NFL mock draft: Early look at Las Vegas Raiders' picks

Posted Friday, 17 January 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

The NFL playoffs are still going on (for some teams, anyway), but for the Raiders it is now firmly draft season. The Las Vegas franchise is set to have a treasure trove of picks in this year's draft, and though it's way too early to start honing in on exact predictions, a mock draft can be useful in seeing how the board might play out when teams are on the clock. Let's take a crack at a one-round mock, with particular attention paid to Las Vegas's pair of first-round selections: No. 1 — Cincinnati Bengals Joe Burrow, QB, LSU This draft card is already filled out, now the Bengals just have to wait a few months to hand it in to the commissioner on draft day. Burrow is a lock to be the top pick. No. 2 — Washington Redskins Chase Young, DE, Ohio State Young has the kind of measurables (6-foot-5, 265 pounds) and production (27.0 sacks over the last two years) that would warrant No. 1 overall consideration in most years, but he slots in behind Burrow this year. And that's fine with the Redskins, who can erect a defense around Young's ability to pressure the passer. No. 3 — Detroit Lions A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa At 6-foot-6, 280 pounds, Epenesa provides a lot of versatility along the defensive line. He can rush the passer (11.5 sacks in 2019), stop the run and maybe even play in the flat in certain schemes. Matt Patricia's defense could use a player like that in the trenches. No. 4 — New York Giants Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia The Giants drafted their franchise QB last year, and now it's time to protect him. Thomas can play at right tackle right away in 2020, then shift over to left tackle in 2021 after the contract of current starter Nate Solder runs out. No. 5 — Miami Dolphins Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama The Dolphins have a lot of needs — left tackle stands out, in particular — but this may be the highest pick they have during their rebuilding process, so the time to fire away on a quarterback seems to be now. If Tagovailoa is healthy, Miami can grab its QB of the future right here. No. 6 — Los Angeles Chargers Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon With Philip Rivers approaching the end of the line and two quarterbacks already off the board, the Chargers jump to draft the last QB with top-10 shine. Herbert may not be ready to start right away, but he represents the best long-term use of this pick. No. 7 — Carolina Panthers Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson Carolina could use some help on the offensive line, but Simmons has too much potential to pass up — especially since the Panthers just lost perennial All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly to retirement. Simmons is the kind of athletic playmaker you can envision lining up against Alvin Kamara twice a year and making a difference. No. 8 — Arizona Cardinals Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State The Cardinals ranked 31st in passing yards allowed (281.9 per game) and 28th in passing yards per attempt (7.5), so cornerback is an obvious area in need of an upgrade. Okudah was a unanimous All-America selection and should start right away opposite Patrick Peterson. No. 9 — Jacksonville Jaguars Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn After drafting Josh Allen last year, this may seem like a luxury pick for Jacksonville. But star defensive end Yannick Ngakoue is a free agent and could be heading elsewhere. Shoring up the line — even though this wouldn't be a plug-and-play situation, as Brown is more of an inside threat than Ngakoue — seems like a safe move. No. 10 — Cleveland Browns Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa Despite building a superteam last offseason, the Browns were doomed in part by a weak offensive line. Wirfs should take Cleveland's pass protection in the right direction. No. 11 — New York Jets Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama Jeudy is a precise route-runner who is also explosive enough to make big plays, either down the field or after he gets the ball in his hands on shorter catches. He would be a perfect fit for the Raiders, but in this mock the Jets snipe him one pick earlier. No. 12 — Las Vegas Raiders Xavier McKinney, CB, Alabama The Raiders have a need for a true No. 1 receiver, and there are some tempting options on the board here such as Clemson's Tee Higgins, Alabama's Henry Ruggs and Oklahoma's CeeDee Lamb. But Las Vegas is absolutely desperate for help in the secondary, so adding a player like McKinney makes a lot of sense. He can line up at insider corner, outside corner or safety and make plays in the passing game, and when you think about having to defend Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense for the next 12 years, adding a player (or four) like McKinney sounds downright necessary. If not McKinney or a receiver, however, the Raiders could also look to add talent at linebacker with someone like Oklahoma's Kenneth Murray. There's also a possibility that after selecting hard-hitting safety Johnathan Abram in the first-round last year, the Raiders could complement him with an all-around safety like LSU's Grant Delpit. No. 13 — Indianapolis Colts CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma If there were another franchise-caliber quarterback available here, the Colts might jump. And maybe they end up doing just that, if someone like Utah State's Jordan Love improves his stock before the draft. But if Indianapolis stands pat at QB, upgrading the pass-catching options is a good alternative. Lamb will give the Colts a nasty playmaking threat opposite T.Y. Hilton. No. 14 — Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama Assuming the Buccaneers place the franchise tag on