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Who will Raiders take with their 1st-round pick? Experts weigh in

It’s probably too early to take NFL mock drafts seriously.

Players still need to go through the scouting combine and meet with teams, and free agency hasn’t even started.

A lot will change for the 32 teams between now and April 28, when the first round takes place at Allegiant Stadium.

Some teams will fill needs during free agency, and others might lose players through free agency or trades that create needs on their roster.

A team that now might be considered a fringe contender could trade assets and go into rebuilding mode.

Still, it’s always fun to look at experts’ draft boards and see where they agree and disagree. There’s some discrepancy on whom the Raiders might take with their first-round pick.

Projecting that pick is harder than usual because there is a new regime, led by general manager Dave Ziegler and coach Josh McDaniels.

Their decision-making process can be studied from their time in New England and even Denver, but this is their team now.

So here’s a look at how some of the early mock drafts think the process will play out for the Raiders with the 22nd pick:

CBS Sports

Zion Johnson, OL, Boston College

Our analysis: The Raiders used their first-round selection on an offensive lineman last year in Alex Leatherwood. He had an inconsistent rookie season, but there’s still hope the former Alabama standout can develop into a consistent performer. But a team can’t have too many high-level offensive linemen, and the unit is still very much a work in progress. Johnson played tackle in college, but could probably play any position on the line in the NFL. That kind of versatility could be helpful for an offensive line still trying to figure things out.

Pro Football Focus

Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati (at No. 20) and Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas

Our analysis: PFF’s Austin Gayle, a noted Raiders fan, has them trading Derek Carr to the Steelers for their first-round picks in 2022 and 2023 and a third-rounder in the 2022 draft. Ziegler and McDaniels would use the first of those selections on Ridder, perhaps the most pro-ready of the quarterback prospects at the top of the draft. Then they’d use the 22nd selection to give Ridder an elite weapon in Burks, who has an elite ability to make plays after the catch. This scenario would seem to be a long shot, but if the Steelers made the offer, it would be tough to reject.

NFL.com

Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama

Our analysis: Relying on the deep talent pool in Tuscaloosa seems more like the Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden administration than Ziegler and McDaniels, but there are a lot of great players in that program. Williams suffered a torn ACL in the college football playoffs that damaged his value, but he did everything that’s asked of an elite wide receiver before the injury. It’s a risk that would seem well worth the potential reward.

The Draft Network

Jameson Williams

Sports Illustrated

Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson

Our analysis: The Raiders have invested a lot of draft capital at cornerback in recent years without much to show for it. They need to keep trying until they get it right, and Booth has that potential. He’s a big, physical corner with good ball skills.

Yahoo Sports

Andrew Booth

Bleacher Report

Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

Our analysis: A superb route runner who has displayed a great feel for the position and can make plays after the catch. If teams think he can win in press coverage, he could be off the board before the Raiders pick.

Fox Sports

Chris Olave

WalterFootball.com

Tyler Linderbaum, OL, Iowa

Our analysis: Another projection of a versatile offensive lineman who could help bolster a unit that went through a full reset last offseason because of aging and salary cap issues. Linderbaum was a steady performer and can play center or guard.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

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