Possible trades and surprises abound for the Las Vegas Raiders NFL Draft haul in Moe Moton’s final mock draft.
We’ve done countless mock drafts, read expert opinions and listened to Las Vegas Raiders general manager Mike Mayock during his pre-draft press conference. Yet, no one has the slightest idea of the Raiders NFL Draft plans.
Last year, the Silver and Black shocked a lot of people with defensive end Clelin Ferrell at No. 4. Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden went on to fill needs at running back (Josh Jacobs) and safety (Johnathan Abram) in the first round.
During free agency, team brass spread its financial capital to fill several roster voids, leaving just two glaring holes in the starting lineup at wide receiver and cornerback. While many expect the Raiders to fill those major needs in the first round, Mayock could address those spots on Day 2 because of the depth at both positions.
However, the Raiders NFL Draft plans should include a focus on quality prospects atop the draft rather than rely on potential overproduction in the middle rounds.
This year, we’ll look at a final dual mock Raiders NFL draft, which puts predictions next preferred (Moe) picks with a brief explanation for each selection. Trade alerts are marked with an asterisk.
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Round 1, Pick 12: WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
Gruden likely wants to plug a wide receiver into the offense and see him contribute in Week 1. Remember, he rolled the dice on Antonio Brown and did everything possible to keep him on the roster after all his off-field antics, frozen feet, a helmet issue and a squabble with Mayock.
One year later, Gruden selects his WR1 in the draft. Jerry Jeudy is a refined route-runner without all the drama. He’s not the perfect prospect because of his drops, specifically in the middle of the field, but the Alabama product played in a pro-style offense and shouldn’t have any issue in the Raiders west coast scheme.
Before Ja’Marr Chase, Jeudy earned the Fred Biletnikoff Award for the top wide receiver in the country during the 2018 campaign. He’ll immediately become the go-to guy in the passing game. The 6’1″, 193-pound wideout can handle the volume and demand with the spotlight on him.
Moe’s Pick: WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
CeeDee Lamb isn’t as polished in comparison to Jeudy, but he put up impressive numbers in all three terms at Oklahoma with different signal-callers each season. If the Raiders have instability under center, the former Sooner could still be a factor because of his quarterback-friendly traits.
Lamb will come back to the football on his routes, shake off defenders after the catch and attack all three levels of the field. A big-armed quarterback can find him deep, and a conservative passer could feed the wideout short high-percentage targets on catch-and-run plays.
Lamb didn’t face quality press-man coverage or stout defenses on a frequent basis, but that doesn’t mean he can’t beat cornerbacks with his sleek separation and reliable hands-on the pro level. According to NBC’s Peter King, Mayock “loves” Lamb as the Raiders NFL Draft decisions come to a head.
*Round 1, Pick 19: CB A.J. Terrell, Clemson
Note the asterisk—that’s a trade alert! Keep an eye on the New Orleans Saints. They may want to leapfrog the New England Patriots for a signal-caller—perhaps Jordan Love.
Although the Saints attached a first-round tender to quarterback Taysom Hill, he’s only thrown 13 regular-season passes. The team should have an open competition for the lead role if Drew Brees retires after the 2020 campaign.
If the Raiders are stuck in this spot, A.J. Terrell seems like a realistic option. Last year, the club drafted three Clemson prospects. The ACC program fell short of consecutive titles but competed in the championship game against LSU.
If Mayock’s Raiders NFL Draft strategy continues to target quality prospects who come from a school with a winning mentality, Terrell is likely on the team’s radar. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler heard the cornerback has garnered top-15 buzz.
Terrell doesn’t have ideal play strength to handle physical wide receivers but time in the weight room could solve that issue. He’s a long defender (6’1″, 195 lbs and 31 ¼-inch arms). His measurements match what the Raiders like to see in their cornerbacks.
*Moe’s Pick: CB Kristian Fulton, LSU
At 6’0″, 197 pounds with 30 ⅝-inch arms, Kristian Fulton doesn’t have great length. On the other hand, he has a pro cornerback body frame and uses a good press-man technique. Like Terrell, the LSU product struggled in the championship game but showed air-tight coverage in matchups during the regular season.
Fulton only recorded two interceptions on the collegiate level. Yet, he broke up 20 passes—14 last season. The LSU product has the speed, quickness and route recognition to remain in stride with any type of wide receiver on the boundary. Most have the Raiders NFL Draft day one including a cornerback – and it seems probable, barring a trade of some sort.
