The Oakland Raiders were one of the most disappointing teams of 2017. After making the players in 2016, the Raiders were looked at as a team on the rise featuring quarterback Derek Carr, wide receiver Amari Cooper and pass rusher Khalil Mack.
But after a 6-10 season, the Raiders fired head coach Jack Del Rio and brought back Jon Gruden. This offseason, the Raiders have signed a bunch of players, but other than wide receiver Jordy Nelson few of them are stars. To find those players the Raiders will turn to the draft.
In the SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft, Levi Damien of Silver and Black Pride is here to make the pick for Oakland. Does he find a sure thing starter?
10. Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
Damien: I have gone back and forth between Hurst and Vita Vea at this pick. Vea is a beast who would solidify the Raiders line for years to come. He is also versatile enough to play at any interior defensive line spot. But Hurst provides more of the interior pass rush the Raiders defense desperately needs.
The one thing that has given teams pause is questions about his heart. Not figuratively, but literally. He was pulled from the NFL Scouting Combine after being flagged for potential heart issues. Since then he has passed tests and was cleared to participate in the pro day. If he is right, as the most recent test suggests, he is the best 3-tech defensive tackle in this draft which is a position the Raiders have been drafting players in the first three rounds the past three years and been unable to find a steady, reliable presence. None of those picks were their top pick, however, and that may need to change this year.
Analysis: It’s true, the Raiders just haven’t had luck drafting defensive linemen. Eddie Vanderdoes, a third-round pick last year, is most likely a depth-only player. Jihad Ward, a 2016 second rounder, just hasn’t played up to his draft spot. Neither has Mario Edwards, who was picked in the second round in 2015. Can using a first-round pick on the position break the streak? Maybe. Hurst is much more of a true three-technique tackle than a player like Vita Vea of Washington.
A three-technique is a good choice for Oakland, and Hurst would certainly directly into the starting lineup. However, Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward would be a great choice. Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith would make sense too, but General Manager Reggie McKenzie has never prioritized off-ball linebackers in the draft.
Dan Kadar’s top five players remaining
- 4. Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
- 7. Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
- 9. Vita Vea, DT, Washington
- 13. Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
- 14. Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
What grade would you give the pick of Hurst by the Raiders?
This poll is closed