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Raiders 7-round 2020 NFL mock draft

Raiders Wire logo Raiders Wire 4/16/2020 Levi Damien
a football player wearing a red uniform holding a baseball bat © Provided by Raiders Wire

With the 2020 NFL Draft just a week away, it’s time to put out my one and only 7-round mock draft. The COVID-19 epidemic has made things pretty interesting for everyone, but the NFL sees no issue with keeping the draft on schedule, so everyone must forge ahead.

To set the table here, the Raiders come into this draft with 7 selections. They lay out thusly:

Round 1, pick No. 12

Round 1, pick No. 19

Round 3, pick No. 80

Round 3, pick No. 81

Round 3, pick No. 91

Round 4, pick No. 121

Round 5, pick No. 159

General manager Mike Mayock has in the past talked about how much he like picks from 20-60 in the draft. He had three such picks in last year’s draft and ended up grabbing three starters out of it.

As it happens this year he has approximately zero picks from 20 to 60. Which begs the question of whether he will attempt to get a pick in that range. Whether it’s by trading down from the first round, up from third round, or even by trading an existing player on the roster to do it.

As it stands he has the ammo to trade down or to trade up, with two picks in the first round and three in the third. And for this mock draft, I won’t be handcuffing the team by sticking with only the picks they currently have. If I think there’s a good trade to be made, I will make it, just as the Raiders will do when they are on the clock this time next week.

All right, so let’s fast forward past the first 11 picks in this draft and get the Raiders on the clock.

Round 1, pick No. 12 – CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

I cannot tell you how difficult a choice it was between Lamb and Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy at this pick. Both of whom I have available at this pick. The great thing for the Raiders is, even if I’m wrong, and one of them is gone, they could go with the other and not think twice about it. By the same token, if they went with Jeudy, I could see the sense in that pick as well. Which is what made this such a difficult pick.

Jeudy is more flashy and has drawn comparisons to the likes of Amari Cooper and Antonio Brown – both of whom were at one point billed as the Raiders’ number one receiver, but who both didn’t work out for other reasons outside of pure football talent. But Lamb has been a more steady, dominant presence at receiver in his time at Oklahoma, so I made the call.

What you want to see from a top receiver prospect is consistent progress. Lamb had a standout freshman year with over 800 yards and 7 touchdowns. He jumped to 1158 yards and 11 TDs his sophomore season, and again improved to 1327 yards and 14 TDs as a junior, while improving his yards per catch numbers to an outstanding 21.4 – more than 4 yards per catch ahead of previous seasons.

The Raiders are looking for an X receiver to play across from Tyrell Williams. That’s what Lamb played in Oklahoma’s Air Raid offense. He can get separation both high and low and he can get some serious yards after the catch as well.

***TRADE: Raiders receive picks 27 and 59. Seahawks receive picks 19 and 159.***

Round 1, pick No. 27 – Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

Honestly, they could have taken Fulton at 19 and it wouldn’t have been a bad selection. But they needed a pick in the second round and trading down in the first to pick is the right move because there is a cluster of good corners in this range. Fulton is a great get at this spot.

He raised the National Championship trophy to end his final season of college ball just like the cornerback the Raiders picked at 40 overall last season. That worked out well.

Also just like Trayvon Mullen, Fulton had just one interception and didn’t have great numbers overall in his final college season, but it was because opposing offenses often stayed away from him. Or they did if they were smart. Fulton and Mullen both held opposing quarterbacks to passer ratings in the low 70s. They both even had identical 4.46 40-yard-dash times.

Fulton still put up 25 pass breakups and two interceptions in 25 starts over the past two seasons and led college football with 20 forced incompletions.

He isn’t overly aggressive, he’s sticky and therefore he excels in press-man coverage. You like what he brings to the table whether it’s at 19 or in the trade down scenario as I have here. Fulton would figure to be an instant starter at cornerback.

Round 2, pick No. 59 – Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma

Gruden would probably have liked to get Hurts in the third round, but everything he’s done since the end of last season has had his stock rising by the day. First, it was his performance at Senior Bowl practices where he was the most accurate quarterback on the field. Then he continued to impress at the combine where he ran a 4.59 40 among other impressive measurables. And he looked great in passing drills as well.

Hurts has his issues. I mean, if he didn’t, he’d be gone well before even the late second round. Lack of anticipation is a big one. Still, he’s as intriguing a prospect in the draft as there is. He is a coach’s son, so his understanding of the intricacies of the position and complex offenses is just what Gruden would like as a project. He’s also an outstanding athlete who can make something out of nothing if the play breaks down.

