I’ll be honest: when I see the phrase “seven-round mock” I cringe a little bit. To think that I’m writing one now is borderline painful — and yet, I think in some cases there is value, and here’s why: thanks to tools like Fanspeak’s On the Clock, you can simulate picks based on an expert’s big board and team needs, giving you a realistic look at who might be available at any given point in the draft.
So with this tool in hand, I set out to project what I would do if handed the keys to the Raider draft room. With a sense of the team’s greatest needs and no possibility of trades, here’s how it all played out:
Round 1, Pick 4: Quinnen Williams, DL (Alabama)
With Nick Bosa and Josh Allen both going ahead of me, this was the easiest pick I was going to make all day. Williams is arguably the best player in this draft, and while not at an exact position of need, this pick is a no-brainer. Take Williams and figure out how he and Maurice Hurst, PJ Hall, etc. fit together later.
Round 1, Pick 24: Clelin Ferrell, DE (Clemson
With edge rushers flying off the board, the Raiders are lucky to snag Ferrell with their second pick as they continue to rebuild their defensive line from the ground up. I imagine for the Raiders, this is the dream scenario — grabbing two elite defensive linemen with their first two picks, especially if one is coming off the edge.
Round 1, Pick 27: Jeffery Simmons, DL (Mississippi State)
If I’m the Raiders and Simmons can be had with pick No. 27 or 35, I’m jumping all over it. Why? Because I’m a realist. The Raiders aren’t winning the Super Bown in 2019 and so the chance to add a top-10 talent along the defensive line at this stage in the draft is one I’m jumping at. Yes, Simmons will miss the entire season recovering from an injury, but we’ll let him redshirt a year before bringing him back fully healthy in 2020.
Round 2, Pick 3: Rock Ya Sin, CB (Temple)
Are the Raiders really going to draft four straight defensive players? Highly unlikely – but here, I’m in charge! Defensive back is a need for the Raiders and Ya Sin is one of the best this class has to offer. He’s a physical corner who could be the long-term running mate of Gareon Conley if everything falls the right way. In looking through draft history, it’s a lot harder to find a starting corner later in the draft than it is to find a guard or a receiver, so Ya Sin is my pick here.
Round 4, Pick 4: Ryan Finley, QB (NC State)
The Raiders don’t go up and grab a quarterback early, but they leave the draft with the guy I’d probably put third or fourth on my board amongst signal callers. If Finley is there in the fourth, I’m running to the podium to turn this pick in as he gives me a capable backup for the next few seasons with the upside of a Derek Carr replacement if needed — all while not sending uncomfortable signals to Carr.
Round 5, Pick 2: Justice Hill, RB (Oklahoma State)
After four straight defensive players to start the draft, it’s all offense from here on out. I’m not pretending to know much about the next few guys — but more picking for need (and giving a sense of what positions I’d be targeting where). The Raiders are looking for a long-term answer at running back, and grabbing a guy in the fifth — in what is an incredibly deep running back class — is the right move. Mel Kiper has Hill in his top 100, so getting him here is great value.
Round 7, Pick 4: Preston Williams, WR (Colorado State)
Williams is the definition of a late round flier. This is a guy with high-level talent as well as high-level off-the-field concerns. Williams is 6’4″, 211 pounds had a sub-par pro day performance as well, but he’s the perfect guy to draft with this pick — knowing if you need to cut him it isn’t the end of the world.
Round 7, Pick 21: Chidi Okeke, G (Tennessee State)
With my final pick I grab an offensive lineman — something the Raiders will almost assuredly not wait so long to do. As I see it, the Raider line is set for this season — and so I addressed bigger needs earlier on, while taking a flier on a small school guy that we might be able to coach up on our practice squad over the season.
I’ll admit that linebacker is a position I wish I had been able to grab, but the board just didn’t fall that way. Had I known someone like Simmons would be there for sure at No. 27, maybe I take Devin White at No. 4 — although passing on Quinnen Williams seems really hard to stomach.
In this mock, Rashan Gary fell to No. 15, Brian Burns to No. 17 and Montez Sweat to No. 21 — if any of those three things actually happened, I’d be eager to trade up and snag one of them in exchange for picks No. 27 and 35. Imagine landing Williams, Ferrell and one of those three? The defensive line rebuild would be over with in a night.
My last thought is that I just don’t see the Raiders standing pat with these eight picks. As I said, I’d love to trade up into the first half of the first round for another elite defensive lineman — and then maybe use my other first round pick to trade down and stockpile picks (maybe a second, third and sixth?). Mike Mayock has said he loves the talent in the second and third rounds, so adding more capital there would make some sense.
Overall, if the Raiders came out of this weekend’s draft with this haul, I’d be thrilled. I like the immediate impact of Williams, Ferrell and Ya Sin — as well as the long-term prospects of Simmons. Finley and Hill plug holes that need plugging, and both would be great value picks — while the two seventh rounders are the perfect kinds of players to take a flier on.