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Fans in Oakland are going to have a chance to get used to not having the Raiders around.

After opening the season with home games against the Broncos (Sept. 9) and Chiefs (Sept. 15), the Raiders don’t play another home game until Week Nine against the Lions (Nov. 3).

That long absence is going to be nothing compared to leaving for Las Vegas, but it’s going to make it difficult for the team on the field.

Starting in Week Three, the Raiders play at the Vikings and at the Colts. Then comes the Week Five game against the Bears in London, and their bye week.

They come back to the United States in Week Seven at the Packers, followed by a road trip to Houston before they finally drag home to play the Lions.

That’s part of a three-game homestand, but they close with four of their final six on the road as well.

Well as you all know, the 2019 NFL schedule is out. As usual, the league office has decided to make things as hard as possible for the Raiders, who not only have the league’s hardest strength of schedule but also have a week to week slate that might be the most difficult one ever seen in NFL history.

The Raiders will have to come screaming out of the gate. Stumbling early is not an option for the team this season, as they could easily find themselves winless going into Week 9 if they put forth the same putrid effort as last year.

There’s a reason I called this the “way too early” record prediction, and that’s because the Draft is next week and this team could look vastly different two Sundays from now than it does today. Furthermore, the Raiders still have some $18M in cap space to spend outside of the rookie pool, so they aren’t done spending by any means.

With three first rounders and that much money left, I’ll be acting under the assumption that the Raiders will have at least an average defense this coming season, if not an actual good one. They surely cannot be as bad as last year again, right?

Anyway, let’s get this going. I’ll take it week by week, and give my early prediction for their ultimate record on the year. Keep in mind that I have not consulted the Great Beyond for this, so all opinions and predictions are solely my own.

WEEK 1: Denver Broncos (Monday Night Football)

The last time we saw these chumps, the Raiders powerbombed them through a flaming table. The “Last Game In Oakland” was less a game and more a slaughter against a woefully unprepared and poorly coached Denver team. This year, they have a superior coach in Vic Fangio, but their roster still sucks. If Peyton Manning was a Ferrari, Case Keenum was an old pair of roller skates, and Joe Flacco is a Razor Scooter.

Prediction: W (1-0)

WEEK 2: Kansas City Chiefs

We’re not easing into this season, are we? Last year Oakland didn’t play the Chiefs until late in the season but this week they get KC in Week 2. The Chiefs are a fascinating team which is a bona fide juggernaut on offense and a total dumpster fire on defense. They’ve lost Dee Ford, Justin Houston and Eric Berry, and will apparently be relying on Chris Jones to be their pass rush. He’s very good, but KC needs elite edge rushers and draft far too late to procure one next week. A lot of Chiefs games are going to be shootouts, giving Patrick Mahomes flashbacks to his Tortilla Tech days. Still, Mahomes is good enough to win games on his own even with total scrubs around him. This Chiefs team, as it stands today, is VERY scrubby.

Prediction: L (1-1)

WEEK 3: At Minnesota Vikings

The Raiders finally take to the road and head to the Twin Cities for a matchup with the Vikings. The once-proud Vikings defense was a disaster last season and Kirk Cousins was very average. He of the new contract, Adam Thielen, and fellow wideout Stefon Diggs are extremely dangerous, as is running back Dalvin Cook, but the Vikings have apparently elected to play football without an offensive line. If the Raiders can land some pass rushers, that could get ugly for the lads in purple. Minnesota has done essentially nothing to improve their team in this offseason.

Prediction: W (2-1)

WEEK 4: At Indianapolis Colts

Oakland is on the road again in Week 4 (this is going to become a pattern), this time against Cpt. Andrew Luck and a really tough Colts squad. The Colts have drafted really well lately and have quietly built a solid squad. The Colts are a tough out at home, and I’m not sure the Raiders are up to the task just yet. This game will be a good litmus test of how Oakland is coming along in the second year under Jon Gruden.

