Raiders have options for Day 2 of draft, including at QB
The Raiders are armed with 11 picks in the next two days of the NFL draft, including three Friday when the second and third rounds are held.
The Raiders still have plenty of needs after grabbing a project of a pass rusher in the first round of the NFL draft Thursday.
They are armed with plenty of picks in the next two days, including three Friday when the second and third rounds are held.
“We’re extremely excited,” assistant general manager Champ Kelly said. “This is the culmination of the work we’ve all been putting in for a year now. We’ll reassess where we are in the morning. We’re going to be able to add some more players that will be quality Raiders in the future.”
That could include a quarterback. Kentucky’s Will Levis is surprisingly still on the board, as is Hendon Hooker, another Southeastern Conference star who also was getting first-round hype.
“They were both good college players,” general manager Dave Ziegler said. “We got to spend time with both those young men. Good personalities and character traits. Different paths, but some similarities as well in that they were both transfers.”
Ziegler said there will be adjustments to the strategy after analyzing how the first round played out, but he was pleased with how the plan has gone. He and his staff weren’t shocked by much.
“It went pretty much the way we thought,” he said. “There’s a couple surprises here and there, but for the most part the names peeled off pretty much the way we had them on the board.”
The biggest difference in the next two days is how much busier Ziegler and his staff will be as the draft speeds up. After making one pick Thursday, they have 11 the next two days.
Here is a look at some areas of need and the best options:
Quarterback: There is no immediate need with Jimmy Garoppolo locked in as a starter, but the franchise is still in search of a long-term option.
Levis and Hooker are obviously in play, as are Fresno State’s Jake Haener and Houston’s Clayton Tune in the third round and beyond. Former Bishop Gorman and UCLA star Dorian Thompson-Robinson could be an intriguing late-round flyer.
Tight end: This is another position in which the Raiders are good for now but could use some youth. Notre Dame star Michael Mayer was a surprise omission from the first round and is a pure receiver. Darnell Washington, who played at Desert Pines and Georgia, is massive and could develop into a star in the right system. Oregon State’s Luke Musgrave is another name to watch.
Offensive line: Florida’s O’Cyrus Torrence should be a day one starter at guard, and Texas Christian’s Steve Avila isn’t far behind. There is a deep group of tackles, led by Ohio State’s Dawand Jones, Alabama’s Tyler Steen, Oklahoma’s Wanya Morris and North Dakota State’s Cody Mauch.
Defensive tackle: This should be an area of focus, as should all levels of the defense. Wisconsin’s Keeanu Benton, South Carolina’s Zacch Pickens and Florida’s Gervon Dexter could be early options Friday.
Linebacker: Watch the name Trenton Simpson, who played at Clemson, on Friday. Arkansas’ Drew Sanders also has big-time potential. On the outside, Louisiana State’s BJ Ojulari and Nick Herbig should come off the board fairly early.
Cornerback: Penn State’s Joey Porter Jr., projected by many analysts to go in the first round, is still available. Miami’s Tyrique Stevenson, South Carolina’s Cam Smith and Georgia’s Kelee Ringo also had some first-round buzz. Michigan’s DJ Turner is the fastest player in the draft.
Safety: Brian Branch might have been the victim of not having a true position. The former Alabama star can play safety or nickel cornerback and will go early Friday. Illinois safeties Sydney Brown and Jartavius Martin are solid, as is Penn State’s Ji’Ayir Brown.
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