My approach on reacting to mock drafts is pretty simple: I ignore most mocks because there’s simply too many of them and they’re often just exercises in speculation.
But sometimes during the draft season (the draft will be held April 28-30 in Las Vegas) I will write off of mocks when I’m intrigued by the selection. Such is the case with Daniel Jeremiah’s latest effort (he’s pretty good, too) for NFL.com.
Jeremiah has the new Raiders’ regime selecting Mississippi State right tackle Charles Cross with the No. 22 draft pick. That’s right — another right tackle. Of course, former Raiders’ leaders Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock surprised the league by taking Alabama right tackle Alex Leatherwood with the No. 17 pick. He was considered a reach and he was moved to right guard early in the season.
It is too early to tell how the new Las Vegas leadership will use Leatherwood. He would be moved back to right tackle or stay at guard. But he will likely stay a starter, even though he struggled at times and had penalty problems.
If new Raiders’ head coach Josh McDaniels and new offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo think they want to keep Leatherwood at guard, there will be a need at right tackle. Of course, when a team drafts a player at one position in the first round, they don’t expect to do it again.
Of course, I understand that their is new leadership. Out are Gruden and Mayock and in is McDaniels and new general manager Dave Ziegler. But it’s still not an excuse. If McDaniels and Ziegler actually do draft Cross, it is an indictment of Leatherwood and their projection of him in the future. So, if Cross is the pick, it takes away from getting a player at a big need position such as wide receiver or defensive tackle.
My concern about this pick is not about Cross. it’s about Leatherwood. Cross may become an excellent player, but it would still not be an ideal usage of picks. it’s almost like the Raiders keep swinging and missing with high picks in the secondary. It stalls progress in the big picture.
Who knows where the Raiders will go at No. 22, but drafting Leatherwood’s replacement at the position he was picked out a year earlier would certainly be interesting.