Raiders Predicted to Land ‘Next Big Thing’ WR in Surprise Move

Raiders potential draftee Malik Nabers

Getty Raiders potential draftee Malik Nabers

Of all the Raiders permutations we’ve seen from the vast array of NFL mock drafts out there, this one is the most eye-opening of them all. We’ve seen some surprising stretches for quarterback Michael Penix Jr., we’ve seen some massive trades up for Jayden Daniels, we’ve seen the conservative play (an offensive lineman) and the defensive need play (cornerback) but one thing we have not seen is the Raiders landing a top-flight wide receiver at No. 13.

Why would they need to, with Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers on board?

But veteran mocker Chad Reuter has the Raiders taking a crack at the guy many believe to be the No. 2 receiver in the mix in this draft, the guy some even have tabbed as No. 1 among the pass-catchers: LSU star Malik Nabers.

If you can get Daniels, perhaps it makes sense to get his top target. Few in the mock-draft world have Nabers lasting past No. 9 in this draft, either going to the Bears with that pick or to a team that trades for that pick from Chicago, which is already loaded with receivers. Nabers’ other top landing spot is No. 6, to the receiver-needy Giants.

Raiders Also Add Michael Penix Jr. to Open Round 2

As Reuter points out, he has the Raiders still landing Penix later, in a trade up with Carolina to the first pick of Round 1, No. 33 overall.  Even with the Raiders’ already well-stocked receiver corps, he writes:

“Nabers’ quickness in his routes, strong hands and speed make him a top-10 talent and he reminds me a lot of former LSU receiver Odell Beckham Jr. — who was selected 12th overall by the Giants 10 years ago.

“I have the Raiders trading up for Michael Penix Jr. in Round 2 to compete with Aidan O’Connell and Gardner Minshew for the starting QB job, but Vegas could sneak into the back end of the first to snag a QB whose rookie contract would include the team-friendly fifth-year option.”

Presumably, that quarterback would still be Penix. There is some advantage to taking a quarterback in the first round, that being the fifth-year option that Reuter mentioned. If Penix is a hit with the Raiders, he will be eligible for a big new contract sooner as the first pick of the second round than he would be as a late-first rounder.

Malik Nabers to Follow LSU Greats?

As for Nabers, there is little doubt he is a star in the making. He caught 89 passes in 13 games for 1,569 in LSU’s high-powered offense, adding 14 touchdowns. He was a consensus All-American this year, and was No. 2 in the nation in receiving yards, No. 3 in receptions and No. 10 in touchdowns.’s scouting report calls him a surefire future No. 1 wide receiver. As Lance Zierlein of the site wrote, comparing Nabers to the likes of fellow LSUers Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase and Odell Beckham Jr.:

“Nabers is the next big thing coming out of LSU’s receiver room, with the pure explosiveness and talent to be mentioned in the same breath as former LSU stars starring in the league today. Despite a lack of polish and precision as a route-runner, Nabers’ gliding movements and speed alterations seem to disguise the top-end speed and separation potential that await opposing coverages.

“He’s a bouncy leaper with the athletic ability to make the impossible catches possible.”

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