Prediction: L (2-2)

WEEK 5: Chicago Bears (in London)

The Bears were the team that was willing to pony up for Khalil Mack, and where did that get them? They won the same amount of playoff games as the Raiders did. The Bears have already had to restructure Mack’s deal, and they may be in deep kimchi when they have to pay Mitchell Trubisky. But for now, the Bears remain one of the best teams in the NFL (in the regular season) and trips across the pond haven’t been kind to the Raiders since the invasion of Northumbria.

Prediction: L (2-3)


Previous Raider teams had trouble with the Bye, but this team should be more focused. I wouldn’t be shocked if they shut out Bye.

WEEK 7: At Green Bay Packers

Oh, good, Oakland gets to go to the frozen tundra of Lambeau. Luckily, this game will happen in mid-October, when the weather shouldn’t be overly severe. Unluckily, the Packers still have A. A. Ron Rodgers and a coach that isn’t noted doofus Mike McCarthy. The Packers are the league’s most perennially overrated team, but as long as they have Rodgers that will be the case. The Raiders are quite likely to be the better team at this point in the season, but Rodgers has a way of pulling improbable wins out of his fundament.

Prediction: L (2-4)

WEEK 8: at Houston Texans

Last year, Houston was a playoff team, and they’re my pick for the team that will fall off the most. They depend so much on Deshaun Watson, who when healthy is electric, but who plays a dangerous style. The team goes as he goes, and this game is late enough in the season where Watson may have taken one too many hits.

Even if not, the Raiders match up well with the Texans and as long as Gareon Conley is in top form should be able to outscore Houston even on the road.

Prediction: W (3-4)

WEEK 9: Detroit Lions

The Lions are booty. Yes they have Darius Slay, but they don’t have many weapons on offense that would give anyone pause. You’d think that they would want to surround their highly paid quarterback Matthew Stafford with weapons (as the Raiders have just done for Derek Carr), but instead they have the sorriest sack of boys in blue seen since Reno 911 was still on the air. Antonio Brown vs. Darius Slay could be the best individual matchup we see all season. Unfortunately for the Lions, Oakland has more weapons than that.

Prediction: W (4-4)

WEEK 10: Los Angeles Chargers of South Central Milpitas (Thursday Night Football)

Last year the Chargers dispatched the Raiders twice and both games were ugly. The Chargers were a playoff team, only to later be exposed as a fraud by the Patriots. LA got all of their injuries out of the way before the start of last season, will they be so lucky this year? I have to feel like their luck is about to run out, and Phyllis Rivers won’t be long for the team. The Chargers have good coaching and a young core, but they have to turn back into the Chargers at some point.

Prediction: W (5-4)

WEEK 11: Cincinnati Bengals

If there’s anyone who knows how to beat the Bengals, it’s Antonio Brown, who terrorized them for the last eight years. The Raiders suffered an embarrassing loss to Cincy late last year, and they won’t let that happen again. By this point in the season, and Andy Dalton Experience could be over and the Bengals could be starting whichever rookie QB they draft next week.

Prediction: W (6-4)

WEEK 12: At New York Jets

The Jets select... Fullback...


Roger Vick, Texas A&M.

Prediction: W (7-4)

WEEK 13: At Kansas City Chiefs

This one’s a no from me, Dawg. If the Raiders manage to pull this one out it would be a documented miracle, and Jon Gruden would be beatified by Pope Francis.

Prediction: L (7-5)

WEEK 14: Tennessee Titans

The Titans might as well be in Oakland’s division because they play them every year. Tennessee is really nothing special, but they always manage to give the Raiders a tough fight. We can presume Ryan Tannehill will be starting for the Titans by this juncture, and a surging Raiders team could handle them.

