After losing most of their games and their best players, the Oakland Raiders full-scale rebuild begins this offseason, as the team attempts to maximize three first round picks and five selections in the top 66 spots on the board.
There are plenty of needs for the team to address, all of which are detailed in our extensive NFL team needs page. Most notably, the Raiders must find a way to build on their current pass rush group, as well as add significant help at cornerback, wide receiver and linebacker.
In order to make these selections, I fired up The Draft Network’s Mock Draft Machine, which releases to the public on February 25th. You can draft for one team, two teams, heck, you can draft for all 32 teams if you’d like. Make sure to keep your eye out for the launch!
Round 1, Pick 4: Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
In this simulation, Brian Burns came off the board before Allen, which might not be as far-fetched as people think it is. Either way, this is a no-brainer pick for Oakland, who is in desperate needs of leadership, upside and pass rush ability on defense. Allen provides all three.
Round 1, Pick 24: Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
Murphy might not be the biggest or fastest cornerback, but he’s technically sound, scheme diverse and has outstanding closing burst on the ball. His eyes and anticipation in zone or off-man remind me of Kyle Fuller. He’d be perfect to play opposite Gareon Conley in Oakland.
Round 1, Pick 27: N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
I would opt for a different wide receiver given who was still on the board (Riley Ridley, Marquise Brown, Deebo Samuel), but I could see Oakland looking for a more prototypical WR1 with strong production in Harry, despite the fact his athletic traits and separation ability might not be on par with a first round value.
Round 2, Pick 35: Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State
A big hitter with great closing speed, Abram’s physical style of play and athletic measurables should make him a higher pick than his somewhat questionable tape would suggest. Billed as a great leader with significant upside, Abram would be a welcome addition to the Raiders locker room.
Round 3, Pick 66: Emanuel Hall, WR, Missouri
Don’t rule out the Raiders selecting multiple wide receivers in the top 100 picks of the upcoming class, as none of the pass-catchers on their current roster will be there much longer. Hall brings a speed element that Harry can’t, showing outstanding ball-tracking ability and nuanced releases this past season.
Round 4, Pick 100: Jace Sternberger, TE, Texas A&M
Somebody is going to slide in this tight end class, as the position just doesn’t hold enough value for eight guys to come off the board in the top 100 picks…or at least I think it doesn’t? In any event, Sternberger is an athletic pass catcher with good speed and terrific contact balance post-catch. He’ll help round out the new-look Raiders weaponry.
Round 5, Pick 131: Tre Watson, LB, Maryland
The Raiders have a need at linebacker, but this just isn’t a very good linebacker class. I’m not about reaching for need at a position that lacks value in general, especially when the Raiders have so many other significant holes to fill on their roster. Watson is a solid day 3 pickup, with decent athleticism and the physicality to project to at least a two-down role.
Round 6, Pick 184: Devine Ozigbo, RB, Nebraska
The NFL reportedly isn’t in love with Ozigbo, but the TDN staff is. He can move for a big back, with light feet and a physical running style that could make him a heavy usage back in the NFL. Running back is the position to draft on day three, and Ozigbo’s traditional frame and sneaky good receiving skills (as shown at Shrine) might make him one of the sleepers of the class.
Round 7, Pick 196: Gary Jennings, WR, WVU
Let’s keep adding potential playmakers. Jennings is raw and will suffer some drops, but size, speed and athleticism are what you take chances on during day 3 of the draft. Jennings could give the Raiders another vertical threat to pair with Hall and Harry, but he’ll likely need some time to develop.
Round 7, Pick 213: Jordan Brailford, EDGE, Oklahoma State
Brailford was impressive in the Shrine Game, but his injury history, lack of elite traits and schemed production at Oklahoma State will likely push him down the board a good bit. I like him on day 3 as a versatile edge who can move around, providing good depth to Allen, Arden Key and whoever else the Raiders bring in during the offseason.
*REMINDER*: You can play general manager for your favorite team too when Mock Draft Machine releases to the public on February 25th!