I say it every year, and unfortunately, it hasn’t ceased to be true: draft season is every Raider fan’s dream as optimism swirls that a couple of these new rookies will be the ones who put them over the edge and back into the playoff. Yes, the Las Vegas Raiders are picking far lower than normal (thankfully), but if you follow the trends surrounding this year’s draft, things are setting up nicely for the Raiders.
The reason I say that is because it appears nine of the first ten picks might be quarterbacks or pass catchers, two positions the Raiders have no need to target. If that ends up being the case, then when the Raiders are on the clock at No. 17 overall, they’ll get one of their top eight choices amongst defensive players and offensive linemen.
The point of this series of articles is to try and figure out how those eight players might stack up. Now in years past (I started this series in 2014, back when I was over at SB Nation), I’d analyze individual prospects one at a time and end each post with a verdict: “pick the player or pass?” This year, however, I’m going to mix things up and group players by position, and so with just four weeks to go until the Jaguars are on the clock, the series will roll out like this:
- Defensive ends
- Defensive tackles
- Offensive linemen
- Trade up / down
Each week I’ll select at least one, sometimes three or four, players in the position group to break down as a way to prepare fans for some of the guys who might be in the discussion for the Raiders. Not every guy I mention will be someone I’m necessarily a fan of, but these are the guys who are being mocked to the Raiders (or in their neighborhood) one place or another.
At the end of the process, I’ll put out two final pieces: a big board and then a mock draft — both of which will come out the week of the draft itself. Obviously things could change over the next four weeks, so I’ll save my prediction (and preference) for a couple days beforehand just to be safe.
So, with less than a month to go before the draft, buckle up and enjoy the ride — next week, I’ll be back looking at this year’s crop of defensive ends.