The season is winding down and it’s time for losing teams to start thinking about the draft. With two first-round picks and some glaring needs, the Raiders are going to have to nail this draft. Wide receiver is the team’s biggest need and based on CBS Sports‘ most recent mock draft, the Raiders could end up with Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy with the number 13 pick:
Tyrell Williams, Hunter Renfrow and Jerry Jeudy – that is a solid group for the new-look Raiders. Mike Mayock probably did not anticipate being presented with the chance to draft Jeudy.
In a loaded wide receiver draft class, Jeudy is considered to be the standard. Interestingly enough, CBS has CeeDee Lamb and Henry Ruggs III getting selected ahead of Jeudy. This seems very unlikely, but the Raiders can dreams. Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden probably won’t be too upset if they end up with Lamb or Ruggs instead of Jeudy.
If the season ended today, the Raiders would be picking again at number 18. Despite having an enormous need at linebacker, CBS gets interesting and predicts the team to select Utah State quarterback Jordan Love:
Jon Gruden wants a quarterback with a big arm. Without being forced to choice between Justin Herbert and Love, he takes unpolished Utah State gunslinger.
CBS’s assessment of what Gruden wants seems misinformed. Derek Carr has one of the biggest arms in the NFL and the coach doesn’t seem too keen on utilizing that fact. If Gruden is ready to move on from Carr, it’s probably not going to be for an unpolished gunslinger.
Other Prospects to Watch
Jeudy, Lamb and Higgins seem like they’re going to be the first three wide receivers taken off the board. It’s possible that if the Raiders win their last couple of games this season, they could miss out on all three wideouts. That shouldn’t concern them too much as this is one of the deepest wide receiver drafts in recent memory.
There’s no way Mayock hasn’t gotten very familiar with Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins. The general manager took three Clemson stars in his first draft and there’s no doubt he hasn’t already done his homework on Higgins. Laviska Shenault Jr. out of Colorado is another wide receiver to watch.
The team’s other biggest need is at linebacker and there are a few solid choices this year. It’s hard to imagine Mayock being able to pass up on Clemson’s Dylan Simmons if he somehow falls to the Raiders. He’s likely gone in the top 10. That leaves Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray and Alabama’s Dylan Moses. Murray is the safer pick as he doesn’t have the injury history that Moses has.
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Will Gruden Draft a Quarterback?
At the end of the day, Gruden makes the final call on all picks and he may want to focus on bolstering his offense after giving the defense two first-rounders and an early second-rounder last year. If Gruden has a quarterback he likes more than Derek Carr, he’s going to go after him. At this point, it’s hard to know exactly what the coach is going to do. Many thought Carr was going to be gone before the 2019 season, but he’s started every game. Rumors of Gruden wanting Carr gone are going to be aplenty heading into 2020.
Now, there is a possibility that Gruden will want to bring in a talented prospect in the draft to push Carr. However, that move may not come until later in the draft. People seem to forget that in his 13 seasons as a head coach, Gruden has never used a high draft pick on a quarterback. While there’s going to be loads of smoke in the offseason, the most likely endgame is that Gruden drafts a quarterback between the third and seventh rounds of the draft and the team gives Carr one last shot.