The Oakland Raiders 2019 NFL Draft class has officially been decided and what an event it was for general manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden. Thanks to some clever maneuvering throughout the draft, the Raiders managed to come away with nine solid players. In all, they obtained the following players:
- First round, 4th overall: Clelin Ferrell, defensive end, Clemson
- First round, 24th overall: Josh Jacobs, running back, Alabama
- First round, 27th overall: Johnathan Abram, safety, Mississippi St
- Second round, 40th overall: Trayvon Mullen, cornerback, Clemson
- Fourth round, 106th overall: Maxx Crosby, defensive end, Eastern Michigan
- Fourth round, 129th overall: Isaiah Johnson, cornerback, Houston
- Fourth round, 137th overall: Foster Moreau, tight end, LSU
- Fifth round, 149th overall: Hunter Renfrow, wide receiver, Clemson
- Seventh Round, 230th overall: Quinton Bell, defensive end, Prairie View A&M
Oakland Raiders 2019 NFL Draft Grade: 9/10
Oakland Raiders 2019 NFL Draft Review
The Best Player: Clelin Ferrell
While this pick may seem like a reach, it couldn’t be any further from it. The Raiders finished the 2018 season with 13 sacks and were in desperate need of pass rushers. Sure, Josh Allen was sitting there when the Raiders were put on the clock, however, he simply wasn’t a scheme fit as he projects to be better suited in a 3-4. Ferrell was simply a better fit for the Raiders’ scheme and was the next best available defensive end after the 49ers selected Nick Bosa.
Clelin Ferrell was raised by military parents and also comes from a program that is synonymous with winning. He’s going to be a foundational player for the Raiders as Mayock and Gruden attempt to rebuild with not only high talent individuals, but high character ones as well. Look for Ferrell to come in and make an immediate impact on the Raiders from day one.
Clelin Ferrell comes to the Oakland Raiders as a 2X All American, Ted Hendricks Award winner, ACC Defensive Player of the Year and was a captain of the National Champion Clemson Tigers. You’ll be hard-pressed to find many other players in this draft with that type of resume.
A trade back would’ve been nice, but sometimes that’s not always an option. If you like a guy as much as Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden seemed to like Ferrell, then there’s no point in risking moving back too far and watching him get scooped up by another team.
The Head-Scratcher: No Developmental Quarterback
The biggest head-scratcher of the draft was the fact that Jon Gruden didn’t take a developmental quarterback in the later rounds. There were a plethora of rumors flying around, before the draft, about Gruden moving quarterbacks up and down his draft board and which ones he was and wasn’t enamored with. Like most other draft rumors, it all turned out to be nonsense.
Gruden stated again in a recent press conference that he meant what he said when he told reporters that Derek Carr was his franchise quarterback. Still, the media tried their best to stir the pot and create controversy within the Raiders’ organization. Gruden doubled down on that claim this weekend. With Gruden’s passion for the quarterback position, you figured he still would’ve found a way to sneak another one into the building, but alas nothing came to fruition.
The Surprise: Johnathan Abram
The selection of Johnathan Abram wasn’t a surprise because of where he was draft, but rather because of the position he plays. Abram compares similarly to Karl Joseph, another headhunting safety and former first-round pick of the Oakland Raiders. Abrams is a little bigger than Joseph, but both still play with a similar style.
With the signing of Lamarcus Joyner in free agency, it seemed that the Raiders were going to be set at the safety position. Now it would seem that the future is uncertain for Karl Joseph. Rumors came out at the start of last year about how he wasn’t held in high regards by the coaching staff. Joseph followed up those rumors by having a stellar season as a starter.
Only time will tell what the future holds for the safety position on the Oakland Raiders. Maybe the Raiders keep all three players and Joyner plays on more passing downs while Joseph plays in the box on first and second downs. Whatever the rotation ends up being, you can expect Abram to be the focal point of that group going forward.
The Steal: Hunter Renfrow
Even though Hunter Renfrow got drafted in the round where most experts had him mocked, he still winds up being a steal for the Oakland Raiders. Renfrow is another player that comes in with a championship pedigree and is someone that knows what it takes to win. He almost never drops the ball and is an extremely quick and shifty player. Everyone, including myself, expected him to get drafted by the New England Patriots and some point in time, but the Raiders obviously had other ideas. Renfrow compares favorably to Wes Welker and looks to be a valuable addition in short yardage and goal line plays for years to come.
Most Likely to Turn Heads During Training Camp: Josh Jacobs
The 2nd of the Oakland Raiders three first round picks. Don’t let the lack of production in college fool you, Josh Jacobs is the real deal. He’s an extremely aggressive runner that is sound in pass protection and never shies away from contact. He broke 17.1% of his tackles last season and also has excellent pass-catching ability for a running back. With the departure of Marshawn Lynch, the feature back role is wide open for the Oakland Raiders. Josh Jacobs will slide into that roll nicely and figures to carry a heavy workload going forward in Jon Gruden’s power run offense.
The Raiders selected Trayvon Mullen in the 2nd round with Greedy Williams still on the board. While this may seem surprising at first, it’s much easier to comprehend when you understand the theme of the Raiders’ draft; physical and high character players. Trayvon Mullen checks both of those boxes, whereas Greedy has been known to be hesitant in the tackling game. Trayvon Mullen is a big, long and physical corner that projects to be the CB2 come week one.
Maxx Crosby figures to be a rotational pass rusher with the potential to leapfrog Arden Key as the team’s number two defensive end. He had 20 sacks in his collegiate career and 41 tackles for a loss.
Isiah Johnson and Foster Moreau were both fourth-round selections and are projected to compete for starting spots heading into camp. Johnson has the size and coverage ability to make the transition to safety if need be. Moreau will have all the opportunities in the world to be a starter this season as the Raiders tight end group looks to be the weakest on the roster.
Quinto Bell will end up being more a developmental project as he only just made the transition from wide receiver to defensive end a year ago. At 6’4 and 238 lbs he has the ideal size you’d want for a situational pass rusher. Look for Bell to spend the majority of his first few years as a special teamer until he gains for playing experience as a defensive end.
All in all, it seems like the Oakland Raiders had an amazing 2019 draft. With this being Mike Mayock’s first, the pressure was on for the draft guru to deliver. It’s clear that him and Jon Gruden came into this draft with a clear plan. The stuck to their board and appeared to be very patient. It was probably very tempting to package some of the picks they already had to move up and select more talented players, but Mayock and Gruden showed great patience by staying put. As a matter of fact, they managed to move down in the draft a few times to help replenish the picks they lost in the Antonio Brown trade. They selected an abundance of high-character and high-talent players that should have no problem being solid contributors from day one and also almost as importantly have no problem with the transition to Las Vegas. The future is very bright for the Oakland Raiders and fans of the team should leave this weekend feeling very excited and optimistic about their squad going forward.
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