Prediction: W (8-5)

WEEK 15: Jacksonville Jaguars

Sooooo the last two games at the Oakland Coliseum are against teams that did not exist when it was built? Well isn’t that special. The Jaguars were awful last year, but that may be due to Blake Bortles, who has been replaced by former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles. Unfortunately for Foles, the Jaguars don’t have as many offensive weapons as his Eagles did, so who knows how much success he will have.

Prediction: W (9-5)

WEEK 16: At Long Beach Chargers of Orange County

Raider games at the Chargers have a long-standing tradition of being de facto Raider home games, and this one will be no exception. However, the Chargers are a proud franchise with a storied history of epic playoff flameouts and they will be keen to set themselves up for another one with a win here.

Prediction: L (9-6)

WEEK 17: At Denver Broncos

By this point in the season, Denver could be starting a schizophrenic hobo at right tackle who wards off defensive ends with his breath and constant ravings about how the CIA stole his teeth. Joe Flacco will have suffered his fifth concussion of the season and torn both rotator cuffs after trying to throw left-handed. But no matter how bad the Broncos are, they are a tough customer at home especially in late December when it will be so cold the pirate on the Raiders’ helmets will actually ask for a hooded sash.

Prediction: L (9-7)

I could be way off base here. Several of these could go the other way. But as long as the team keeps their head above water early on, the schedule eases up in the later weeks. Despite this ridiculously tough set of games, the Raiders have truly done more to improve their team than any other team in the NFL this offseason and if they snag some difference-makers in the Draft next week they could conceivably make a playoff push.

Raider Gridiron / Noah Fant can start for the rebuilt Raiders
« on: April 17, 2019, 02:01:19 AM »

24. Oakland Raiders: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

Damien: The biggest loss the Raiders had this offseason was tight end Jared Cook, who signed with the New Orleans Saints. He was their No. 1 receiver and his departure opens a huge hole at the tight end position. Lucky for them, this is a pretty good draft for tight ends, especially at the top. Also lucky for them — at least in this mock draft — the perfect guy to replace Cook is on the board when they pick.

Fant and T.J. Hockenson played on the same Iowa team. Hockenson seems to be getting a lot more respect in this draft than Fant, but that hasn’t always been the case. At points since the college football season ended, it was Fant who received the bulk of the praise. Fant is the more athletic of the two. He also caught twice as many touchdowns the past two seasons (18) than Hockenson (nine). Hardly a consolation prize and the tight-end-happy Jon Gruden is ecstatic to get Fant here.

Analysis: If Fant is available at No. 24, it’s going to be hard for the Raiders to pass him up. Imagine a passing attack with Fant, Antonio Brown, and Tyrell Williams. That’s an impressive offseason for the Raiders. While Fant can get deep, he won’t need to on a team with Brown and Williams. He can work the underneath game and take advantage of smaller safeties or less athletic linebackers. While he may not see the 101 targets Cook did for the Raiders last season, he should get more than enough to justify this selection.

Raider Gridiron / STORK...........
« on: April 17, 2019, 01:58:01 AM »
Can you transcribe this exactly to this site?

Raider Gridiron / Raiders willing to move back in Draft
« on: April 17, 2019, 01:19:06 AM »
Heading into the NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders are sitting in a solid position. The roster has plenty of new contributors on both sides of the ball, head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock are in lockstep with their approach, and they have eight more picks to use on young talent. Four of these picks are even in the top 35!

That being said, there is always room to improve. Why only have eight picks when you can have 10? Examining the Raiders draft board shows that there is a large gap between their selections. Following the pick at 35 overall, the Raiders can't draft another player until 106, which is in the fourth round. The third-round pick was sent to Pittsburgh as part of the deal that brought Antonio Brown to town, so Oakland did receive fair compensation. However, Mayock isn't exactly satisfied with where his team sits.

He has previously mentioned that his favorite selections in the draft generally fall between the end of the first and the beginning of the third round. This area is where he really believes that teams find great success, but the Raiders won't have many opportunities to make these selections, barring a trade. Well, that's not out of the question for the Raiders GM.

