The weekend Oakland Raiders fans have been optimistically longing for has come and gone, with the 2019 NFL Draft officially in the rearview mirror. As usual, we’ll hold off on firm judgment for a couple of seasons to see how things truly play out, but even now there are a number of ways to interpret everything that transpired this weekend.
On the pessimistic side, fans will note that the Raiders made nine picks this weekend — eight of which most folks will have no issues with. Unfortunately, the most controversial of the nine was also the most important: Clelin Ferrell with the No. 4 pick in the draft.
Were the Raiders playing it safe and taking an easy double instead of swinging for the fences? Ferrell has been praised as having one of the higher floors of any of the first round pass rushers that were available to them. Or is this yet another example of the Raiders lacking a clear sense of value? Only time will tell.
If you wanted to be more optimistic, however, the focus would shift. The Raiders entered this draft with a laundry list of needs, and, as we sit here today it’s hard not to notice how many of those have been filled. Atop the list, of course, was defensive end — a position the Raiders attempted to address in the first, fourth and seventh rounds. Next up was defensive back — which the Raiders addressed in the first, second and fourth rounds. In reality, the list goes on and on. Tight end? Check. Slot receiver? Check. Running back? Check.
While many will swear by the “best player available” strategy — and for all we know it’s one that general manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden adhere to as well — it’s hard not to appreciate the number of holes they were able to plug with promising prospects this weekend.
So, without further ado, here’s a quick hitter on the guys the Raiders added on Days 2 and 3 of the draft (for Day 1 analysis, click here). Also, stay tuned because we’ll have more detailed breakdowns of these guys in the coming weeks.
Round 2, Pick 40: Trayvon Mullen, CB (Clemson)
Long and athletic, the Defensive MVP of the National Championship game will join his teammate (Ferrell) in Oakland. According to most experts, Mullen is a perfect fit for the type of defense defensive coordinator Paul Guenther is hoping to run — making him likely to be an immediate starter.
Round 4, Pick 106: Maxx Crosby, DE (Eastern Michigan)
Crosby posted 18.5 sacks over the past two seasons in the MAC, making him an attractive guy for Oakland at this point in the draft. He’s not fully ready to play in the NFL today, but his athleticism and upside make this a worthwhile gamble.
Round 4, Pick 129: Isaiah Johnson, CB (Houston)
Like Mullen, Johnson fits the Paul Guenther mold for corners: long and athletic. Johnson’s story is interesting because he converted from wide receiver to corner in college. Like Crosby, he’s probably not ready today to step onto the field and contribute, but the hope is that with coaching and strengthening he can be a foundational piece moving forward.
Round 4, Pick 135: Foster Moreau, TE (LSU)
If you were expecting Noah Fant in the first round, then Moreau’s numbers might be a bit depressing for you. In four years at LSU, Moreau posted just 52 catches for 629 yards and 6 touchdowns. Total. (Now, if you considered who was playing quarterback during those years you might cut the guy a bit of slack.) The upside with Moreau lies in betting that his athleticism points to some ability that the folks in Baton Rouge never tapped into. At the combine, Moreau posted a 4.66 40, put up 22 reps on the bench press, a 36.5″ vertical and a 121″ broad jump — all of which line up pretty closely to Fant. He also is known to be a very solid blocker.
Round 5, Pick 149: Hunter Renfrow, WR (Clemson)
It’s weird when so many people predict a pick correctly this late in the draft, but Renfrow-to-the-Raiders has made too much sense all along. The Raiders needed a slot receiver and when they didn’t grab one earlier it seemed even more likely for Renfrow to find himself in Oakland this year. He’ll have stiff competition with free agent signings like J.J. Nelson, Ryan Grant and others — but don’t count him out.
Round 7, Pick 230: Quinton Bell, DE (Prairie View A&M)
While I’d love to pretend I watched a number of Prairie View games this season, it’s obviously not the case. Bell, however, is yet another high-upside project the Raiders made a move for on Day 3. Like Isaiah Johnson, Bell is a former WR who found a new position in college — meaning he’s still growing into his body and learning the position. As far as athleticism goes, though, he checks all the boxes — at 242 pounds he ran a 4.38 40, posted a 41.5″ vertical, 136″ broad jump and 23 reps on the bench. At the very least, he’s a freak.