We’re less than two weeks away from the NFL Draft so make sure to get your Las Vegas Raiders draft questions in by next week if you want them answered! Without further ado, let’s dive into this week’s Raiders mailbag!
Question: What was the one prospect you were extremely high on that never panned out?
Answer: Start me off with a softball why don’t ya? Granted, I am the one who orders the questions...
My biggest NFL Draft whiff is someone Raiders fans know too well; Clelin Ferrell.
Back in 2019, I was one of the few people who were aboard the Ferrell hype train. His technique was pretty clean and I thought he had enough strength and power to overcome his limited athleticism but, hand up, I was wrong and it didn’t take long for me to realize it. Although, on draft day, I felt like a genius.
That was also one of my first years where I really dove deep into the draft and, looking back on it now, I had no idea what I was doing. To learn from my mistake, I’ve made sure not to overlook and place a higher emphasis on athleticism when it comes to edge defenders since then. And I will give myself one out/excuse in this scenario, I still had Josh Allen from Kentucky ranked higher and he would have been my pick for the Raiders that year.
Q: Are the Raiders going to find their starting right guard in the draft?
A: Las Vegas wants to see Florida’s O’Cyrus Torrence stay on the board as long as possible. Not that he’ll necessarily be their pick at No. 38, but the longer Torrence stays available (and if he’s there at 38, he’s a good option) the better their chances are that TCU’s Steve Avila falls in their lap.
The top of the interior offensive line board is primarily centers and Cody Mauch from North Dakota State who played tackle in college. Mauch could be a fine player down the line, but I’d get weary of him being a day-one starter seeing as he’ll be making the dramatic jump from FCS competition to the NFL AND switching positions.
Maybe they target one of the Big 10 centers—John Michael Schmitz, Joe Tippmann and Luke Wypler—and have them play right guard for a year until Andre James’ contract expires. If not, they might be relying on striking gold on a fourth-round guard or reaching for need as the guards specifically aren’t that deep this year.
I think that’s part of the reason they re-signed Alex Bars later in free agency. Bars was bad last year, but at least he knows the system and the coaching staff knows what they’re getting in him.
Q: Is Will Levis going to be Jake Locker or Daniel Jones?
A: It wouldn’t surprise to if Levis ended up having a career similar to Jones’, where he’s a solid starting quarterback who people love to argue about how good or bad he is and the truth lies somewhere in the middle. In a way, that’s already kind of the narrative around Levis and I definitely think he’s better than Locker. Injuries also played a big factor in Locker’s downfall, albeit, it wasn’t like he was lighting it up before begging banged around.
Q: Is Moehrig safe? My roommates and I have a running joke that he’s Trevon “Almost” Moehrig because he always almost makes a play and yet doesn’t.
A: Lol, that’s a good one! My initial reaction was to say he’s safe, but if Alex Leatherwood can get cut by Josh McDaniels and co. a year after being a Grucock first-rounder, then Moehrig could easily be on the chopping block after a disappointing season, too.
That being said, I think Moehrig will bounce back this year. Maybe it’s just my blind faith because I was a big fan of his coming out of TCU, but having to learn two different systems in two years is tough for a young player, especially with how simple Gus Bradley’s defense is compared to Patrick Graham’s.
It also could be telling that they haven’t brought back Duron Harmon, meaning the coaching staff might have more faith in Moehrig than we realize. I’d say keep the guy on a short leash but let him play out the first few games of the season before giving up on him.
Q: Is there a linebacker unit in the NFL anywhere near as inexperienced or as bad as the Raiders’?
A: If there is, I don’t want to see it!
Maybe the New York Jets as I think CJ Mosely and Quincy Williams are kind of overrated, but they at least have experience. The Washington Commanders have a pretty uninspiring group with Cody Barton and Jamin Davis, and maybe the Los Angeles Chargers since they replaced Drue Tranquill with an aging Eric Kendricks.
Honestly, I think I’d still probably take those units over what the Raiders have right now, though, especially since you mentioned experience. With Divine Deablo being the cream of the crop right now, I think they have to draft at least one backer to inject some life into the position group. However, that won’t help the inexperience issue, obviously.
A: No doubt. BD would have Marucs on lock.
Q: Is there any chance that Jimmy G can be JMD’s Rich Gannon?
A: There’s definitely a chance as part of what helped Gannon revive his career in Oakland was having a future Hall of Famer to throw to in Tim Brown and then another one a couple of years later in Jerry Rice. Jerry Porter was a pretty good No. 3 option as well.
Don’t get me wrong, Las Vegas’ current crop of wideouts isn’t on that level, but Garoppolo will at least have one future HOFer in Davante Adams and two more good pass-catches in Jakobi Meyers and Hunter Renfrow. But it always comes back to one thing with Jimmy G; can he stay healthy? Until he proves that, I’m not holding my breath that he’ll end up having a career revival in Las Vegas.
Q: Is anyone else see how the Niners are the Raiders of the early 2000s? Terrible injury luck and some heartbreaking playoff games. Great teams but no Super Bowl.
A: I haven’t really put much thought into but I can see where you’re coming from. Both teams also had young offensive-minded head coaches; Kyle Shanahan and Jon Gruden. The biggest difference is the 49ers built the crux of their roster through the draft. So, they’re set up better for more long-term success whereas the early 2000s Raiders were more reliant on free agency and fell off a steep cliff as the roster got old quickly.
That’ll do it for this week’s mailbag. Thank you all for submitting questions and, as your weekly reminder, if you’d like to have your questions answered in a future column, tweet them at me, @MHolder95, or email them to SBPQuestions1@gmail.com.