The Las Vegas Raiders are heading towards the draft after their first playoff season since 2016. The 10-7 Raiders squad has most of their young talent returning and looking to add pieces to help guide them to consistency in the future.
The first two rounds are crucial for any team to land top players. The first mock draft of the season focuses on the defensive side of the ball:
1st round pick 22-Roger McCreary CB, Auburn
The Raiders got good cornerback play this season from their secondary. Casey Hayward and Brandon Facyson played well and helped keep teams from big plays through the air. Hayward is getting older, and Facyson is not a lockdown specialist. That’s why the Raiders select Roger McCreary cornerback out of Auburn.
McCreary is one of the best man cover corners in the draft with the length and size of a first-round corner. His coverage numbers are excellent, with a 45.3 percent reception percentage when facing targets, according to PFF.com. His standout performance was against Alabama wide receivers, where he allowed a 38% reception percentage on 18 targets.
His man coverage skills are displayed below, forcing an interception with flexibility in his hips to turn smoothly and force a tight throw.
He also has good tackling ability, which allows him to limit YAC. McCreary would fit two high and single high schemes and help the position group.
2nd round pick-Devonte Wyatt DT, Georgia
The Raiders are light on defensive tackles, with Quinton Jefferson and Solomon Thomas becoming free agents. Defensive tackle is a position where you can find cheap players and attack through the draft to find a star interior player. Devonte Wyatt from Georgia could be a steal in the second round.
Wyatt is overshadowed by his freak of nature teammate Jordan Davis. However, Wyatt has special pass-rush skills with elite quickness for 315 pounds. His up-field burst is too quick for college guards, and he is consistently in the backfield on run downs. Rushing the passer is his forte, where he recorded 26 pressures from the interior.
Wyatt does have an issue with defending the run. While shooting gaps can help him get to the passer quickly, it can also allow interior offensive lineman to wash him out of a play. That’s why in the second round, his value is perfect. A defensive tackle with the size and athleticism of Wyatt is an easy pick.