*Trade Back Option: DT Justin Madubuike, Texas A&M
If the Raiders move back into the second round, Justin Madubuike could be an option. According to Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller, the team wants an upgrade in the middle of the defensive line.
Madubuike logged 5.5 sacks in consecutive campaigns and 22 tackles for loss since 2018. He can join the team’s defensive line rotation and take on a bigger role if Collins signs elsewhere next season or P.J. Hall falls out of favor because of low production.
For the long term, Maurice Hurst and Madubuike could become a solid pass-rushing duo on the interior. In 2021, the Raiders can re-sign Johnathan Hankins and allow him to focus on clogging the middle against the run on early downs.
Round 3, Pick 80: DT James Lynch, Baylor
Through three terms, James Lynch built up to a big standout season, registering 19.5 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks. He has a motor without an off button on the field, which explains his hyper-production when given the opportunity to play significant defensive snaps.
Forget the narrative about softer Big 12 defenses for a moment and focus on the prospect. Teams will find it difficult to ignore Lynch’s production last season. The Raiders should have their sights set on defensive tackles who can penetrate the pocket. If they want to beat the Kansas City Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes must go down hard.
Moe’s Pick: WR Tyler Johnson, Minnesota
During the 2019 offseason, Mayock and Gruden made a concerted effort to protect quarterback Derek Carr. The team signed guard Richie Incognito and made tackle Trent Brown the highest-paid offensive lineman at the time. Now, the shot-callers need to supply their signal-caller with quality weapons.
Even with Jeudy or Lamb, it wouldn’t hurt to double-dip in a deep class. Similar to the latter wideout, Tyler Johnson produced with constant changes at quarterback since 2017. More impressively, these signal-callers weren’t on the same level as Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts.
Yet, Johnson found ways to make plays and snagged high-difficulty receptions in traffic. He’s a potential Day 2 steal who can become an immediate threat in the red zone. The Minnesota product scored 33 touchdowns through four campaigns.
Round 3, Pick 81: DB Terrell Burgess, Utah
The Silver and Black signed Randall to a one-year deal. He’ll play safety, according to Mayock, but for how long?
If Randall has a strong year in Las Vegas, he may try to cash in on his production on the open market, taking himself out of the team’s price range.
Last season, Terrell Burgess posted modest numbers in coverage, recording seven tackles for loss, five pass breakups and an interception. He’s a safety with cornerback experience, which makes him an ideal floater in defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s scheme.
Listen to the latest addition to the Silver and Black Today Media Group family: Just Pod Baby with Evan Groat. Raiders beat writer Tashan Reed and Alec Ingold were this week’s guests.
Burgess can further grasp the position in a backup role while Randall starts at free safety. If the veteran leaves in free agency next year, the Utah product can potentially line up alongside Abram. The coaching staff could also experiment with him in the slot if Lamarcus Joyner continues to struggle at the position.
Burgess has intriguing traits. He’s athletic, physical and tackles well in the open field—just imagine a bigger version of Karl Joseph.
Moe’s Pick: RB Zack Moss, Utah
With all the attention on the wide receiver position, Raiders fans seem to overlook the need to spell Jacobs in the backfield.
In 2019, Jacobs ran the ball 242 times through 13 contests. Starting Week 7, he battled a shoulder injury. Gruden shouldn’t drive the Alabama product into the ground like he did to Cadillac Williams in Tampa Bay.
Jacobs needs a complementary running mate who’s also capable of taking the field on all three downs. Zack Moss can fulfill that role and plays a similar physical style of football.
Last year, Moss averaged the most yards after contact (4.41), per Pro Football Focus. At the NFL Scouting Combine, he ran a 4.65-second 40-yard time with a hamstring injury, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Nevertheless, the Utah product will earn his keep running over defenders for first downs and catching out of the backfield.
Round 3, Pick 91: WR Van Jefferson, Florida
This seems like a prototypical Gruden pick. Van Jefferson runs a detailed route tree. He can also line up at every wide receiver spot.
Again, the Raiders should go into the draft with the intent to draft two wide receivers in case of injury. If one perimeter playmaker goes down, we would have to revisit the conversation about depth.
Jefferson isn’t going to compete for the WR1 spot, but he can contribute right away because of his versatility. The Florida product’s father, Shawn, played 13 seasons in the league and serves as the wide receiver coach for the New York Jets.
The younger Jefferson has some of the elder’s skills, which gives him a bit of a head start on the pro level.