“Sure. I mean like I said earlier, we move up, we move back," Mayock said during his pre-draft press conference. "Personally, you just heard me say how much I love 20 to 60. I’d love to get a couple more picks in there. I just think we have a lot of holes that need to be filled. I think that’s a really good place to go fishing. If we can, we can. But the other cool thing is if we just do nothing but sit there and go 4, 24, 27 and 35. What we keep talking about upstairs is we better four foundation football players. We define foundation as talent and football character. That’s what we want, guys who love the game. If we don’t move up, down or anywhere, we better get four of those guys.”

With the NFL being so competitive, the Raiders have to find ways to quickly improve on a daily basis. Part of this is making the right moves in free agency, which is why Mayock and Gruden brought Trenton Brown, Brandon Marshall, Tyrell Williams, and other veterans to Oakland. The other aspect is bringing the right youngsters into the building via the draft. Mayock faces a great deal of pressure in his first-ever draft as a GM, and he will have to nail every pick. This task will be made more difficult by the lack of a third-round selection.

If the Raiders can add one or two more selections in the mid-second and third rounds by trading back, it would give them far more opportunities to find the right players. Right now, there is a situation that exists in which the Raiders have to reach too early for a decent player because he may not be available at 106. It's a tricky situation that Mayock would prefer to avoid, but that may not be possible at this point. Trading back could be the best option, but the Raider GM may not be looking to force that decision.

Raider Gridiron / Raiders hosting Michigan defender Rashan Gary
« on: April 16, 2019, 01:08:59 AM »
No matter which direction the Raiders go with the fourth overall pick, it's almost guaranteed that Paul Guenther will soon be teaching a top defensive talent the intricacies of his defense.

With the 2019 NFL Draft approaching, the 30 pre-draft visits are winding down. Most teams have finished doing their due diligence on the top players and are getting the boards finalized. The visits are slowly starting to trickle down, and some of the top players have a better idea of where they will land in during the biggest weekend of the offseason. However, Jon Gruden's team isn't quite finished.

According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, the Oakland Raiders will be hosting Michigan defensive lineman Rashan Gary this week. He has a meeting with the Seattle Seahawks first but will be heading to the Bay Area shortly after.

A standout for the Wolverines, Gary (6-foot-6-inches, 283 pounds) views himself as the best player in the upcoming NFL Draft, and he should be virtually guaranteed to be selected in the first five picks. His 4.58-second 40-yard dash and impressive performance at the NFL Scouting Combine helped solidify this standing. Granted, the early portions of the draft could severely change depending on how the Kyler Murray situation plays out, but the majority of these teams are in desperate need for a pass rush. Gary would help alter every single defensive line, including the Raiders group that only mustered 13 sacks in 2018.

With his versatility, the Raiders could use Gary as an inside tackle while working with P.J. Hall and Maurice Hurst, or they could keep him at defensive end, which is where he truly excelled at Michigan. The Michigan man tallied 23 tackles for a loss and 9.5 sacks in his three-year career, and he would be excited at the prospect of taking those talents to Oakland.

One aspect that would benefit Gary would be the opportunity to pair once again with his former teammate. Last year, the Raiders used a fifth-round pick (140 overall) to grab a big defensive tackle in Hurst. He was expected to be a run-stuffing, quarterback-sacking machine, and he responded with 31 combined tackles, four sacks, and one forced fumble in an injury-shortened season.

“Man, if I had an opportunity to be a Raider, I would love it. I miss my man, Mo,” Gary said at the prospect of playing with his former teammate.

Before heading to the Bay Area, however, Hurst shined for the Michigan Wolverines. In his four-year career, he piled up 130 combined tackles, including 32 for a loss. Hurst also added 13.5 sacks and one forced fumble. He was an effective defender for Jim Harbaugh, and he excelled when paired with Gary.

