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This or That: Darrian Beavers or Josh Paschal

BPA scenario, stabilize the LB corps or add another pass rusher?

Cincinnati v Tulane
Darrian Beavers
Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

At the NFL Combine, new Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels was asked about his approach to the NFL Draft, and the offseason as a whole, and said: “We’re going to try and improve the team, and I think when you start doing position of need, you tend to start skipping over players that really might be better players.”

So, for our third edition of the Raiders NFL Draft This or That series, we’ll be looking at a “best player available” (BPA) scenario with the 86th overall pick. Your options are to add Cincinnati linebacker Darrian Beavers or Kentucky edge defender Josh Paschal.

For those curious, UTSA cornerback Tariq Woolen won our inaugural competition, and Arkansas defensive tackle John Ridgeway was our second big winner.

Darrian Beavers

NFL Mock Draft Database consensus big board rank: 86th overall, 3rd round

Full Scouting Report link (via The Draft Network)

The Skinny:

A 6’4” and 237-pound linebacker who logged an impressive 6.91 three-cone time at the combine and can make plays from sideline to sideline. Beavers is also a smart player that can take away the underneath areas in zone coverage. However, he isn’t someone defensive coordinators can rely on consistently in man coverage or on deeper zone drops.

Case for:

There is one line in particular from the Cincinnati Product’s scouting report on TDN that stood out to me: “His style of play translates well to hybrid-front defenses and surely the Bill Belichick disciples will gravitate toward his skill set.” Las Vegas has earned the moniker of ‘Patriots West’ as nearly every coach they’ve brought in comes from that tree. And while we are talking about a BPA scenario here, linebacker will likely be a need for the Silver and Black next offseason with Denzel Perryman and Jayon Brown playing on contract years.

Case against:

While Beavers is a good run-stuffing linebacker who can cover the short zones, his struggles in man coverage and deeper zones are potential red flags. The modern-age linebacker typically sacrifices the former for the latter in a pass-happy league, so the Raiders would risk using their first pick on a player whose impact in the passing game is minimal. Also, the former Bearcat projects as more of a year one project and special teamer who can develop into a starter rather than someone who can contribute on defense right away.

Later LB options: Brandon Smith, Penn St (ranked 105th overall), Terrel Bernard, Baylor (123rd), Jesse Luketa, Penn St (137th)

Josh Paschal

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 18 Chattanooga at Kentucky
Josh Paschal
Photo by Jeff Moreland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

NMDD rank: 84th overall, 3rd round

Full Scouting Report link (via The Draft Network)

The Skinny:

A versatile defensive lineman who played up and down the Wildcats’ line last season. Paschal fits the profile of a “jack of all trades” type of player and is well-renowned for his character and leadership, having battled back from a malignant melanoma diagnosis in 2018 and ascending into a role as a team captain in 2020. The problem is that he also falls into the “master of none” category and lacks some of the flexibility/bend you’d like to see from a typical edge rusher.

Case for:

Coincidentally, Paschal’s TDN report also includes a line about how he’d be best utilized in a Belichickian scheme that asks players to play multiple spots and serve multiple roles. He’d be perfect in Patrick Graham’s system as the Kentucky product can both two-gap and penetrate against the run, and rush the passer from multiple alignments. The Raiders’ defensive line could use some help getting pressure up the middle and he could be part of the solution.

Case against:

With Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones under contract for the foreseeable future and Malcolm Koonce waiting behind them, there isn’t a whole lot of room on the edge of Las Vegas’ defense. While Paschal (268 lbs) can come off the bench as a situational interior rusher, he’ll likely have to add some weight to fit the profile of a typical every down 3-4 defensive end or a 4i-technique, and he’s pretty full-framed already. In other words, the Raiders could run the risk of not being able to maximize Paschal’s versatile skillset with how their roster is currently constructed.

Later EDGE options: Sam Williams, Ole Miss (106th overall), DeAngelo Malone, Western Kentucky (125th), Dominique Robinson (131st)

Poll

Who would you take with the 86th pick?

This poll is closed

  • 67%
    Darrian Beavers, LB, Cincinnati
    (346 votes)
  • 32%
    Josh Paschal, EDGE, Kentucky
    (168 votes)
514 votes total Vote Now