While the Oakland Raiders did not make any big splashes by trading up in the 0217 NFL Draft, they did address a lot of their needs, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie elected to use the team’s first round pick on Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley, who has early first round talent but is currently dealing with a sexual assault acquisition. He is not facing any charges for the acquisition, and claims he did not do anything wrong, so McKenzie decided to take a chance on him.
On Day 2 of the draft the Raiders continued to address their needs on defense, taking Connecticut safety Obi Melifonwu in the second round and UCLA defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes in the third.
The Raiders closed out the 2017 NFL Draft with six more selections on Day 3, as they spent a fourth round pick of Florida offensive tackle David Sharpe before grabbing Wake Forest linebacker Marquel Lee in the fifth round. They then had four seventh round picks in which they took Washington State safety Shalom Luani, Alabama State offensive tackle Jylan Ware, North Carolina running back Elijah Hood and Toledo defensive tackle Treyvon Hester.
Sharpe was a projected second or third round pick that fell to the Raiders in the fourth. He will have an opportunity to learn under the Raiders experienced offensive line. Ware, who the Raiders took with the 231st pick, will have that same luxury.
Lee played in 46 games in his four years at Wake Forest. He had a total of 291 tackles, 14.5 sacks and four forced fumbles. In 13 games his senior season he had a career-high 105 tackles to go along with 7.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. Lee was the only linebacker the Raiders took, despite that position being a glaring need at the moment.
Luani had four interceptions in both his junior and senior seasons at Washington State, totaling eight to go along with 157 total tackles, two sacks, three forced fumbles and 11 passes defended.
Hood was limited to just 11 games at North Carolina this past season due to injury, but he still carried the ball 145 times for 858 yards and eight touchdowns. He had a real breakout year his sophomore season in 2015 when he rushed for 1,463 yards and 17 touchdowns on 218 attempts. At 232 lbs. Hood is a power back that was extremely tough to tackle in his college career.
The Raiders final draft pick, Hester, had 161 total tackles, 32 tackles for loss, 13 sacks and four forced fumbles in 45 career games at Toledo.
In addition to these draft picks, the Raiders have also added Rutgers safety Anthony Cioffi and wide receivers Keon Hatcher (Arkansas), Ishmael Zamora (Baylor) and Nick Kurtz (BYU) as undrafted free agents. That list will conitnue to grow in the coming weeks.