It's three seasons into head coach Jon Gruden’s 10-year contract and the Raiders have not made the playoffs despite fielding solid teams, especially on the offensive side of the ball in the past two seasons. A large part of the problem has been the inability of Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock to hit on their draft picks, especially on the defensive side. Despite selecting multiple defensive backs and pass rushers in the past drafts, both remain positions of need. The offensive line is getting old and expensive with Richie Incognito and Trent Brown already having departed. Protecting quarterback Derek Carr and retaining the physical identity of the team will be another area to address in the draft.
Round 1, Pick 17: Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
Horn is an extremely physical press cornerback who is too good to pass up at this spot. He plays with an alpha mentality and can defend tight ends, which would be beneficial in the AFC West. While the Raiders did draft defensive backs early in the last three drafts, Horn is a premier talent and should step into a starting role and be successful early in his career.
Round 2, Pick 48: Ronnie Perkins, DE, Oklahoma
A second consecutive defensive pick in Ronnie Perkins gives the Raiders much-needed pass-rush help. The violent power rusher gets home with his length and strength. Perkins is also a great run defender. This selection reinforces the physical nature of the team while addressing an area of need with great value.
Round 3, Pick 84: Josh Myers, Interior OL, Ohio State
The versatile Myers could play guard or center for the Raiders depending on what they need. He packages plenty of athleticism into his strong frame and should be a quality starter along the interior after some technical tweaks are made by the coaching staff.
Round 4, Pick 122: D’Ante Smith, T, East Carolina
A Senior-Bowl standout, Smith possesses great length and athleticism to succeed on an island in pass protection. He is a lighter tackle who is still growing into his body and needs to refine his game. As a developmental tackle, he has the potential to become a starter opposite Kolton Miller in a year or two.
Round 5, Pick 163: Jaret Patterson, RB, Buffalo
The scorer of most FBS rushing touchdowns in a single game is an exciting scat-back who can offer a change of pace element to lead runner Josh Jacobs. Patterson is elusive in the open field and can create yardage on his own. While not being asked to catch many passes in college, he possesses the movement skills that should translate to strong route running.
Round 6, Pick 203: Janarius Robinson, DE, Florida State
Offering a prototypical frame at 6-foot-5, 266 pounds, Robinson has 35 ¾-inch arms. On the field, he shows play strength and flashes the ability to use that length. Robinson had some impressive power rushes at the Senior Bowl. This is an upside pick in the sixth round that could pay off massively.
Round 7, Pick 248: Tre Norwood, DB, Oklahoma
The versatile defensive back can play cornerback or safety in a zone scheme. Norwood has a knack for taking the ball away and should contribute on special teams. He would be a cheap depth piece for the next four years that can fill multiple positions in a pinch.
With this draft, the Raiders would reinforce the physical identity of their team while addressing needs on both sides of the ball. Horn, Perkins and Myers should be early starters who contribute to the team’s success starting in 2021.
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