Whether this reunion happens remains to be seen, but the Michigan defender can make a positive impression on the Raiders front office this week with his official visit.


A week from now it will officially be draft week, but the Raiders continue to host prospects. The latest news has LSU linebacker Devin White coming to Oakland on Wednesday according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

    The #Raiders are flying #LSU LB Devin White, perhaps the draft’s top at his position, out for a visit tomorrow and Wednesday, source said. Sounds like he’s in play at No. 4.
    — Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 15, 2019

Rapoport makes a bit of an assumption in his tweet suggesting White is in play for the Raiders at four. He may be, but the visit could also just be covering all of their bases, including should they trade down in the first round.

White is widely considered the draft’s top off the ball linebacker, though some say the distance between he and Michigan’s Devin Bush may not be much.

The Raiders have an obvious need at the inside linebacker position, so the interest in White or Bush would make a lot of sense — Neither of whom are expected to be there when the Raiders make their second pick at 24.

Most also have White as a sure top-10 pick in April’s draft, if not a top five pick, so if the Raiders do have eyes for him, the only way they would get him is either with their pick at four or not much farther down. Some believe he is squarely on the Buccaneers radar at 5 or perhaps the Giants at 6.

Raider Gridiron / Raiders retain three exclusive rights free agents
« on: April 16, 2019, 01:03:54 AM »
The Oakland Raiders are back to work as part of the offseason program, and they have started by retaining three contributors from 2018.

Monday afternoon, the Silver and Black announced that they had re-signed wide receiver Marcell Ateman, tackle Justin Murray, and kicker Daniel Carlson. All three were exclusive rights free agents after spending the majority of the season with the Raiders, and now they will be set to compete for roster spots in 2019.

Following his dismissal from the Minnesota Vikings after a dismal week two, Carlson was out of a job until the week seven bye when Jon Gruden brought him to town. The rookie promptly became the most reliable kicker in the league, bar none. He made all four of his extra point attempts in week eight, missed one of his two attempted field goals in week nine, and then rattled off 15 consecutive kicks without a miss to finish the season. Carlson also made every single extra point he attempted in 2018. Very impressive production for a player that had been a castoff after a tie with Green Bay in which he missed all three field goal attempts.

To top off his season, the rookie weapon also set a new single-season record for the Raiders by converting on 94.1 percent of his field goals. The previous mark, set by Sebastian Janikowski in 2012, was 91.2 percent. Seabass was known for his consistency as a weapon throughout his storied Raiders career, and yet this rookie stepped in and shattered his career-best record. And he did so while the Vikings struggled through another season of special teams frustration.

Ateman, on the other hand, joined the Oakland Raiders as a seventh-round pick out of Oklahoma State in 2018. The rookie played through the preseason as a member of the team but was waived during final roster cuts. The team signed him to the practice squad, where he remained until late October. Ateman was elevated to the active roster, where he would remain the rest of the year. He started six of the seven games in which he appeared and tallied 15 receptions for 154 yards and one touchdown. Ateman showed enough promise during the season to warrant a roster spot as the Raiders approach OTAs. His spot with the team won't be guaranteed, but Ateman will have an opportunity to showcase his skills in Jon Gruden's constantly-evolving offense.

Murray originally entered the NFL after signing with the Denver Broncos as an undrafted free agent in 2016, and he spent 2017 on the practice squads of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints. However, Murray was signed by the Cincinnati Bengals to finish out the season. The Raiders claimed him off of waivers prior to week one of the 2018 season, and he remained on the team throughout the year. Murray appeared in two games for the Silver and Black as a rotational lineman, both of which were losses to the Los Angeles Chargers (week 5) and the Seattle Seahawks (week 6). The Raiders need depth on the offensive line, and Murray will provide just that in 2019.


Mock drafts are a tool for NFL fans that allow us to look at different scenarios and to examine who may or may not be available at a specific pick. Most of the time, these mock drafts are for entertainment purposes only.

