I’ve been a proponent of the Las Vegas Raiders being aggressive in the 2021 NFL draft in an attempt to bring impact players.
That would likely require a trade up, which hasn’t been the style of the Jon Gruden-Mike Mayock front office to date. The Raiders have owned five first-round draft picks in the past two years and they didn’t make a deal involving any first-round pick.
This year, I believe it’s time for the Raiders to boldly make a move in the draft. They can try to move up using their pick, No. 17, or they could try to acquire a second first-round pick and I think that may be the way to go.
If the Raiders (who had three first rounders in 2019 and two in 2020), can get one more first-round pick this year, that is a major opportunity on which to build a foundation of impact players. And, we all know the Raiders need impact players.
While the Raiders were active in free agency, the likely only true impact player signed was pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue. Yes, backup running back Kenyan Drake, receivers John Brown and Willie Snead, and defensive tackle Solomon Thomas should help, but Ngakoue is probably the only real difference maker in the group.
The Raiders need more.
Therefore, they should try to get into the back end of the first round. The trade of star center Rodney Hudson greatly helped that cause. The Raiders sent Hudson and a seventh-round pick to the Arizona Cardinals for the No. 79 overall pick.
The Raiders can try to package No. 48 in the second round and No. 79 and get into the No. 30-32 range. That would allow them to address both right tackle and free safety (their current two biggest pressing needs) at the top of the draft and they would also have the No. 80 pick, in the third round.
That would be maximizing their draft capital and enhancing their chances of getting players that can help the 2021 roster.