The 2019 NFL Draft is just over a month away, which means that The Game Haus will be doing draft profiles for every team. Each NFL team will be looked at heading into this year’s draft including what their needs are and who they could be targeting. The Oakland Raiders will be the fourth team looked at.
The Raiders finished last season with a 4-12 record after bringing head coach Jon Gruden back from the broadcast booth. They traded away their best player on both sides of the ball in Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper but brought in three first round picks in the process.
The Raiders had a bottom five offense, scoring only 18 points per game. They ranked 18th in passing yards and 23rd in rushing. Quarterback Derek Carr was solid, completing nearly 69% of his passes for over 4000 yards, 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He started the season throwing a lot of interceptions but had 11 games in a row without a pick before throwing two in his last game. Marshawn Lynch only played six games at running back before suffering an injury. Doug Martin was solid after taking over, with over 700 yards on 4.2 yards per carry. The receiving corps was not able to create much separation and the offensive line did not protect Carr well at all. Oakland has vastly upgraded both its receivers and offensive line in the offseason. They traded for Antonio Brown, signed speedy receiver Tyrell Williams and signed left tackle Trent Brown.
The defense was even worse than the offense and allowed 29.2 points per game, the worst mark in football. Gruden was right when he ironically said, “We need a pass rusher,” just weeks after trading All-Pro edge rusher Khalil Mack. The pass rushing situation is not in a good place. On the bright side, defensive tackle is a strength with talented young pieces Maurice Hurst and P.J. Hall. The linebacking corps is better after signing Vontaze Burfict but at best he is a temporary fix. They still need to upgrade the linebacking corps. The secondary is currently in a good position after second year corner Gareon Conley and third year safety Karl Joseph played well last season. After signing safety Lamarcus Joyner in free agency, all they need is to draft a cornerback to pair with Conley.
2019 NFL Draft Picks
The Raiders have eight draft picks this year to continue building their team.
First round (three picks): No. 4, No. 24, No. 27
Second round (one pick): No. 35
Fourth round (one pick): No. 106
Fifth round (one pick): No. 140S
Seventh round (two picks): No. 218, No. 235
Edge Rusher- Oakland is in dire need of an edge rusher. They have to add at least one this draft.
Offensive Tackle- Their starting guards would currently be Kolton Miller, who struggled last season, and Gabe Jackson. This is a key area of need.
Linebacker- Either a pass rushing or coverage linebacker would benefit the team.
Running Back- Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin are atop the depth chart right now, so adding a young back would be helpful.
Cornerback- Gareon Conley looks to be the answer on one side of the field, but Oakland still needs someone opposite him.
2019 NFL Draft Targets
Pick No. 4: Quinnen Williams, Defensive Tackle, Alabama
This pick might be contrary to the Raiders top need at edge rusher, but Williams is a great pass rusher in his own right. If Nick Bosa and Josh Allen are both gone by this pick, Oakland may very well take the former Alabama lineman. He is a complete package who can barrel into running backs as well as sidestep o-linemen to get to the passer. Pairing him aside Maurice Hurst would be something special.
Pick No. 24: Montez Sweat, Edge Rusher, Mississippi St.
If Oakland doesn’t get an edge rusher with their first pick, they need to draft one with their second one. That might mean moving up a few spots from 24 to get the guy they want. But they have to get one in the first round. Montez Sweat was widely considered a top 10 pick before it was discovered that he has a heart condition. If he falls in the draft, the Raiders should pounce since Sweat’s condition is considered low-risk. Sweat is great at getting to the quarterback and has a variety of pass-rushing moves in his arsenal. They are clearly willing to take the risk, since they took Hurst, who also has a heart issue, in last year’s draft.
Pick No. 27: Byron Murphy, Cornerback, Washington
If the Raiders indeed keep all three of their first-round picks, drafting Murphy late in the round would not be a bad choice at all. He is great at reading receivers and sticking with them on their routes. In addition, Byron Murphy is a very good tackler, both down field and in the run game. Adding Murphy could complete the secondary and make it one of the most talented in football.
Pick No. 35: Mack Wilson, Outside Linebacker, Alabama
Wilson is a linebacker who is good in coverage of both running backs and tight ends. In addition, he has the athleticism and pursuit to chase down ball carriers and make plays in space. While he is inconsistent when it comes to stopping the run, he has good instincts of which lane the running back is hitting. Wilson is the all-around backer that Oakland needs.
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