With the entirety of our PICK or PASS player breakdowns now behind us, it’s time to ramp up to the draft with the penultimate piece in the series: my big board. The last piece will be Mock Draft 2.0 on the eve of the draft, but for now, these are just my rankings.
As we’ve covered, the Las Vegas Raiders currently hold the No. 7 overall pick in the first round, so this list will primarily address the guys they could consider there. Of course, a trade up or down is always a possibility, as is the scenario where someone in my Top 20 drops into the beginning of the second round when Las Vegas is picking again.
Before we dive in, one other note about this list: I know how much teams like to talk about “best player available” — but those are the same teams who will tell you Texas running back Bijan Robinson is one of the top five players in the draft and then pass on him when they’re on the clock. In reality, there’s positional value (i.e. how expensive is the position this player plays) to consider as well as positional need (i.e. what does your specific roster look like). This board is a Raiders-specific big board.
So without further ado, my big board…
1) CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State
2) Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
At the top of my board, I’ve got a pair of quarterbacks, with Stroud grading out better than Young. I’m praying someone takes Anthony Richardson in the top two picks and the Raiders move up to No. 3 to grab whoever is left, but I’m not holding my breath.
3) Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
Reports say that Carter is off of the Raiders draft board altogether, which would make sense. On talent alone, he’d live somewhere in this neighborhood.
4) Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
5) Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
The Raiders need to find a quarterback they can build around long-term in order to avoid living in QB purgatory. I’m not positive either of these guys would be the answer they’re looking for, but they definitely have the potential to be. I like Levis a tad more than Richardson just because I can see it a little bit more on tape, but there’s not a huge gap between these two in my mind.
6) Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama
7) Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech
I expected to have a huge gap between these two, but I just don’t see it. Anderson’s floor is higher, but I think both guys are relatively safe bets to be really good at the next level. Wilson gives you a lower floor, but a higher ceiling and some more versatility.
8) Christian Gonzalez
I think he’s a No. 1 cornerback at the next level, and those don’t come cheap!
Here’s where my big board is different than most — I always try to draw a line where I’d rather move down than pick someone at No. 7. Everyone below this line is someone I’m less interested in than a move down to add picks.
10) Broderick Jones, OT, Georgia
My top-rated offensive tackle is probably a bit of a reach at No. 7, but I think he’s a right tackle for the next decade and — like cornerback and edge rusher — those don’t come cheap!
11) Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
The first player on my board who I listed as a “PASS” in this series is the Illinois corner. Too many questions for me to feel great at No. 7.
12) Dalton Kincaid, TE, Utah
Darren Waller’s replacement? Hopefully not at No. 7.
13) Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
14) Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern
15) Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State
No. 13-15 on this list are all guys I’d be happy about in a trade-down scenario.
16) Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa
17) Myles Murphy, EDGE, Clemson
18) Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia
Trio of edge rushers make up the second tier of the position and would all be welcome additions to a Raiders defensive line desperate for help.
19) O’Cyrus Torrance, G, Florida
Guards aren’t sexy, but this guy is as sure of a thing at the next level as anyone in the draft — and the Raiders have a huge need on the interior of their offensive line.
20) Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee
He’s a right tackle, which hurts his value a little bit — and yet, that’s what the Raiders need. Wright is the top tackle on some folks’ board and would be a great consolation prize for the Raiders should they pick later in the first round (either with a trade down or up) than they currently are slated to.