If you think he’s just a running QB, think again. He was 33 of 66 (50 percent) with 10 touchdowns on passes more than 20 yards downfield. He added another 22 touchdowns on passes inside 20 yards with just 8 interceptions while completing 70 percent of his passes. His average depth of target was 11.3 yards. And we already know he has chemistry with CeeDee Lamb who the Raiders just took at 12 overall.

Along with his 3,849 passing yards, Hurts ran for 1,298 yards and another 20 touchdowns. That’s 5149 yards from scrimmage and 52 touchdowns, which is…pretty good.

Round 3, pick No. 80 – Terrell Burgess, S, Utah

The Raiders want to add a safety. Free safety in particular, but in Paul Guenther’s defense, that free safety has to also have some versatility to be able to switch up and play in the box or the slot at a moment’s notice. Burgess is that kind of player.

Despite facing some top-flight Pac-12 quarterbacks such as Justin Herbert, Jacob Eason, Anthony Gordon, and Kedon Slovis, Burgess wasn’t victimized much. He had three pass breakups against Pac-12 leading passer Anthony Gordon, and knocked down a pass from Herbert in the Pac-12 championship. Burgess was targeted a total of 40 times all season, allowing 25 catches for just 190 yards. That’s 4.75 yards per target, which means when he’s not forcing an incompletion, or blanketing his assignment, he was keeping the yards after catch to a minimum.

Burgess was a nickel corner and special teamer his first three seasons at Utah, moving to safety as a senior where he broke out. The Southern California native played defensive back and wide receiver in high school, giving him an understanding of route concepts and the ability to run them right along with the receivers he’s covering. This contributes to his versatility.

Round 3, pick No. 81 – Van Jefferson, WR, Florida

Van’s dad is former 13-year NFL receiver and current Jets wide receivers coach Shaun Jefferson. Not only is receiver in his blood, he has been groomed since a young age, which shows in his crisp and savvy route running. He also had just four drops over the past two seasons for the Gators.

His lack of college production and age (23) are two reasons he falls into the mid-rounds of the draft. Some of that had to do with the offenses he found himself in throughout college. He signed with Ole Miss to join head coach Hugh Freeze. As a freshman for the Rebels, Jefferson outperformed eventual top receiving talents DK Metcalf and AJ Brown. But Freeze resigned after that season and Jefferson was no longer featured in the offense in favor of Metcalf and Brown, so he transferred to Florida.

Unfortunately, Florida doesn’t exactly run a receiver friendly offense. Jefferson would put up a career-high of just 657 yards which still led the team. Some of the best steals in every draft are talented players whose numbers suffered due to the team on which they played.

Round 3, pick No. 91 – Troy Dye, LB, Oregon

With newly signed Nick Kwiatkoski pegged as the middle linebacker and Cory Littleton manning one of the outside linebacker spots, that leave the Raiders with a need at the other outside linebacker spot. What Paul Guenther values from his linebackers is the trend of the NFL and that’s coverage ability. That’s something Dye does very well.

The 6-3, 230-pounder is one of the best coverage linebackers in this draft, so it’s certainly possible some team will have him much higher on their board than this. With the Raiders having three picks in the third round, they have to decide if they have three prospects in mind for the round, just who they think is more likely to still be on the board ten picks after the other two.

Dye grew up in Norco California which is about three hours south of Las Vegas right on I-15, so being drafted by the Raiders would mean he gets to start his pro career close to home.

Round 4, pick No. 121 – AJ Dillon, RB, Boston College

Meet thunder. Remember in Gruden’s first stint as Raiders head coach? When he took over, he had a feature back in place in Napoleon Kaufman coming off a season running for nearly 1,300 yards. So, what did Gruden do? Just a year after taking the job, he signed Tyrone Wheatley. Bringing the thunder to his lightning. Then in 2000, Wheatley would lead the Raiders in rushing with 1,046. So, what did Gruden do? He signed Charlie Garner.

The moral here is Gruden loves his two-headed backfields. He wants his thunder and lightning. He found his lightning in Josh Jacobs with the 24th overall pick in last year’s draft. He gets his thunder in the biggest load at running back in this draft. Coming in at 6-0, 247 pounds with plenty of wiggle to go with it is AJ Dillon.

And since in this mock draft, I have the Raiders sending their pick at 159 to the Seahawks as part of their trade down from 19 to 27 while getting back in the second round at pick 59, this draft ends here. And they were able to address every pressing need they have.


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