So Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden really just drafted a full slate of NFL Draft picks for a NFL franchise. Sixteen months ago, these guys were sitting in broadcast booths and grinding up the tape for ESPN and NFL Network -- look at them now. Keep living the dream, gentlemen. The Raiders' direction as a franchise is....ah, aggressive. The team has traded for Antonio Brown, paid out piles of #CEESH for OT Trenton Brown and has explored physical football players at every turn.
Their draft class reflects the same mentality as the one that has led to Oakland signing LB Vontaze Burfict and holding a workout for veteran guard Richie Incognito.
And when you choose to look at the Raiders' draft class through that spectrum, it's actually quite easy to like what they were able to do. Locking in physical dudes to help restore the "Raider Way" may not net the highest ceiling draft class of 2019, but I feel pretty good that the Raiders know exactly what they've got in their rookies.
Here's a look at the Raiders' 2019 Draft class:
1.04 - DE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson
1.24 - RB Josh Jacobs, Alabama
1.27 - S Johnathan Abram, Mississippi State
2.40 - CB Trayvon Mullen, Clemson
4.106 - DE Maxx Crosby, Eastern Michigan
4.129 - CB Isaiah Johnson, Houston
4.137 - TE Foster Moreau, LSU
5.149 - WR Hunter Renfrow, Clemson
7.230 - DE Quinton Bell, Prairie View A&M
Best Pick: DE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson
Call me crazy, I know you will. But I had Ferrell scored as my 7th overall player in this year's class. I don't think drafting him at #4 was all that much of a reach, although I do also understand supply/demand would suggest otherwise. With the Raiders' marquee pick, they landed a long-armed, heavy-handed, well developed pass rusher who may not have the kind of ceiling you might prefer -- but I'm confident in his projection to the pros.
Ferrell will play the run well and I think he can be an 8-12 sack guy in the NFL. Would it be easier with a more studly pass rusher opposite him? Sure. But the team has got an immediate starter who can play at a high level. What more would you want with a top pick other than otherworldly upside?
Worst Pick: S Johnathan Abram, Mississippi State
I get why this pick was made. The Raiders got three bruisers in the first round -- Ferrell, Jacobs and Abram are all cut from the same cloth. But am I falling all over myself for what Abram brings in coverage? No, not exactly. I like him more the closer he is to the line of scrimmage. And I think that's a favorable pairing with safety Lamarcus Joyner -- but I would have loved a more versatile player in this space.
As it is, Abram will certainly play in base personnel and his sub-package ceiling will bring modest production in off-man coverage -- I'd prefer him at linebacker.
So again -- I get why this pick was made and I don't hate this pick by any means. It's just not where I'd have swung with a top-30 pick.
Favorite Day 3 Pick: WR Hunter Renfrow, Clemson
I mean, come on. Renfrow is *that dude*. Tough as nails. Catches everything. Fearless in the slot. I love him. And he went in an appropriate space in the draft order too -- meaning he's a good investment and one that will undoubtedly net returns for the Raiders as long as he stays healthy.
Expect Renfrow to be that pain in the butt chain mover who comes up clutch for the Raiders for as long as he's on the squad.
This was a safe draft early on for the Raiders, in my opinion. That tempers some of the excitement. The Raiders were somewhat handcuffed by early picks in the top-35 and then nothing until 106. I'd imagine all the different combos this team could have pieced together if they had an early 3rd round pick (66).
Remember -- I'm not grading the Raiders' offseason! I'm grading their draft. Because if you add Antonio Brown into the mix with these dudes, of course that makes a world of difference in how you assess the offseason. I'd have probably flipped out Abram and Maxx Crosby for different players, but adding Ferrell, Jacobs (even though they picked him at a premium cost) and Mullen have me pumped about what this class can bring to the table as rookies.