We’re almost there, folks! We’ve come to the last piece in my “Pick or Pass” series, the mock draft. Until a few years ago, these pieces landed all over the place because folks like me were guessing at not only what the Raiders would do but also everyone around them. Thankfully, folks like Pro Football Network have built pretty remarkable draft simulators to help.
Below you’ll find not necessarily a prediction of what the Raiders will do, but what I’d do if the board fell the way it did in the simulations I used. Not only that, at some picks, I’ll give a couple different options — including trade proposals, etc. So without further ado, let’s dive in…
Round 1: Pick No. 17
My top offensive tackle outside of Penei Sewell and Rashawn Slater, Christian Darrisaw, falls to No. 17. The Raiders would complete their offensive line overhaul by locking down their right tackle of the future. Darrisaw has everything the Raiders are looking for in a tackle, and with a massive hole thereafter trading Trent Brown, this is a perfect fit.
Trade Option: The Raiders didn’t need to trade up to grab Darrisaw and didn’t risk trading down and missing out on him. Christian Barmore and Trevon Moehrig were both still on the board, but this one was a no-brainer.
Verdict: Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
Round 2: Pick No. 48
With the Raiders staying put for now, Richie Grant falls to them at No. 48. If things played out like this, the Raiders should be doing backflips — their top two needs are met with guys who aren’t reaches. Grant is the No. 2 safety in this draft and improves the 2021 Raiders dramatically.
Trade Option No. 1: At No. 48, I was offered the ability to move down four spots (to No. 52) in exchange for adding pick No. 83. At No. 52, I moved down again to No. 61 and added pick No. 93 to my arsenal as well. Finally, I made a pick, taking Jevon Holland from Oregon there. I’m a bit biased as a Duck fan, but I really do think Holland is everything the Raiders are looking for in a FS, and I think adding No. 83 and No. 93 to go from Grant to Holland is a no-brainer.
Trade Option No. 2: This time, I looked into moving up in the second round — but not for a safety. Instead, Jaelan Phillips, the top pass-rusher on my board, was still around at pick No. 41, and so I packaged No. 48 and No. 80 to move up and get him. I know pass-rusher isn’t a desperate need based on the number of defensive ends on the roster, but the Raiders always need help getting to the passer, and I like Phillips a lot.
Verdict: Jevon Holland, S, Oregon + Picks No. 83 and No. 93Round 3: Pick No. 79
With their first of four third-round picks, Jamin Davis, the linebacker from Kentucky, hears his name called. The Raiders have a well-compensated group of linebackers already on the roster, but Davis is an absolute steal at this point in the draft. Todd McShay has a first-round grade on him, while Dane Brugler has him pegged in the middle of the second. Again, not a massive need filled — but this is a best-player-available move, and it’s a good one.
Trade Option: No real good options here, and with a bunch of picks stockpiled already and Davis on the board, we send in the card.
Verdict: Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
Round 3: Pick No. 80
With safety and right tackle both addressed already, guard and defensive tackle are the next two spots on the roster that could use an injection of talent. Neither needs a starter in 2021, but in 2022? There’s a lot of room for help. My options were Marlon Tuipulotu from USC at defensive tackle and Quinn Meinerz from OC Wisconsin-Whitewater at guard. Meinerz dominated at the senior bowl and feels like a better fit/value at this point in the draft.
Verdict: Quinn Meinerz, G, OC Wisconsin-Whitewater
Round 3: Pick No. 83
The first of our two new picks that came from moving down in the second, and there are some intriguing names still out there. One is Trill Williams, a cornerback from Syracuse who is 6’2″ and ran a 4.42. I know the Raiders have a couple of starting corners with strong draft pedigree already, but like defensive end, this is another position you can never have enough of.
Trade Option: The Steelers call and offer us pick No. 128 to move down four spots. It turns out Williams is still on the board. Send it in.
Verdict: Trill Williams, CB, Syracuse + pick No. 128
Round 3: Pick No. 93
It has been a busy Day 2, but we aren’t done yet. Still looking for some depth along the defensive line, Dayo Odeyingbo from Vanderbilt is on the board and offers a nice upside pick. He’s coming off an injury that could force him to miss the entire off-season, but this is a long-term play. At 6’5″ and 276 pounds, we’ll take our chances.
Verdict: Dayo Odeyingbo, DE, VanderbiltRound 4: Pick No. 128
After packaging our own fourth (and our second fifth) in the trades that netted us a pair of extra third-rounders, the Raiders are back on the clock with the fourth we picked up on Day 2. This pick may be controversial in some circles, but I snagged Shaun Wade, a cornerback from Ohio State. On Day 3, I’m all about upside, and this was a guy projected as a first-rounder heading into the season before he was an absolute disaster all year. So why burn a fourth? Throw him into the cornerback mix and see if you can coach that potential out of him — and if not, something he might be able to transition to safety, where he can back up Holland and work on his craft.
Verdict: Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
Round 6: Pick No. 200
Yet another pick that came through trade, and this is the last one the Raiders will make. While “best player available” is a nice phrase, I was targeting one of two positions: either a running back or a defensive lineman. I went back to my Oregon roots here and selected Jordon Scott, a defensive lineman in the mold of Jonathan Hankins. Scott isn’t going to be a disruptive pass-rusher, but he occupies bodies and should hold up well against the run on early downs. With a guy like Clelin Ferrell sliding inside on passing downs anyways, this is a nice fit for everyone — especially considering you can probably slide Scott onto the practice squad for development this year.
Verdict: Jordon Scott, DT, Oregon
Christian Darrisaw, OT
Jevon Holland, S
Jamin Davis, LB
Quinn Meinerz, G
Trill Williams, CB
Dayo Odeyingbo, DE
Shaun Wade, CB
Jordon Scott, DT
Darrisaw is the star of the show and immediately makes this a Grade-A mock in my mind. Some will question the decision not to move up (or stay put) for a safety like Richie Grant, but I’m high on Holland and like the idea of adding two more third-round picks. Meinertz is immediately a long-term answer at guard when Richie Incognito hangs them up. At the same time, Davis is a future starter at linebacker if Cory Littleton or Nick Kwiatkoski can’t play better in 2021. Williams and Wade add upside and depth to the defensive backfield, while Odeyingbo and Scott are probably developmental projects — one with a high ceiling and the other with a high floor.
The Raiders leave the draft with a new right tackle, a potential long-term answer at free safety who is a ball hawk and a playmaker, and a long-term answer at guard with serious upside. Add in some nice depth pieces behind them, and this would be a successful weekend for Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden.