RAIDERS 2019 Draft Review

So here we go again. It has been a full week since the 2019 NFL Draft ended, and you’ve heard and read how every team did just what they needed to do to fix their roster, or you’ve heard how every team screwed things up… again. So let me chime in with the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly for every team in the League. Let’s start off with the Raiders, who may have captured the most nationwide attention, in great part because it was our first chance to see what the tandem of GRUDEN/MAYOCK would conspire to do.
IMO, they done good!

Round 1, Pick 4
CLELIN FERRELL DE CLEMSON 6’4/265 4.79/40 PP#11
This was not the huge shock to me that many made it out to be. I had just bumped FERRELL back to ranking spot #11 a week before the Draft because of the lack of any late buzz about him. I have felt that he’s a potential NFL star since watching him as a freshman, and had him ranked in my Top 6 until a few weeks ago. His Combine 40-time soured some folks, but he is a fine all-around player who can even drop into coverage as a LB, when needed. I have no doubt that he will also pressure opposing pockets on a weekly basis. Some say his stats were puny, but please remember he was slitting tackles with 2 other first rounders. MAYOCK emphasized attitude and leadership in just about every post Draft interview he did. He is a Day One starter, and will be a good locker room influence.

Round 1, Pick 24
JOSH JACOBS RB ALABAMA 5’11/220 4.55/40 PP#29
Count me among those who raised both eyebrows in late March when some Draft experts proclaimed JACOBS to be the top RB in the 2019 Draft class. You can also count me in as a skeptic, when teams insist they don’t draft for need, and they stick to their Board based on talent. By the time the Draft rolled around, the consensus was indeed that JACOBS was the best draft eligible RB. It was also clear, thanks to an OTA injury to VFA signee ISAIAH CROWELL, and the fact that BEAST MODE was not planning on a Training Camp appearance, that a top end RB was indeed a BIG need for the Raiders. So JACOBS got the call here, and will likely see the most action of any Raiders RB in 2019. He’s tough, he’s determined, and has multiple skills. In fact, he might be a bit smaller version of LYNCH.

Round 1, Pick 27
JOHNATHAN ABRAM SS MISSISSIPPI STATE 5’11/210 4.44/40 PP#32
He was the Top S on my prospect ranking list. He’s not quite the ball hawk that THORNHILL is, but he is a ferocious tackler in the Raiders mold of guys like TATUM and ATKINSON. He lost some playing time in college for targeting issues with some of his hits. He’ll have to tone that down a bit for today’s NFL, but he is absolutely devoted to stopping the run game, and could be used as a zone blitzing SS/LB hybrid. He recorded 99 tackles last season for the Bulldogs. His speed and aggressive style of play should also make him a valuable contributor on Special Teams. They will find multiple ways to utilize his talent and fire.

Round 2, Pick 40
TRAYVON MULLEN CB CLEMSON 6’2/199 4.48/40 PP#53
His size and athleticism made him a coveted prospect when he declared early for this year’s Draft. Some question his speed for the Corner as a pro, however, his length and anticipation help make up for the lack of a sub-4.40/40 time. He shows good anticipation and fluid hips to close on receivers after their breaks. He’ll eventually be a starter as a pro, and even if he needs some time to adjust, he will certainly see plenty of action in sub-packages.

*Let me take a break here to comment on the misconception that the Raiders had a plethora of Picks in this Draft. The key was 3 First Rounders, but overall, they ended up making 9 selections after trading around a bit. A nice group, but far from the 12 Picks the leaders had. This group had no chance to meet all of their pressing talent needs.

Round 4, Pick 123
MAXX CROSBY DE EASTERN MICHIGAN 6’5/255 4.68/40 PP#130
This young man was an ascending player after the Combine. He has nice athleticism and excellent length. He shows a bit of a pass rush, and sideline to sideline pursuit. He is in constant motion, and has a pretty good idea where he is going. Sophistication and a bit of patience will come with pro coaching, but when you look at his energy and his stat sheet for 2018, you can see why he got early Day 3 Draft attention: 70 T’s, 19 TFL, 7.5 S’s, 3 PBU’s, 1 INT, 4 FF’s, 7 QBH’s. He is a a big lump of clay who gets a lot done with energy out on the field. Now, he needs his FBI coached up a bit, without slowing him down. Good value here.

Round 4, Pick 129
ISAIAH JOHNSON CB HOUSTON 6’2/208 4.39/40 PP#97
He started his college career as a WR, switching to CB in 2017. After a solid athletic performance at the Combine, he started getting Day 2 talk. He was at the SR Bowl, where his inexperience showed at times, but his athleticism was clear. His 33″ long arms help him in recovery when his man gets past him, and he has ball skills based on his time serving as a wideout. Getting him late in Round 4 is solid value. He has long term starter potential, but now it’s up to the secondary coaches to help him develop.

Round 4, Pick 137
FOSTER MOREAU TE LSU 6’4/253 4.66/40 PP#167
IMO, this Pick shows you how the Draft functions as a monetary relief tool under a tight Salary Cap system like the NFL has. Grabbing MOREAU late in Round 4 might have been a bit of a reach, but as we found out just a few days ago, it allowed the team to release vet TE LEE SMITH, whose primary job was blocking for their run game. SMITH’s price tag was at least double what MOREAU will make for the next few years, and to be honest, MOREAU has a wider skill set for them, because in addition to being a solid blocker, he can catch. He has shown good hands in college, but did not get targeted much in the LSU Offense. I like MOREAU’s talent and size numbers, including that 40-time at over 250 lbs.

Round 5, Pick 149
HUNTER RENFROW WR CLEMSON 5’10/184 4.56/40 PP#254
He was the third Clemson draftee by the Raiders. RENFROW isn’t going to win much on the track circuit, but with pads on, he was one of the best clutch receivers in college football the past 3 years. His hands measure less than 8″, but he catches anything thrown within yards of him; high, low, or wide. He gets open, despite lack of outstanding speed. Some of that is good route running, but even more is due to his feel for finding open spaces to settle into. He will be ranked at the bottom of the Raiders WR depth chart, but I guarantee he will make more caches than most of his teammates, and should be another great locker room guy.

Round 7, Pick 230
QUINTON BELL ER/LB PRAIRIE VIEW A&M 6’3/238 4.5/40 NR
MAYOCK stumped the bus at NFL Network with his one. Me, as well. Clearly MAYOCK spied this guy on a tip from one of his many college contacts around the country, then he convinced GRUDEN to allow him to pick him this late, with visions of ROBERT MATHIS, perhaps, dancing in his head. I can’t say anything more about the young man because I have never seen him in action. In MAYOCK we trust.

Overall, I see this as a good first effort for MAYOCK/GRUDEN. I’ve seen some folks rank this as one of the worst draft efforts of 2019. I don’t buy that. I see the value, and like most of these players. I would also chime in, that at first blush, their URFA signings look pretty solid so far, as well.

Pigskin