the draft — they need a veteran cornerback, not another youngster.

At the moment, the Raiders’ most pressing needs are at right tackle and free safety. There aren’t many players at those spots in their range when they pick at No. 17.

Still, there may be a short list of players that may be worth the Raiders making a move up for.

Let’s look at them:

Northwestern tackle Rashawn Slater:
Some around the league think he may be a left tackle for the long term, but he can certainly step in and fill the right tackle role and stay there for the Raiders. He checks a lot of boxes. He and Kolton Miller could grow old together. The Raiders would likely have to trade up to the No. 10-14 range to get Slater.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 28 Cotton Bowl Classic - Memphis v Penn State
Micah Parsons
Photo by John Bunch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons:
This is a dynamic player, who would transform the Raiders’ defense. Who cares that they don’t have a pressing need at the position? Parsons is the type of player the Raiders need on defense. It would probably take getting into the No. 8-12 range for the chance to draft Parsons.

Alijah Vera-Tucker
Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

USC Offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker:
This is an interesting player who is zooming up teams’ draft boards. He can play right tackle and he may be a long-term guard prospect. Either way, he’d fit the Raiders immediately and ... in the future. He’d go a long way in settling the Raiders’ changed offensive line. It probably won’t take a big trade up to get him, though, it would be risky waiting for Vera-Tucker to get to No. 17.

Michigan pass-rusher Kwity Paye:
Paye may be the player in this group who most likely falls to the Raiders at No. 17, but a lot of scouts around the league think he is special and he may go earlier. If the Raiders are among those who love Paye, it might be worth a short trade up (No. 14-15 range) to get him. I know the Raiders added several players at the position, but if they think he is special, they should grab him. Remember, Yannick Ngakoue is signed for just two years and Maxx Crosby is a free agent in 2023 as well.