With the Raiders calmly assembling their team, questions on one side of the ball remain. The draft appears to slowly evolve into a defensive one. While this class boasts many offensive talents, the feeling is that the Raiders will go heavy defense early and often in this draft. Reggie McKenzie knows exactly what he wants out of the selection process.
Round 1: Gareon Conley CB, Ohio State As mentioned in a Cover 32 article this week, CB Sean Smith’s days as a corner may come to an end soon. Conley possess the size and agility that Del Rio loves from his corners. Conley could wait his turn and man the slot CB right now. With that said, don’t expect him to wait long.
Round 2: Dalvin Tomlinson DT, Alabama: A soggy defensive interior lead to very little push up front makes Tomlinson a need selection. Whether Ward develops or Edwards fully recovers, attention to this glaring hole must happen. Tomlinson uses brute force to stand up blockers and clog up running lane. Also, he generates a good rush with similar techniques.
Round 3: John Johnson S, Boston College Karl Joseph is the enforcer of that unit. Equally important, there is a need for rangy playmaker to play centerfield and give support. Johnson’s skills translate to the field. Especially, timing his leap on jump balls. When teams test him vertically, he will make a play on the ball.
Round 4: Taylor Moton OT, Western Michigan Despite the signing of veteran Marshall Newhouse, the offensive line depth screams for an infusion of talent. Moton is a Mike Tice lineman: big, tough, strong. Moton will primarily operate from the right side. This should prevent the Broncos from feasting on whoever occupied the RT spot.
Round 5: James Conner RB, Pitt This week, Latavius Murray left for Minnesota. However, his role as the power can be replaced in the later round. Conner is the brutish pile mover that Oakland needs to wear defenses down and prolong drives. Don’t ask him for anything other than abusing defenses with a straight-ahead style.
Round 6: Derek Rivers DE, Youngstown State. Like David Bass and Max Valles before him, Moss fits the profile of a long line of hybrid, DE/OLB types that he drafts. Rivers tested well. On the other hand, the key is seeing him face a jump in competition. On the field, he brings a quick first step and good fluidity with a nose for the ball.
Round 7: Vince Biegel LB, Wisconsin: Granted, Biegel should go higher, but his injury history may cause him to slide. His mentality will get him drafted. Plus, he flashes the ability to get after the quarterback. In addition, Reggie McKenzie will draft at least one linebacker during this draft.
Round 7: Xavier Woods S, Louisiana Tech Woods could give the Raiders immediate depth upgrade. Uniquely, Woods does not care where he plays , but wants the shot to see playing time. Initially starting off on kick coverage units helps him.