The Raiders have two majors needs heading into 2020 that need to be addressed in either free agency or the draft: linebacker and wide receiver. Sure, they could target a cornerback, quarterback or defensive lineman, but those needs aren’t as pressing. Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden showed an affinity for drafting players from successful college programs in 2019 and they could look to do that again in 2020.
Oklahoma football had one of the best wide receivers and one of the best linebackers in college football this season and both have declared for the draft.
Kenneth Murray could be the fastest linebacker coming out of the draft and Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman reported that the former Sooner should run a 4.4 40-yard dash at the combine. The Raiders have lacked speed at linebacker for years and Murray could finally be the player who fixes the coverage problems the team has had at the position. He should be available at either of the two first-round picks the Raiders will have. While Murray would be an exciting addition, he probably won’t get the fanfare of an offensive teammate who also declared for the draft.
Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb could be the best prospect at the position in the entire draft. The consensus seems to be that it’s between Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy and him. The Raiders are desperate for wide receiver help and the world already knows that Lamb looks good in silver and black. If he somehow falls to number 12, the Raiders need to pounce.
What Do the Mock Drafts Say?
Once the draft gets closer, it could seem like a long shot that Lamb will fall to the Raiders in the draft, but a number of mock drafts project him to go to the team. Mock drafts from CBS Sports and Fox Sports have the Raiders landing CeeDee Lamb with the 12th pick. However, Pro Football Focus and NBC Sports have Lamb off the board before the Raiders pick. Trading up is unlikely considering how deep this wide receiver class is.
Isaiah Simmons from Clemson is the crown jewel at linebacker in the 2020 class. Despite the fact that PFF has Simmons falling to the Raiders at 12 and Fox Sports has him falling to them at 19, that seems unlikely. Murray seems like the more likely option. He may not be as strong of a prospect as Simmons, but his athletism and past success should have the Raiders very interested in potentially adding him, despite none of the previously mentioned mock drafts projecting him to land in Las Vegas.
Follow the Heavy Oakland Raiders page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Could the Raiders Target Oklahoma’s QB Later in Draft?
Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts didn’t have to declare for the draft because he was a senior, but he could draw curiosity from Mayock and Gruden. The Raiders could try to kick the tires on a rookie quarterback because of another disappointing season from Derek Carr. There doesn’t seem to be a really strong candidate in the first round, but Hurst could be a player that falls to one of the team’s third-round picks.
Hurst had an excellent 2019 season for Oklahoma and finished second in Heisman Trophy voting. He had a horrific game against LSU in the college football playoffs, which will likely hurt his draft status quite a bit. He clearly needs some work if he’s going to be an effective NFL starter. The Raiders’ potential need at quarterback isn’t very pressing. They should draft Hurts in the third round and let him sit behind Carr for a year.