Moe’s Pick: OG Damien Lewis, LSU
Although it’s quiet on the trade front, the Raiders NFL Draft plans may include a move on draft day. They extended guard Denzelle Good’s contract and signed Eric Kush who’s not a guarantee to claim a roster spot before the regular season.
Damien Lewis won’t have the pressure to start. Yet, he can push Good for the first-string role during training camp. In 2019, the 6’2″, 327-pound guard earned Second-Team All-SEC and First Team All-America honors.
Lewis is more of a mauler than a mover, but he’s capable of clearing running lanes through the second level and absorbing an edge-rusher’s best attempt at a bull rush.
Round 4, Pick 121: EDGE Jabari Zuniga, Florida
This pick is for Mahomes. The Silver and Black add another pass-rusher. Jabari Zuniga has the physical tools to play on passing downs right out of college.
Zuniga has the speed (4.64-second 40-yard time) and long arms (32 ⅞ inches) to stay within reach of his targets. While on pursuit, he’s going to bring down quarterbacks and ball-carriers on most occasions.
At Florida, Zuniga logged 33 tackles for loss and 18.5 sacks but never put together a big breakout year to catapult his draft stock. In spurts, he’s a disruptive force though. The 6’3″, 264-pound defensive lineman can fill a role behind Maxx Crosby and push Arden Key for sub-package snaps.
Moe’s Pick: LB Logan Wilson, Wyoming
The Raiders revert to their old ways and take a linebacker on Day 3. Logan Wilson would have a chance to see the field and challenge Marquel Lee for a roster spot in the summer.
At 6’2″, 241 pounds, Wilson has the size to line up on the strong side and seal off the edge on run plays. If Nick Kwiatkoski, who’s going to wear the green dot, goes down with an injury, the Wyoming product plays with enough instincts to slide over to the middle.
Furthermore, Wilson made an impact in coverage, logging 14 pass breakups and 10 interceptions through four terms. As a three-year captain on defense, he checks the high-character box for Mayock and would be a nice Raiders NFL Draft pickup.
Round 5, Pick 160: RB Darrynton Evans, Appalachian State
The 2020 class isn’t top-heavy at running back, though, it’s a deep group. Mayock can find a complementary tailback on Day 3 if he’s patient. Jacobs will carry the majority load, but he needs someone who can take about 10 carries per contest if necessary.
Darrynton Evans had a breakout 2019 campaign, rushing for 1,480 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also hauled in 21 receptions for 198 yards and five scores.
Gruden would love three aspects of Evans’ game. He’s secure with the ball, only two fumbles in his collegiate career, uses his body against pass-rushers coming downhill and runs with good speed (4.41-second 40-yard time). The Appalachian State product can capitalize on a defense that’s gasping for air after trying to tackle Jacobs for three quarters.
Moe’s Pick: S Julian Blackmon, Utah
As mentioned, Randall may have a short tenure in Las Vegas. Mayock has to think ahead. Like Burgess, Julian Blackmon transitioned from cornerback to safety, though, he’s more of ball hawk than a thumper on the back end.
Despite a position switch, Blackmon didn’t lose his tracker for the football. In his first and only season in a full-time safety role, he logged four interceptions and four pass breakups.
Blackmon will need some time to develop into a pro-level safety. Fortunately for him, he would have a year behind Randall to sharpen his technique. The defensive back also needs time to recover from a December non-contact knee injury.
Final 2020 Mock Draft Recap
We explored just two ways Mayock and Gruden can approach the draft. Of course, trades will factor into the selections.
Regardless, the Raiders should come away with a wide receiver who’s ready to play and produce Week 1 of the season. The defense needs a boundary cornerback opposite Trayvon Mullen.
Unless team brass signs an undrafted free agent, running back lists as a need behind wide receiver and cornerback. Don’t be surprised to see a safety in this draft haul. Randall and Erik Harris will be free agents in 2021. Jeff Heath will turn 30 years old before the 2021 campaign.
If the Raiders trade Jackson, Good and Kush aren’t safe bets to start. Neither guard has started for a full season.
Lastly, you can bet on the Raiders executing a trade. The move may not happen on Day 1, but Mayock could have the option to slide down from pick Nos. 12 or 19. He can also package two third-rounders for a move into the second round. The Raiders NFL Draft focus, and desire to build depth, mean more picks would be beneficial heading into 2020.
As always, prepare for a few surprises—hopefully not at the wide receiver position. The Raiders are one dynamic pass-catcher away from an explosive offense.