If you’ve been on social media and following the NFL Draft, no doubt you’ve come across The Athletic’s Dane Brugler. As their primary draft guy, he’s one of the best in the business — especially when it comes to the depth of his scouting. If you’re not already a subscriber, his draft guide — which came out Tuesday — is worth the price alone. It’s nearly 250 pages of in-depth reports on just about every draft-eligible guy alive.
Knowing what an expert he is, we reached out to him for some specific insight into how he sees the Las Vegas Raiders approaching the draft. Here’s what he had to say…
1) In your last set of rankings, I believe you had CeeDee Lamb ahead of Jerry Jeudy among receivers. If the Raiders have their pick of either one at No. 12, is there anything about ‘fit’ with those guys that would cause you to take Jeudy over Lamb?
Brugler: I think you could make a case for Lamb, Jeudy or Ruggs as being the best fit for the Raiders. It’s really preference. I think Mayock/Gruden will love the football IQ and ball skills that Lamb offers. But the route running prowess of Jeudy will also be attractive. His brake-and-balance skills are elite, which allows him to create spacing on command. The drops can be frustrating and I worry about Jeudy’s body type. But the positives far outweigh the negatives.
2) Aside from wide receiver, the other major need left on the roster is cornerback. Feels like the Raiders will have a tough decision at No. 12 between the No. 2 corner in the draft and getting their pick of receivers. What would you do given the drop off at both positions between picks 12 and 19?
Brugler: That would be a tough call because I think there is a clear No. 2 CB (Henderson). And even though I have the WRs ranked higher, I might go that direction because I know there will be a talented WR available for me at 19. Even if the big three are gone, I’d feel great with Justin Jefferson. And keep an eye on Denzel Mims. I know the Raiders like him – enough to take him at 19? I don’t know. But he’s on their radar.
3) Ideally I think the Raiders would like to trade back from No. 19 to add a second-round pick. Any teams picking late in the first that might be wanting to move up to grab someone at 19? Any positions that might be in the midst of a run?
Brugler: Quarterback is always the wildcard. Is there a team that move up for Jordan Love? That might be too expensive of a jump for the Colts to move from 34 up to 19. I’d keep an eye on two other positions: OT and LB. Could see a move up for one of the OTs (Austin Jackson, Josh Jones, Ezra Cleveland) because there is a drop off after that wave of tackles. Or maybe LB for a team looking to specifically land Kenneth Murray or Patrick Queen.
4) Any Day 3 guys you like as a fit for the Raiders?
Brugler: Clemson LB/S Tanner Muse in the 4th or 5th. Special teams demon who Mayock/Gruden will love. Plus the Clemson connection never hurts.
5) Last one: everyone knows Jon Gruden is obsessed with quarterbacks. Let’s say they draft someone to develop behind Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota. There has been lots of chatter about the Raiders liking Jalen Hurts, but I keep coming back to Jake Fromm as a guy who feels like he just ‘fits’ what Gruden wants to do. What do you think? Who’s a quarterback to watch with the Raiders in the third round?
Brugler: Hurts is the guy I keep coming back to. The intangibles and what he brings to the QB room is important. Aside from him, Fromm would be interesting in the 3rd. He doesn’t have the arm that Gruden ideally wants, but no doubt he impressed the coach on the white board. His football IQ and rhythm as a passer are what makes Fromm appealing.