Jameis Winston, the top priority will be to improve the offensive line and hope that more time to throw leads to fewer interceptions and sacks. Wills fills that need nicely. No. 15 — Denver Broncos Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama Denver seems sold on quarterback Drew Lock, so now it's time to give him weapons to help him develop while he's on his rookie contract. Ruggs is an instant big-play threat opposite Courtland Sutton. No. 16 — Atlanta Falcons K'Lavon Chaisson, OLB, LSU Chaisson has the perfect physical profile to make an impact as a speed-rusher at the NFL level, especially indoors on turf. The Falcons need someone like that. No. 17 — Dallas Cowboys Grant Delpit, S, LSU The Cowboys' coverage issues seemed to get more pronounced as the season went on. Delpit can command the secondary and take away some of the intermediate routes that ate up the Dallas defense. No. 18 — Miami Dolphins Mekhi Becton, OT, Louisville After getting Tagovailoa at No. 4, Miami can now turn its attention to keeping him healthy and upright for the next decade. That initiative starts here, by selecting Becton, a 6-foot-7 behemoth who may eventually be better suited to right tackle. But since Tagovailoa is a left-handed thrower, RT is still a premium position for Miami in this scenario. No. 19 — Las Vegas Raiders Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson Vegas received this pick from Chicago in the Khalil Mack trade, and if the draft plays out like this, the Raiders will still have plenty of receivers from which to choose when their second first-round selection comes around. Higgins is a high-upside, high-production player who relies more on his size than his speed, so it depends on how coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock value that skill set. If they prefer a speed option, someone like TCU wideout Jalen Reagor could be more attractive. Higgins is the home-run swing. If the Raiders want to double down on the secondary, however — which wouldn't be a bad idea — two elite cornerbacks still available would be Alabama's Trevon Diggs and LSU's Kristian Fulton. No. 20 — Jacksonville Jaguars Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama After trading away Jalen Ramsey midseason, the Jaguars can now use one of the picks they received from the Los Angeles Rams to select Ramsey's replacement. No. 21 — Philadelphia Eagles Justin Jefferson WR, LSU Carson Wentz needs someone to catch his passes, because the Eagles ran out of receivers by the end of the 2019 season. Jefferson is a nice, safe fit who should be able to move the chains for the next five years. No. 22 — Buffalo Bills Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado Another team looking for a receiver, and another team that will be accommodated by the deep talent pool at that position. Shenault is a good fit as the big-play, bad-weather receiver to pair with quarterback Josh Allen for the next five-plus years. No. 23 — New England Patriots Terrell Lewis, OLB, Alabama New England is devoid of talent at receiver, but the Patriots also have several pending free agents at edge rusher and need to bolster that position. Lewis didn't live up to his preseason hype in 2019, but he's a talented player who can fill multiple roles at defensive end and outside linebacker. No. 24 — New Orleans Saints C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida The Saints were knocked out of the playoffs because they let a receiver get behind the defense in overtime, but even if that weren't the case, it would still make sense for New Orleans to look at secondary help here. No. 25 — Minnesota Vikings Josh Jones, OT, Houston Jones has potential to become a good pass protector, and the Vikings need to give Kirk Cousins as comfortable a pocket as possible in order to compete for the playoffs. No. 26 — Miami Dolphins Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin The Dolphins have secured their future quarterback and their future blindside tackle, and here they can snag the future QB of their offensive line. Pretty good start to a daunting rebuilding project. No. 27 — Seattle Seahawks Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia Hall seems perfectly capable of sliding into Pete Carroll's zone coverage system right away, as he's one of the most pro-ready players in the draft. No. 28 — Baltimore Ravens J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State Using a first-round pick on a running back is usually a bad idea — unless you're the Ravens and your entire franchise is built around running the ball. Lead back Mark Ingram will be 31 next year, and he couldn't make it to the end of the 2019 season healthy. Baltimore could cut him with a minimal cap hit after this year, so it may be time to grab a plug-and-play replacement in Dobbins. No. 29 — Tennessee Titans Colby Parkinson, TE, Stanford The Titans like to deploy two tight ends, and while Jonnu Smith will be just 25 next year, veteran Delanie Walker will be 36. Parkinson can step in and assume most of Walker's duties. No. 30 — Green Bay Packers K.J. Hamler, WR, Penn State Green Bay has a No. 1 receiver Davante Adams, but the 5-foot-9 Hamler could be a perfect complement in the slot. He'd go a long way toward bringing back a big-play element to the Packers' offense. No. 31 — Kansas City Chiefs Javon Kinlaw, DL, South Carolina Star defensive tackle Chris Jones could be moving on as a free agent at the end of the season, so Kinlaw could move right in as a penetrating interior rusher. No. 32 — San Francisco 49ers Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah Even the team with the NFL's best roster has some weaknesses, and San Francisco can try to shore up their cornerback situation with an experienced cover man like Johnson. Mike Grimala can be reached at 702-948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Mike on Twitter at twitter.com/mikegrimala.

