Oakland Raiders Mock Draft: Updated Day 3 Predictions

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistMay 2, 2015

Oakland Raiders Mock Draft: Updated Day 3 Predictions

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    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    The Oakland Raiders filled two roster voids at defensive end and tight end on Day 2 of the NFL draft after taking care of wide receiver on Day 1.

    The remaining void is at guard, a position currently held by Khalif Barnes. Expect general manager Reggie McKenzie to continue playing it safe and address his final need with the fourth-round pick.

    The subsequent picks become the most intriguing of the draft. They’ll reveal where the Raiders brass feel they need the most help in terms of depth or competition for the starters.

    Will the Raiders draft another cornerback or wide receiver? Both positions have starters in place but lack solid depth or rotational players capable of excelling in extended roles in case of poor play or injury.

    Drafting another inside linebacker within the next four picks should be a given, but the rest of the draft could be based on who’s the best player available. I'll identify those players for each of the four remaining rounds for Oakland.

Round 4: Tre’ Jackson (OG/Florida State)

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    This is the only pick on Day 3 that addresses a need and gives Oakland the best player available.

    According to CSN Bay Area reporter Scott Bair, McKenzie mentioned drafting a guard at some point in the draft. Tre' Jackson is still available. 

    According to Bleacher Report's Matt Miller, Jackson's drop could be attributed to failed physicals due to recurring knee injuries:

    Florida State's Tre' Jackson and Alabama's Arie Kouandjio—have failed multiple team physicals due to chronic knee problems, per team sources. There are always draft-week surprises when high-caliber players aren't drafted due to injuries, and the two guards are potentially in that category right now.

    Jackson was projected as a second- to third-round pick by CBSSports.com and NFL.com. At the top of the fourth round, he’d be a steal for the Raiders. However, there's a major concern in his game that is a possible culprit to his ailing knees.

    According to NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein, he needs work on conditioning and movement to become a viable NFL starter:

    Fleshy midsection with excess weight potentially affecting foot quickness. Loses feet sliding to pick up rushers. Will duck head into block on contact. Limited effectiveness in space. Inconsistent performer this season. Too reliant upon size over skill and failed to show improvement this season. Struggles to get feet into winning position when blocking laterally.

    Weight and footing aren’t major concerns when you’re an interior lineman. The coaching staff will get him in optimal shape, which should improve lateral quickness and alleviate pressure on his knees. He’s still the best player available and good enough to immediately take over as the starting guard on the Raiders offensive line.

    One NFC offensive coordinator feels the same way, per NFL.com: “He's got everything you want in a guard, he just needs to work on technique. I did my homework on the person and I think he'll be coachable. He would start right away for us."

Round 5: Josh Harper (WR/Fresno State)

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    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    The logic behind this pick goes beyond the fact Josh Harper played three seasons with Derek Carr from 2011 to 2013. The Raiders should take advantage of a deep WR class, especially knowing two of their three top WRs are set to become unrestricted free agents at the end of the 2015 season.

    Harper has the tools of a second-round pick but lacks ideal size and ability to sell his pass routes. The fact that he doesn’t sell his routes doesn’t indicate poor route running when trying to create separation. Nonetheless, he tips defenses as to his involvement in particular plays with sluggish movement and poor concentration.

    When Harper is in the game, he can be dangerous on bubble-screen plays or on a deep route, per Zierlein:

    Effortless hands-catcher who is courageous over the middle. Body control is among the best in this year's wide receiver crop and turns incompletions into catches. Fights hard to maintain route integrity when cornerbacks try to reroute him. Understands where to sit down against zone coverage to create safer throwing lanes for quarterbacks. Has running back's wiggle and can turn bubble screens and hitches into first downs.

    Harper would be a great addition to the offense in the slot as a Percy Harvin-type player. Oakland could double up on WRs, giving Carr two young promising targets for the long term in an effort to revamp the WR corps.

Round 6: Shaquille Riddick (DE/West Virginia)

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    Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    Shaquille Riddick has a very limited NCAA college resume, but he’s worth a sixth-round selection at a position of need.

    In an early call, I have questions about Mario Edwards Jr. fitting into the Raiders defense. Whether or not Edwards pans out remains to be seen. Justin Tuck has one year left on his contract at age 32, per Spotrac. Khalil Mack will likely split playing time between defensive end and outside linebacker. Adding another edge-rusher is a practical move.

    In one year at West Virginia, Riddick recorded seven sacks and 11 tackles for a loss. He has the capability to produce at a high level but needs to bulk up to take on NFL-caliber tackles. At 6’6”, 242 pounds, Riddick is lanky but utilized speed and agility to leave his mark on West Virginia’s defense in 2014.

    According to Zierlein’s bottom line on Riddick, he was too small at his position at West Virginia, yet he still managed to pressure opposing QBs. Riddick could earn an early spot as a rotational player as he bulks up to stay on the field on all three downs.

Round 7: Zach Vigil (ILB/Utah State)

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    Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

    This pick has been repeated at risk of nausea, but it’s a solid pick for the Raiders needing depth at inside linebacker.

    Zach Vigil is versatile enough to play right away in 3-4 schemes, which could become more frequent with the addition of second-round pick Edwards fitting the mold of an NFL 3-4 DE.

    The combination of Vigil and Edwards would keep the defense stout against the run and athletic enough to defend the pass.

    Coming out of Utah State kills Vigil’s draft stock, but his production speaks for itself. He finished his four-year career at Utah State with 389 tackles, 43.5 tackles resulting in a loss and 16.5 sacks. The Raiders could use an ongoing motor like Vigil on any given down. 

    What do you think of the Raiders' Day 3 mock draft predictions? Tweet your thoughts to Maurice.

    Advanced statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com and Sports-Reference.com.

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