For the Las Vegas Raiders and every other team, the NFL Draft is basically one giant domino effect. One pick can change the entire outlook of the draft or the direction of a franchise as a whole. Just ask the Chicago Bears who, back in 2017, traded up to take Mitchell Trubisky instead of Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson.
While we’ll never be able to predict the future, the Raiders are in a spot this year with the seventh overall pick where they could choose between a quarterback of the future or a defensive cornerstone for years to come. Their decision will impact the team’s outlook as well as alter how general manager Dave Ziegler and head coach Josh McDaniels will approach the rest of the draft.
So, what would Las Vegas’ draft haul look like for each situation; drafting a quarterback at No. 7 or the best defensive player available? Let’s run a couple of mock drafts and find out!
Round 1, pick 7: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
No surprise here. Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson were off the board and we already determined that the Raiders are going with a quarterback in this scenario, so Levis is the guy. In 2021, the Kentucky product was PFF’s second-highest-graded quarterback in the SEC with an elite 90.6 grade.
Round 2, pick 38: Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa
I might be a little higher on Campbell than other people as I think he has the potential to be a late-first-round pick, so this was an easy decision for me. The Iowa product is my top linebacker and would be a welcomed sight on Las Vegas’ defense. His 51 defensive stops ranked second among Big 10 linebackers last season.
Round 3, pick 70: DJ Turner, CB, Michigan
There were a couple of other corners that are ranked higher on PFF’s big board that I considered; Syracuse’s Garrett Williams and TCU’s Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson. However, Williams is coming off a torn ACL and Hodges-Tomlinson has size concerns while Turner lit it up at the combine with a 4.26-second 40-yard dash time and a 9.58 RAS score.
Round 3, pick 100: Chandler Zavala, G, NC State
After back-to-back defensive picks, Las Vegas beefs up its offensive line with Zavala. This gives the team a potential starter in the trenches and fills a major need as the Raiders’ interior offensive line struggled in pass protection last season. The NC State product led ACC guards with an 86.5 PFF pass-blocking grade, 6.5 points higher than second place.
Round 4, pick 109: Jammie Robinson, S, Florida State
Round 5, pick 141: Kobie Turner, DT, Wake Forest
Round 5, pick 144: Viliami Fehoko, DL, San Jose State
Round 5, pick 174: Cory Trice, CB, Purdue
Round 6, pick 204: Brodric Martin, DT, Western Kentucky
Round 6, pick 214: Marte Mapu, LB/S, Sacramento State
Round 7, pick 220: Jordan McFadden, OT, Clemson
Round 7, pick 231: Jason Taylor II, S, Oklahoma State
Round 1, pick 7: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
With Jalen Carter, Will Anderson Jr. and Christian Gonzalez going three, five and six, Witherspoon was the best defensive player available. He also fills a big need for the Silver and Black as they could use someone with the potential to develop into a No. 1 corner. The Illinois product has great instincts and posted the highest PFF coverage grade (92.5) of any cornerback in the country last season.
Round 2, pick 38: Felix Anudike-Uzomah, EDGE, Kansas State
Is finding an edge rusher to pair with Maxx Crosby a pressing need for the Raiders? No, but they didn’t get much from Chandler Jones last season and Jones just turned 33 years old so adding some youth to the position group wouldn’t be a bad idea. Anudike-Uzomah arguably has the best bend in this draft class and recorded the third-most pressures (46) among Big 12 edges last season.
Round 3, pick 70: Tanner McKee, QB, Stanford
Without taking a quarterback in the first two rounds, Las Vegas will likely dip their toes into the next tier of QBs and McKee is the best of the second bunch. He’s accurate and has pretty clean mechanics, but his arm strength and production leave something to be desired. Granted, the supporting cast at Stanford played a big hand in the latter.
Round 3, pick 100: Wanya Morris, OT, Oklahoma
The Raiders need an offensive tackle but more specifically, they need someone who can hold down the right side with Kolton Miller in place. Morris held down that spot for the Sooners last year and allowed just eight pressures in nine games while also posting the second-highest PFF run-blocking grade (76.9) among Big 12 tackles.
Round 4, pick 109: Karl Brooks, DL, Bowling Green
Round 5, pick 141: Juice Scruggs, C, Penn State
Round 5, pick 144: Anthony Johnson Jr., S, Iowa State
Round 5, pick 174: Starling Thomas V, CB, UAB
Round 6, pick 204: Daniel Scott, S, Cal
Round 6, pick 214: Jonah Tavai, DL, San Diego State
Round 7, pick 220: Troy Brown, LB, Ole Miss
Round 7, pick 231: Mikel Jones, LB, Syracuse
Reminder to vote on your choice and share your thoughts in the comments section!
Which mock would you rather have?
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