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2019 NFL mock draft: Quinnen Williams is the key for a Raiders rebuild

In the SB Nation NFL writers’ mock, Alabama’s star defensive tackle is the first of four Oakland picks.

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

No team can reshape its roster in the 2019 NFL Draft quite like the Oakland Raiders. With four of the first 35 picks, the Raiders can find multiple starters this year.

They need them too. The Raiders are 10-22 in the last two seasons and in the second year of a rebuild with Jon Gruden in charge. Now with Mike Mayock in tow as his general manager, this could be a defining draft for Gruden. If the Raiders become a playoff team, this draft will be looked back on as the reason why. If the Raiders continue to struggle, failing in this draft will be the reason why.

Levi Damien of Silver and Black Pride doesn’t face quite the same pressure in the SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft. Here he is with the fourth pick:

4. Oakland Raiders: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

Damien: Edge rusher is a bigger need on this team than any team in football with a league-low 13 sacks last season and just one sack belonging to an edge rusher currently on the roster. But in this draft, the top two edge rushers are gone. My first thought if I’m the Raiders in this situation is exploring trades down. This could be prime territory for a team to jump up and take a quarterback, or if not, a team could simply want Quinnen Williams that bad knowing that if the Raiders don’t take him, the Buccaneers will.

The Raiders used a second-round pick last year on P.J. Hall and got a top-10 talent in Maurice Hurst in the fifth round because of concern of a potential heart condition that thus far is proving to be overblown. For that reason, an interior defensive lineman is not among their biggest needs. That being said, Williams is an incredible talent and, if it came down to it, you throw need out the window and take him as the best player on the board and arguably the best player in this draft, and hope to land an edge rusher later in a draft that is deep at the position.

Analysis: That is pretty spot on. The only concern with taking Williams is how many snaps he might get, or how many would be taken away from Hall and Hurst. This could open the Raiders up, though, to using three-man fronts with this group of young defensive tackles. You just have to wonder a little bit what a player like Montez Sweat could on Oakland’s defense.

Top five remaining players:

  • 4. Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
  • 5. Devin White, LB, LSU
  • 6. Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
  • 7. T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
  • 8. Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State

Coming at 1 p.m. ET is Gil Arcia of Bucs Nation making the pick for the Buccaneers.


What grade do you give the pick of Quinnen Williams by the Oakland Raiders?

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