Whether or not the Raiders draft many, if any, players from the squad they worked closely with all week, we won’t know until April. What we do know is that the ability to work directly with some of the eligible draftees can be extremely helpful in the pre-draft process.
Several players had very good weeks both in practice and Saturday’s game and the Raiders staff had a front-row seat to each.
Here is an updated Raiders Mock Draft following Saturday’s conclusion of Senior Bowl week.
The Raiders need to find a pass rusher likely outweighs any other on the list this offseason. Any elite pass rushers on the free agent market would likely price themselves well out of the Raiders’ range, so Damontre Moore fits well here.
Moore is scheme-versatile and that is likely exactly what the Raiders are looking for on defense. Known for his high motor and skill in getting to the quarterback, he could instantly help the Raiders defense in several facets of the game.
Boise State CB Jamar Taylor.
In 2012, opposing passing games, both good and bad, moved the ball through the air at will against the Raiders. They certainly need help at cornerback and here the Raiders get a physical and athletic corner in Boise State’s Jamar Taylor.
Unfortunately, Taylor did not end up playing in Saturday’s Senior Bowl game due to sickness. However, you can bet that the Raiders coaching staff of his North side team took notice of his play throughout the week at practice.
Similar performances at the NFL Scouting Combine and at his Pro Day could push his stock into the second round but, if he’s still available when the Raiders select in the third, he could help the team immediately.
Western Kentucky DE/LB Quanterus Smith.
With all that has been said about how desperately the Raiders need a pass rush, it is important to remember how unlikely it is that just one player solves that problem completely. With that being said, there is a very good chance that the Raiders look for multiple pass rushers in this draft and Quanterus Smith fits the bill as one of them.
The Western Kentucky defensive end had his very productive senior season cut short by a torn ACL and his draft stock will likely take a hit as a result. If nothing else, that just means that a team is going to get a potentially dominant pass rusher somewhere in the middle rounds.
Smith’s three-sack game against Alabama stands out among the rest, showing his ability to produce against the best of competition. That, as well his ability to fit into either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme, makes him a great pick for the Raiders here.
Louisiana Tech OT Jordan Mills.
Jordan Mills was another player that stood out during Senior Bowl week and he wasn’t even an original invitee.
Mills has become known for his physical and aggressive play at tackle. That, along with his 6’6” 315 pound frame, would be more than welcomed in the Raiders new gap-blocking scheme.
While players drafted this late don’t usually start from day one, the Raiders’ struggles and now scheme transitions on the offensive line would certainly allow for him to compete immediately. Whether he contributes right away or in the future, Jordan Mills would be a good pick for the Raiders here.
BYU C/G Braden Hansen.
The Raiders again look toward upgrading the offensive line here, but this time with an interior lineman in BYU’s Braden Hansen.
Hansen showed versatility in college, playing both guard and center in his four years as a starter. Again, the Raiders will draft linemen according to the new blocking scheme that OC Greg Olson will bring and Hansen’s size and strength make him a good fit.
Ole Miss DT Gilbert Pena.
The Raiders could certainly stand to add some competition at defensive tackle. Should 3-4 fronts become more of a regular look for the defense, a player capable of manning the NT position would be essential as well.
Ole Miss’ Gilbert Pena can do just that, having the size and strength to occupy blocks in the middle. While he likely wouldn’t start right away if drafted here, the Raiders have shown that adding capable depth players is of extreme importance.