However, there are a few people in the media world who excel at getting a large number of picks correct. One such person is Evan Silva of

n 2018, Silva had the most accurate mock draft in the media, predicting 28 of the 32 players who were selected in the first round. He even matched 10 players to the correct team in the first round, the most of anyone in the industry.

Needless to say, when Silva produces a mock draft close to the NFL Draft, it’s time to pay attention. Late on Friday night, Silva tweeted his second mock draft of the year. Take a look at Silva’s entire first round mock draft below:

    My 2019 NFL Mock Draft 2.0

    — Evan Silva (@evansilva) April 13, 2019

Silva has the Raiders selecting defensive tackle Quinnen Williams at No. 4 as that has quickly become the consensus among draft analysts. But the most interesting part of his draft is what the Raiders did at the back end of the first round.

At pick No.24, the Raiders grabbed defensive end Brian Burns from Florida State. Burns is one of the best edge rushers in this class as he has elite athleticism and college production. But due to his lack of size, it’s certainly possible he could fall outside of the top-10.

If Burns were to fall to the Raiders at No. 24, that would be the steal of the draft. Pairing him with Quinnen Williams would be the most ideal scenario for Oakland.

The Raiders have four picks in the top 35 overall of the 2019 NFL Draft, and then aren't scheduled to pick again until the fourth round.

That's a lot of downtime for two active minds. General manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden might not want to sit idle for 70 selections waiting to add another football player. The Silver and Black have too many needs, to feel comfortable watching possible contributors will get reeled out of the draft pool in the second and third rounds.

"I'd love to get a couple more picks in there," Mayock said Thursday during his pre-NFL draft press conference. "I just think we have a lot of holes that need to be filled. I think that's a really good place to go fishing. If we can, we can."

They would have to throw chum in the water to reel those picks in. You get that by trading down, stepping back from a scheduled pick for more volume. The Raiders won't be adverse to that. They traded a ton last year, and have the assets to do whatever they want in this draft. They also have so many valuable commodities high in the draft that they won't have to step back much to increase their haul.

Trading down slightly from No. 4 would reap the greatest return, though trade options remain with picks later in the first-round or the early second.

Additional selections would be nice, especially if a coveted player remains available at a slightly lower draft spot. It might be worth strong consideration if the Raiders are still looking defense early and value a cluster of Montez Sweat, Rashan Gary and Ed Oliver nearly as much as Quinnen Williams and Josh Allen.

They could drop from No. 4, pick up some picks and still get someone in that first trio.

If not, Mayock says the Raiders will be comfortable selecting as scheduled at Nos. 4, 24, 27 and 35. Just as he'll fight against reaching for a player at a particular slot, he won't take just any deal to add selections.

The goal remains the same.

"What we keep talking about upstairs is we better find four foundation football players," Mayock said. "We define foundation as talent and football character. That's what we want, guys who love the game. If we don't move up, down or anywhere, we better get four of those guys."

Staying put significantly decreases the team's margin for error, but could increase the opportunity to draft a coveted player without interference from other teams. It would also address fewer needs when the Raiders have so many spots in need of an upgrade.

Mayock's grand point is key. The Raiders need players who can form an organizational bedrock, and grow with the franchise during Gruden's long tenure here. They could use instant impacts from quite a few, always a tough ask for a rookie.

The Raiders believe they have veteran insurance at most positions to take some pressure off new kids. That should help the Raiders feel free to add the best players regardless of position. Except edge rusher. They need a few of those guys.

The Raiders are in position to move up and down the draft board, or stay put with enough high picks to add impact players in a pivotal that could go a long way in shaping the Gruden/Mayock era. There's a ton riding on these picks, and Mayock is excited to help make them.

