The Las Vegas Raiders have had an eventful offseason, as they added a new running back in Kenyan Drake and also signed some other pieces on the defensive line such as Yannick Ngakoue, Quinton Jefferson and Solomon Thomas. They have lost quite a bit on the offensive line, however, as they traded away Trent Brown, Rodney Hudson and Gabe Jackson. The Raiders still have a big opportunity to overhaul their roster with the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft, as Jon Gruden and Co. attempt to record their first winning season since 2016.
Thanks to The Draft Network's seven-round mock draft machine, we were able to run through a full draft acting as the Raiders' general manager. We addressed some major needs and took fliers on a couple of prospects, but here is one attempt at how the 2021 NFL Draft will play out for Las Vegas:
|Round (Overall Pick)||Player||College|
DL Christian Barmore
OT Jalen Mayfield
OL Trey Smith
CB Rodarius Williams
WR Josh Imatorbhebhe
EDGE Shaka Toney
|5 (167)||LB Justin Hilliard||Ohio State|
S Tariq Thompson
San Diego State
While the Raiders did upgrade along the defensive line in free agency, they may not be done just yet. Christian Barmore would be a great pickup for the Raiders, as the first team All-SEC player led the Crimson Tide in sacks from the defensive tackle position. He's got great size and impressive athleticism, but more importantly provides that pass rush from the inside. We then had the Raiders take two offensive linemen in Jalen Mayfield out of Michigan and Trey Smith out of Tennessee. Mayfield doesn't have much starting experience, but impressed when having to protect against some of college football's best pass rushers. He's a right tackle but will probably start his NFL career at guard. Either one is fine, as the Raiders could stand to upgrade at both positions. Smith was one of the lone bright spots for the Vols during their 2020 campaign. He began his college career as a tackle, but found success in moving to the inside as well, as he was named first team All-SEC in 2019 and 2020.
Here's where you can purchase an officially licensed Raiders NFL Draft hat and other Raiders merchandise, some at 65% off.
We had the Raiders get back to addressing the defensive side of the ball with pick No. 80, as they select cornerback Rodarius Williams out of Oklahoma State. Williams is actually the older brother of Cleveland Browns cornerback Greedy Williams, and while he's not some athletic specimen, what's intriguing about Williams is his experience and his length. In the fourth round, we grabbed a wide receiver in Josh Imatorbhebhe. During his time at Illinois, he showed off the ability to make tough catches in traffic and also had can't-miss athleticism. Imatorbhebhe also registered a 46.5-inch vertical, which would have been a combine record if there had been a combine this year. Once again, this is a deep wide receiver class. The Raiders are going to take at least one.
In our fantasy Raiders draft, we have Las Vegas finishing by taking three defensive players. Toney is an All-Big Ten player who finished his career at Penn State with 20.5 sacks in 40 games played, which ranks eighth all-time in Penn State history, and Justin Hilliard is a solid tackling linebacker who can play on the strong side. As for Tariq Thompson, he's a defensive back who can play either safety spot and even some slot corner.