Oakland Raiders: 2017 Mock Draft

David Wilson – Apr 16, 2017

This years draft is interesting, because of both the quality of the current roster the depth of talent at a number of positions that Oakland needs to upgrade.

Those positions are the defensive secondary and running back  which may come into play if (if Marshawn Lynch cannot reach a deal with the team).

At this point their greatest need is clearly at linebacker, but I think Reggie waits until at least round three to address that, due to his belief in the low value on the position.

In constructing this mock draft, I am currently working on the very fair supposition that Marshawn Lynch is playing running back for Oakland next year.

Round 1 (Pick 24) Kevin King – CB - Washington. My projection is that Rueben Foster, Zach Cunningham, and Hasson Reddick are all gone at this point. So Oakland goes with another defensive need at cornerback. The Raiders may go corner even if Riddick and Cunnungham are on the board, and possibly won’t consider Foster. I have heard a lot of talk about Chidobe Awuzie but I think Kevin King is a far better player and the Raiders have had visits with him too. I would prefer the Raiders went with Tre’Davious White, who I think is an even better player, but this they have not shown interest there, and this is a projection of what I think Oakland will do, not what I would do. Reggie has shown interest in King and there is a lot to like about him.

At 6’3” tall, he runs a 4.43 40, posts a 39.5” vertical leap, and had the best 3 cone drill time of any player at the Combine. All his other numbers were elite level too, this is one talented kid.

If you saw his one handed interception v Arizona State, it is evident that he has some excellent ball skills.

King’s ability to cover bigger receivers is what the Raiders covet, and he also has the versatility to play in the slot.

Round 2 (Pick 56) Tanoh Kpassagnon – DE – Villanova. This is higher than Kpassagnon goes on most draft boards, but I think that Reggie might reach for him as he ticks pretty much all the boxes. He was a team captain in college, loves football and a weight room junkie. He has freakish athleticism for a 6’7” 290lb player, and has ridiculous almost 36” arms. He had an excellent Senior Bowl (including an outstanding interview I hear) and proved he could mix it with the big boys. Players like that don’t last long on draft day, and someone is going to pull the trigger on him earlier than a lot of analysts project. Oakland really needs a player who can push the pocket from the interior, and Kpassagnon can do that. Yes, he is raw and has some work to do in terms of his technique, but he has the work ethic and character to get the best out of himself, and those are the guys that Reggie loves and might reach for. He won’t be there in the third, and the Raiders want him so get him here

I can’t resist noting that the last time the Raiders took a defensive lineman out of Villanova in the second round (Howie Long), it worked out pretty well. 

Round 3 (Pick 88) Blair Brown – ILB - Ohio. Oakland needs help desperately at ILB but knowing Reggie I feel they will wait until at least round three to address it. Duke Reilly won’t last until the 88th pick, so they go with Brown. He might be just a tad undersized, but he plays big, has excellent instincts, and Pro Football Focus have him as the most efficient tackler in this years linebacking class. Brown’s tape clearly bears out that statistic. He is athletic enough to match up in coverage (4.64 40) with good short area quickness, and even though he is projected as a round 4-5 pick, I really believe he goes earlier than that.

My projection is that time will show this to be a sound pick. 

Round 4 (Pick 168) John Johnson – FS – Boston. Johnson has good instincts and range, and is a sure tackler with a great feel for the game. He can also play some corner, and Jack Del Rio does love versatility. He takes a year to learn under Reggie Nelson, and has the talent to be a starter down the line.

It is a demonstration of how deep this draft is in the secondary that Johnson is available here. 

Round 5 (Pick 168) Elijah Lee – LB – Kansas State. Lee is a player who impressed me more every time I watched his tape. He is similar to Blair Brown in that he is a very sure tackler and has good instincts, meaning he is rarely out of position. Lee will need to put on 10lbs or so (he is 229lbs) but has the height (6’2”) and overall athleticism to play in the NFL as a three down linebacker. The LB situation is critical for Oakland, and more that one player is needed. I really like Lee in round five. 

Round 6 (Pick 208) Brad Seaton – OT – Villanova. Whilst the interior of Oakland’s line is strong, they have a spot that needs filling at right tackle, and we known that Donald Penn can’t play forever on the left side. A developmental tackle is needed, and at 6’7” and 310lbs, Seaton fits what the Raiders do on offense (although he has the ability to fit into a zone scheme too). Give him to OL Coach Mike Tice and see what he can do with him, Seaton comes from a small school but has plenty of potential. 

Reggie is going to pick up some special teams players in the 7th round (Raiders have two picks in the  7th) to replace those lost to free agancy, and I’m not going to try and guess those.

I also stick with the above prediction that Reggie will take two linebackers, a defensive lineman, two defensive backs and an offensive lineman (unless Marshawn Lynch comes back) in the first six picks.

Notes on other players.

Every year when watching the tape, you find players who I look at and wonder why they are rated so low/high.

Here are a few of this years crop

Tre’Davious White – CB – LSU. As I already mentioned, White is a top end cornerback talent and comes from a program that has turned out quality defensive backs for many years. A sticky cover guy, he rarely gives up an uncontested catch and is always up there fighting for the ball. I have him very high on my draft board, and I would love the Raiders to take him at 24.

Jabrill Peppers – S – Michigan. I see some mock drafts with Peppers going in the top ten, which to me is crazy. Apart from clearly outstanding athleticism, I just don’t see how he grades out as a first round pick. He takes bad angles to the ball carrier and often overruns the play, can’t get off blocks, and consistently gives up separation in coverage due to poor technique. Big bust potential here.

Caleb Brantley – DT - Florida. Several mocks have the Raiders taking Brantley in round one, but I just don’t see him as a day one pick. I don’t see him consistently collapsing the pocket or beating his guy, and a lot of the press he gets is due to the team he played on. He is just a comfortable projection for analysts posting mocks as the Raiders need interior line help. Reggie isn’t likely to take him in the first round.

Ryan Ramczyk – OT – Wisconsin. I don’t see Ramczyk getting past Denver at number 20 at the very latest, but there are some credible mock drafts where he is available at 24 when the Raiders pick.

With the draft being so often a crap shoot, you take a sure thing when you can get it, and things you are always bet on as the safest pick in any draft are Wisconsin linemen. Ramczyk is the real deal, and could instantly start at right tackle before moving over to the left following Donald Penn’s retirement. Not likely he is available, but Ramczyk can do it all, and makes it look easy. If he is there, Reggie takes him as long as he checks out medically.

Less than two weeks to the draft now, and unless Lynch signs, I am pretty happy with my draft board (which is why I waited so long to post it…).

Raider on brothers, with a solid draft, this team is a Superbowl contender.


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Who should the Raiders take with the 24th pick of the 2017 NFL Draft

Jarrad Davis - LB - Florida
Zach Cunningham - LB - Vanderbilt
Kevin King - CB - Washington
Tre'Davious White - CB - LSU
Chidobe Awuzie - CB - Colorado