[RELATED: Jon Gruden gives Mike Mayock advice as draft nears]

"We laugh about it all the time but, A.) I don't feel any pressure about it, B.) I love it and embrace it because it's going to give us an opportunity to continue to try to turn the corner here and become a good football team, and I think what (having so many early picks) really gives us is flexibility and that's what I love about it.

"Obviously, we could move up and you got to know what you are trying to do and how you are trying to do it. You can try to increase your draft capital by moving down or you stay the same, and four of the first 35 picks gives you an opportunity to consider all those scenarios multiple times, and again, that's why we are opening up the lines of communication with all the teams around the league.

"I keep telling our guys, and you guys have heard me say this before, we need to be nimble, and nimble means depending on what the situation is to be able to react quickly according to the situation and make the right decision."

.....prove difficult

When you need an edge rusher as bad as the Raiders do, reaching for need seems almost inevitable.

Every GM preaches drafting the best player available. Some are at least honest enough to admit that need also plays a significant role in that selection. Former Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie was one of those who consistently swore the player he selected was the best player on the board, even though the selections were clearly filling needs. Raiders GM Mike Mayock is a bit more upfront about the more practical strategy a GM uses to select certain players — that need is the primary factor.

“I’m the son of a coach and I know how coaches think, and coaches think need,” Mayock said in his pre-draft press conference. “And we are a coach-driven building, our coaches are highly involved and that’s good. I embrace that.”

I doubt there are many (if any) reading this who isn’t already quite familiar with the Raiders considerable need of edge rushing. The need was so great that it seemed inevitable the team would make a play for one of the top edge rushers in free agency to ensure they didn’t go into the draft in desperation mode at the position.

Being desperate at any position ends up calling for desperate measures.

“The flip side is you can’t reach,” Mayock continued, “you got to use some common sense and that’s what I preach upstairs. Is that if we are in a situation where if two similarly rated players and one is a higher position of need, great, let’s go get him, but if there is a discount, a disparity between two let’s not reach for need because the more you do that, the more you dilute your roster, and that’s a conversation we’ve had a lot.”

It’s a conversation that needed to happen, especially after last year’s draft.

In Gruden’s first draft since returning to coaching he passed up on clearly the best player on the board and best safety in the draft Derwin James (twice) to reach for tackle Kolton Miller. Then he traded up in the third round to get small school tackle Brandon Parker. Those reaches bit them in the ass last season and still this offseason tackle was the top priority as they began free agency by making Trent Brown the highest paid offensive lineman in NFL history.

With the way most mock drafts are falling, the Raiders are in a precarious position with regard to pass rushers. The top two pass rushers Nick Bosa and Josh Allen are usually gone, and the next tier would be considered a reach at 4. The edge rushers most commonly in that group are Brian Burns, Montez Sweat, and Clelin Ferrell. But by the time they get to pick 24, all those next tier of pass rushers figure to be gone.

This will make it tempting to trade up in the first round. The fear with that is teams strong arming the Raiders to force them to give up too much in trade knowing they have them right where they want them. The draft value chart suggests the Raiders could move up into the top 12 while not having to surrender both pick 24 and 27. But if the team they are negotiating with simply stands their ground, and the Raiders know if they don’t make that trade, they will miss out on one of the draft’s top pass rushers, they may be forced to overpay to make the move.

The next group of edge rushers are not widely considered first round prospects. But as much draft sense as it makes for the Raiders to not reach for anyone in that group at 24 or 27, it could prove tempting if they are sitting there looking at the risk of going through all three first round selections without addressing the most glaring need on the team.

No one knows exactly how the draft will play out. Mayock’s draft board might be very different than those of other teams or draft analysts. It often is. He is also not the one with the final say in who gets drafted.

Mayock admits that he is the conservative one and Gruden is more willing to ‘“roll the dice”. Gruden gets antsy and either gives up too much or drafts players higher than they should be taken for fear of not getting his guy or not filling a need. That’s not a good combination when considering the situation the Raiders have put themselves in at edge rusher.

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