Other articles published by Las Vegas Sun

Posted Thursday, 27 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

UNLV is still riding high after a big win over previously undefeated San Diego State on Saturday, and the Rebels hope the momentum will carry over to tonight when they face off against Boise State in a key late-season Mountain West battle. Can UNLV...

Posted Thursday, 27 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

The NFL and its players have moved closer to a new collective bargaining agreement and the next decade of labor peace that would come with it. If the process is at first-and-goal now, though, there's still work to be done to get into the end zone. With a ...

Posted Thursday, 27 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

The last time the Golden Knights met the Edmonton Oilers, it was back in November. Vegas was having a putrid month and lost 4-2. Things have changed since then. The Golden Knights are riding a six-game winning streak, currently the NHL's longest, and...

Vegas Play of the Day: Virginia at Virginia Tech Posted Wednesday, 26 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

The sixth season of the annual Play of the Day betting competition between the Sun's sports staff is now underway, effective July 1. Bankrolls start at $10,000 for each of the four participants, with the objective to increase it as much as possible over...

Posted Wednesday, 26 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

The Las Vegas Lights soccer franchise is always eager to try wacky promotions. They, after all, have llamas on the field for the pregame festivities. The Lights announced today that they will host a “Midnight Match” July 11 against Orange County FC,...

Posted Wednesday, 26 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

With 18 games left in the regular season, the Vegas Golden Knights sit in better position than they have all year. Justin Emerson and Case Keefer come to a mutual agreement on that opinion on the latest Vegas Golden Podcast, presented by the Credit One...

Police: Man fatally shoots brother during argument Posted Wednesday, 26 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

A man fatally shot his brother during an argument Tuesday morning at an apartment complex in the west valley, according to Metro Police. The shooting was reported about 9:35 a.m. in the 9100 block of West Flamingo Road, near Fort Apache Road, police...

Posted Wednesday, 26 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

In a future that isn’t that far off, Robin Lehner will be handed the reins of an NHL team and told to go. He’ll be the No. 1 guy, the unquestioned starting goalie.  He’s earned it after two seasons of splitting the net with Thomas Greiss and Corey ...

Posted Wednesday, 26 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Here’s what you’ll find in this week’s episode of the Sun on the Strip: Recapping Sarah McLachlan's performance at Encore Theater and getting ready for this week's shows from Harry Connick Jr. Morrissey is coming to the Colosseum...

Control your own health care Posted Wednesday, 26 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

It scares me, the number of people willing to give up their freedoms and put their fate in the hands of career politicians to exert more and more control over their lives. Some people who have no concept of how the real world works. Bernie Sanders has...

Posted Wednesday, 26 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

The big winners of last week’s Nevada caucuses were Sen. Bernie Sanders, Latino and younger voters, and Las Vegas. The biggest losers, besides the candidates not finishing with delegates, were caucuses as a voting system and centrist-Democratic...

Posted Wednesday, 26 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Although the dust hasn’t completely settled from this year’s Nevada caucuses, the state emerged from the weekend having avoided the disastrous problems that played out in Iowa. Now, to ensure we never have to dodge a bullet like that again, we should ...

Posted Wednesday, 26 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Durango High basketball coach Chad Beeten saw a play on game film that concerned him. He quickly asked for it to be replayed. The Trailblazers were preparing for today’s class 4A state quarterfinals against Reed of Northern Nevada, starting the process ...

Rule of law has been damaged Posted Wednesday, 26 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

The rule of law within the federal government is broken. The attorney general is “fixing” criminal law cases for the president. William Barr has attempted to lessen sentences for both Roger Stone and Michael Flynn. He has interceded in cases before...

Infighting hurts eventual nominee Posted Wednesday, 26 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Defeating President Donald Trump should be the objective in November. Defeating Germany was the United States’ objective in Europe during World War II. The U.S. forces did not succeed by giving bombs to Germany to drop on England and our other allies....