Las Vegas Raiders: Top Three Needs in the 2021 NFL Draft
With the NFL Draft looming, the Las Vegas Raiders search high and low to see who it is will don the silver and black after being chosen with the 17th overall pick in this years draft. Something important to keep an eye on comes from longtime Raiders beat writer and current employee of The Atheltic Vic Tafur who said, “This is just a gut feeling, but I don’t think the Raiders will draft any players in the first three rounds who opted out of their college seasons last year for COVID-19 reasons. Both Gruden and Mayock constantly preach about how much they want players who love football. Respecting a player’s decision is one thing, but selecting that player after he opted out of last season may not be easy for Gruden or Mayock to swallow.
Especially after the team did not have a good handle on the COVID-19 situation; it was fined a combined $1.2 million and stripped a sixth-round draft pick (which was later returned on appeal) for a series of violations and screw-ups.” This may rule out a lot of the top guys at their positions, but luckily for the Raiders there is a high chance that a lot of the top guys will already be gone by the time they pick at 17. So without further ado, these are the top three needs for the Las Vegas Raiders in the 2021 draft.
First and foremost, the Las Vegas Raiders need to help protect Derek Carr. After trading Trent Brown to the Patriots, this leaves a massive hole on the right side of the line. The Raiders do not seem to be too keen on Brandon Parker who did not really show up the past three seasons so they may be looking to snag someone in the first round to put in that spot. Someone they could look at is Christian Darrisaw out of Virginia Tech. Under recruited coming out of high school, Darrisaw entered his college days with something to prove.
The scouting report from The Athletic’s Tony Pauline says that he is an “Athletic, explosive offensive tackle who stands out in pass protection and blocking for the run. Sets with a wide base, works to bend his knees, and stays square. Patient in pass protection, keeps his feet moving, and makes exceptional use of angles”. Looking over his entire college career, Darrisaw has done nothing but impress, earning Freshman All-American honors in his first year and continued to rise from there. Darrisaw also did not opt out of the 2020 season which fits the assumed Raiders criteria. Check out some footage of him below.
Recently the Raiders signed Karl Joseph who was the Raiders 2016 first round pick who ended up spending the 2020 season with the Cleveland Browns. This should give a veteran presence and short term solution to their free safety needs. It seems ripe to bring in a veteran and then draft someone in round one to maybe play along with that veteran and eventually take over someday. The guy that the Raiders may look at drafting is Trevon Moehrig out of Texas Christian University (TCU). Moehrig is the top safety according to Pro Football Focus in this draft and the 15th best overall player.
According to draft experts, Trevon has quality instincts, a steady presence in the middle of the field, flashes some hard hitting, ball skills, is experienced and successful against good college talent and he is a very physical and hard tackler. Something else that’s interesting is he played a lot of strong safety in college so he may be perfect to pair with Joseph this season with eventual plans to move him to free safety. Check out some of his highlights below.
As of right now the Raiders have Yannick Ngakoue, Clelin Ferrell, Maxx Crosby, Carl Nassib and Arden Key all on their roster. So they have a surplus of defensive ends. The issue here is that none of these guys are under contract beyond 2022 with the exception of Ferrell who has a fifth-year team option that they could exercise.
A player the Raiders could select to help fulfill this need is Kwity Paye out of the University of Michigan. Paye is a dangerous force to be reckoned with on the line. He has the ability to dip underneath tackles, fire to the inside, and has a burst off the ball that is second to none. He’s also versatile and can fit in a 3-4 or 4-3 defense whichever the team needs. Check out some of his tape below.
Of course there’s always the chance that the Raiders could trade up or trade back for someone that’s not on this list. Or end up trading out of the draft entirely for proven talent. These needs are just based off of last season’s campaign and looking at the roster as of today. Be sure to tune in to the NFL Draft this Thursday April 29 to see what happens for sure.
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MANDATORY PHOTO CREDIT: PressFrom
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