If there was one position we knew the Raiders needed to address this offseason, it was the safety position alongside former first-rounder Johnathan Abram. This seemed like it would be an easy task to accomplish, and yet as of the end of free agency’s first wave, the Raiders have left it unaddressed (and have little salary cap space left to spend, it seems).
While the draft seems like an obvious place to solve this, there are two problems: first, the safety class isn’t very good this year and general manager Mike Mayock has expressed some concern about how much draft capital the Raiders have already spent on their secondary (without much real return on their investment).
And yet….the Raiders need someone to play free safety, and until they make a move in free agency, the easiest pathway to finding an answer will be through the draft. As of now, it appears that there are two safeties worth monitoring. However, there is a wide range of opinion about whether either guy would be worth the No. 17 pick — and whether one might actually last into the second round.
Trevon Moehrig, Safety, TCU
Big board ranks: No. 16 (McShay), No. 39 (Brugler), No. 20 (Kiper)
Bench: 33 reps
Short shuttle: 4.19
Measurement Analysis: Moehrig has the size you’re looking for on the back end, a well built 6’1″, 202-pound safety that can still move. The 40-time doesn’t wow you, and we didn’t get to see him do some of the “explosion” drills like broad jump and vertical jump, but there’s a reason he’s the consensus No. 1 safety on the board given the athleticism we see on tape. Also worth noting how insane 33 reps is from a safety (last year’s top mark among safeties was just 24).
Tape Analysis: I’ll be the first to admit that for me, safeties might be the hardest position to analyze on tape because it’s hard to tell who has what responsibility. As I watched Moehrig’s tape, though, I came away thinking that pick No. 17 was far too rich here. He was inconsistent as a tackler and didn’t play like an elite safety in the tape that I saw.
Richie Grant, Safety, UCF
Big board ranks: No. 94 (McShay), No. 37 (Grant), NR (Kiper)
Arm: 32 5/8
Hand: 9 3/8
Bench: 12 reps
Short shuttle: 4.27
Measurement Analysis: A tad smaller than Moehrig, Grant showed well in testing, running a solid 4.49 40 while putting up a fantastic broad jump and 3-cone score. Playing at a smaller school, it’s always harder to gauge athleticism, and so this was a big day for Grant, and he performed well.
Tape Analysis: Like Moehrig, the headline here is that this doesn’t look like a first-round player to me. I like Grant, though, and as a second-round pick, I would be really pleased with what the Raiders end up with. Grant was a riser in the process this past season, and when I watched tape of his game against Cincinnati, I can see why — the effort and athleticism popped a bit, even if the tape wasn’t perfect.
- Trevon Moehrig — PASS
- Richie Grant — PASS
I’ve got Moehrig ahead of Grant, but the gap isn’t very big. That said, I think either of them would be a reach at pick No. 17. This isn’t to say they won’t be good pros; it just feels like the appropriate expectations for both guys fall more in line with a second-round pick. I’ll be curious to see where each is drafted, as it feels like the lack of high-end safeties in this class might be pushing both players up the board.